AN elderly amateur painter and guitarist has expressed dismay after his idyllic room with a view overlooking one of South Tyneside’s most-loved beauty spots was blocked.
Former Butlins chief Redcoat Ernest Anderson enjoys nothing more than strumming his guitar and gently singing country music standards in the living room of his bungalow overlooking The Leas in South Shields.
Mr Anderson has lived in his Bamburgh Avenue home for more than 40 years, where he also enjoys a spot of oil painting while gazing out to sea.
But now he fears his view will be lost forever after his next-door neighbour was granted planning permission for a rear 3.3-metre extension to incorporate a pitched roof sunroom, and kitchen and bedroom extensions.
Additionally, his neighbours have put up a 1.8-metre fence which partially obscures his coastal view.
The retired shipwright said: “I’m going to lose my view, the view I’ve had for the 40 years I’ve lived here - but they’re still going to have a view, which to me is selfish.
I can fully understand that he is naffed off at losing part of his view, but we have been reasonable at every stage and the law is the law.Mandy Baker, neighbour
“These houses were never meant to be family homes. They weren’t designed for that.
“There’s another extension further down which has caused the trouble by creating a precedent for other extensions. It’s ridiculous and it is creating a domino effect.
“That’s why I fought this to the very end, because it is important to make a stand.
“There is no reason for that fence to go up. The only reason that they have put it up is because we got a slight reduction to the size of the extension and they put the fence up without reason.”
Neighbour and applicant Mandy Baker said “every attempt to be amenable” over the application has been made.
She said: “At no point did we want to fall out over this.
“We’ve made every attempt to get on with Mr Anderson and I’ve offered to do shopping for him, but he’s not the frail old man he may be painted.
“He’s tried to block the application at every point, despite compromises that we’ve made.
“He did not want the extension at four metres and that was reduced. Then he did not want the brick wall and we had that rendered instead.
“I can fully understand that he is naffed off at losing part of his view, but we have been reasonable at every stage and the law is the law.”
Mr Anderson’s sister, Joyce Malone, said her brother “just wanted to live a quiet life”. She added: “Ernie is 75. He’s lived here for more than 40 years.
“He shouldn’t have to face this disturbance at his time of life. He’s just happy to sit and play his guitar all day long.”
The pensioner also received support from Coun Eileen Leask, Labour member for the Horsley Hill ward.
In a letter sent to the planning committee she wrote: “Whatever the law says, it is the end of Mr Anderson’s enjoyment of his garden.
“I also understand the mechanics of the street are being changed by these extensions.
“These bungalows were built for a peaceful life, but we have seen them changed into family homes.
“There’s nothing wrong with that, but someone has had their peace of mind taken away.”
Members of the council’s planning committee approved the application last week.
A report to the committee said: “It is not considered in this case that the scale, design and projection of the side elevation facing the objector’s property would materially harm outlook from it, or give rise to a materially harmful domineering effects to the extent that a refusal of planning permission could be reasonably justified.
“Matters relating to rights to light, property values and a ‘loss of view’ cannot be considered as a material planning consideration in the assessment of any planning application.”