Woodford Bridge homeowner calls for probe into council's handling of neighbour dispute

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Helen Coughlan is taking her planning dispute to central government Helen Coughlan is taking her planning dispute to central government

A homeowner is calling for an investigation into Redbridge Council’s role in a long-running planning dispute she claims has left her home damaged and saleable.

Tariq Ahmed built an extension without planning permission less than a yard from Helen Coughlan’s kitchen window in Highfield Road, Woodford Bridge.

But the 52-year-old has accused the council of refusing to act, despite claiming the foundations of her house were damaged by the building work and its value has plummeted by £60,000.

She is now set to appeal to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, for an investigation into the authority’s handling of the case.

Mrs Coughlan said: "The council are hiding behind legal jargon and it is unacceptable.

"I don’t have the money to take the council to court so I am doing the only thing I can do, which is to go straight to central government.

"No one will talk to us from the council, and it is childish really. It seems like all it wants to do is wash its hands of the situation. But I believe it has a responsibility to sort it out.

"It has been a stressful and challenging time for us and we feel we have nowhere to go on this, so we are appealing to Eric Pickles for a full investigation into the case."

Mr Ahmed was given planning permission by Redbridge Council in November 2010 to build a two-story extension, but he strayed from the original agreement and increased the size of the extension.

In December 2012, Mr Ahmed agreed to an out of court settlement of £30,000, plus legal costs, which he pays to Mrs Coughlan in monthly instalments.

But damage to Mrs Coughlan's house has been left unrepaired, and both Redbridge Council and Mr Ahmed are refusing to pay costs.

Redbridge Council has been approached for comment by the Guardian.

Comments (9)

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1:12pm Thu 20 Mar 14

MorrisHickey says...

More power to your elbow Mrs Coughlan. A thorough independent inquiry into Redbridge Planning Department is required as a matter of urgency. Its behaviour and attitudes are a disgrace.
More power to your elbow Mrs Coughlan. A thorough independent inquiry into Redbridge Planning Department is required as a matter of urgency. Its behaviour and attitudes are a disgrace. MorrisHickey
  • Score: 8

3:28pm Thu 20 Mar 14

SillyCnut says...

Go and demolish at 3am and then let Mr Ahmed take you to court. He won't be able to rebuild it.
Go and demolish at 3am and then let Mr Ahmed take you to court. He won't be able to rebuild it. SillyCnut
  • Score: 7

3:31pm Thu 20 Mar 14

T. Watts says...

I'm sure all of us in Redbridge don't live too far from our own 'Mr Ahmed' - because the Council seemed totally unwilling to tackle them and their selfish and quite frankly hideous house extensions (plastic white column, anyone?).

Oh well, we can rename the area Little Wembley or New Southall in a couple of years time!
I'm sure all of us in Redbridge don't live too far from our own 'Mr Ahmed' - because the Council seemed totally unwilling to tackle them and their selfish and quite frankly hideous house extensions (plastic white column, anyone?). Oh well, we can rename the area Little Wembley or New Southall in a couple of years time! T. Watts
  • Score: 1

6:53pm Thu 20 Mar 14

TTMAN says...

I believe she built her own extension with a window overlooking Mr. Ahmed to the side. She has a right to light but not to view. He has now built his extension and she does not like the new view. He overstepped the mark and is compensating her as agreed. Move along.
However the building inspector should have kept an eye on his build and acted accordingly. The Council is liable, but we wish her luck.

With the money she can brick up her window and turn on the light.
I believe she built her own extension with a window overlooking Mr. Ahmed to the side. She has a right to light but not to view. He has now built his extension and she does not like the new view. He overstepped the mark and is compensating her as agreed. Move along. However the building inspector should have kept an eye on his build and acted accordingly. The Council is liable, but we wish her luck. With the money she can brick up her window and turn on the light. TTMAN
  • Score: -4

7:11pm Thu 20 Mar 14

Villagecranberry says...

SillyCnut wrote:
Go and demolish at 3am and then let Mr Ahmed take you to court. He won't be able to rebuild it.
What you suggest is oafish in the extreme as it will be perceived by the police as Criminal Damage and the only loser would be the complainant.
[quote][p][bold]SillyCnut[/bold] wrote: Go and demolish at 3am and then let Mr Ahmed take you to court. He won't be able to rebuild it.[/p][/quote]What you suggest is oafish in the extreme as it will be perceived by the police as Criminal Damage and the only loser would be the complainant. Villagecranberry
  • Score: -2

7:30pm Thu 20 Mar 14

MorrisHickey says...

TTMAN wrote:
I believe she built her own extension with a window overlooking Mr. Ahmed to the side. She has a right to light but not to view. He has now built his extension and she does not like the new view. He overstepped the mark and is compensating her as agreed. Move along.
However the building inspector should have kept an eye on his build and acted accordingly. The Council is liable, but we wish her luck.

With the money she can brick up her window and turn on the light.
The final sentence are the words of a fool.
[quote][p][bold]TTMAN[/bold] wrote: I believe she built her own extension with a window overlooking Mr. Ahmed to the side. She has a right to light but not to view. He has now built his extension and she does not like the new view. He overstepped the mark and is compensating her as agreed. Move along. However the building inspector should have kept an eye on his build and acted accordingly. The Council is liable, but we wish her luck. With the money she can brick up her window and turn on the light.[/p][/quote]The final sentence are the words of a fool. MorrisHickey
  • Score: 3

8:31pm Thu 20 Mar 14

COUGHY says...

I never put any of the windows in question put in. As they date back to 1948. If I remember rightly I and my Husband were born in the 1960's. Also when this house was built nothing sat there. As the low garage was not built to 1968. Our argument is that Mr Ahmed gained planning permission in 2010. Part of the planning conditions were that it was to be finished and painted. None of this build has been signed off by building regulations. We were under the illusion that by not doing this the planning conditions have not been met. Throughout this entire build, no insurance or Party Wall Agreement has been set up with us. Let alone the labour they chose to use. Right of Light has nothing to do with the damage caused to our property. Who would allow anyone to vandalise their property.
I never put any of the windows in question put in. As they date back to 1948. If I remember rightly I and my Husband were born in the 1960's. Also when this house was built nothing sat there. As the low garage was not built to 1968. Our argument is that Mr Ahmed gained planning permission in 2010. Part of the planning conditions were that it was to be finished and painted. None of this build has been signed off by building regulations. We were under the illusion that by not doing this the planning conditions have not been met. Throughout this entire build, no insurance or Party Wall Agreement has been set up with us. Let alone the labour they chose to use. Right of Light has nothing to do with the damage caused to our property. Who would allow anyone to vandalise their property. COUGHY
  • Score: 10

7:18pm Fri 21 Mar 14

Redbridge person says...

recent corruption has been exposed in the planning dept at redbridge council...i cant believe they approve the most ugly and hideous extensions made of garish plastic, bathroom tiles on driveways etc etc...the cathedral estate is more and more tacky by the day thanks to the new people moving in. these styles may be acceptable in india......but redbridge...???
recent corruption has been exposed in the planning dept at redbridge council...i cant believe they approve the most ugly and hideous extensions made of garish plastic, bathroom tiles on driveways etc etc...the cathedral estate is more and more tacky by the day thanks to the new people moving in. these styles may be acceptable in india......but redbridge...??? Redbridge person
  • Score: 4

10:24pm Sat 22 Mar 14

COUGHY says...

Tell me more about the corruption. If you have the evidence. I will hand it over to the national press. The News Of The World exposed a bent Planning officer from Redbridge. It also posted it in its last edition as one of its best hundred Nick's. He landed up with a prison sentence!!!!
Tell me more about the corruption. If you have the evidence. I will hand it over to the national press. The News Of The World exposed a bent Planning officer from Redbridge. It also posted it in its last edition as one of its best hundred Nick's. He landed up with a prison sentence!!!! COUGHY
  • Score: 2

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