Birmingham: Man fumes as nextdoor extension leaves homes inches apart

Birmingham: Man fumes as nextdoor extension leaves homes inches apart


Stuart has lived in the house for more than four years and wanted to stay there forever (Picture: BPM Media)An NHS worker has lost access to the side of his house after his neighbour’s huge extension was completed amid a ‘catalogue of errors’.
Stuart Smith, 42, from Birmingham, says he is beside himself and struggling to sleep because of the situation.
The city council is carrying out an investigation into the works which brought the two neighbouring properties closer than ever before. There is now just an eight inch gap between them.
Mr Smith said: ‘It’s come over the boundary on the same land. Effectively you have two buildings occupying the same space. It’s like a catalogue of errors right the way across.
‘It’s been built so far over the boundary line onto our side there’s no gap to be able to maintain our own property.
‘We can never remove the gutters now, we can’t unfix the felt roof or the fascias, or render the side of the house.’
Mr Smith, who lives in Monyhull Hall Road, alleged plans were not followed as builders were unable to properly fit a roof on his neighbour’s home.

The works mean Stuart can’t get to the side of his house (Picture: BPM Media)He told told BirminghamLive: ‘They [the builders] didn’t actually realise their mistake until they started building underneath my eaves. It was only when they got so far up they realised my roof was in the way of them putting their own roof on.
‘I did speak to the neighbour at that point and they said they would ‘sort it out’, but [the builders] didn’t fix it, they just worked around it, bodged it, recessed it in, built a little flat roof and built the roof to the side – bizarre.’
Planning officers for Birmingham City Council are now probing the extension, which increased the property size from three to five bedrooms.
Mr Smith, who works in IT for Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust, lives with his wife Sallyanne, 39, a nursery teacher.
The key workers bought the house in February 2017 and hoped to live there forever. Now, after working tirelessly throughout the Covid pandemic, their future in it is less certain.
Mr Smith said: ‘I feel absolutely awful. I try to push it to the back of my mind trying to forget about it – but then I don’t make any progress.
‘So then I have to concentrate on it and it just winds me up. I have difficulty sleeping. It’s just very stressful. It’s a lot of worry. We bought the house as the house we wanted to live in forever.
‘It’s just tainted this a bit now. We need to get this sorted out and rebuilt further back. I don’t see how anyone could be happy with that.

‘They do actually overlap’ – Stuart said his neighbour’s renovation was ‘bodged’ (Picture: BPM Media)

The 42-year-old said he feels ‘absolutely’ awful’ about the predicament (Picture: BPM Media)‘At some points it’s actually touching. Where I have a roof above a garage at the front it touches his roof above the garage and right at the very top the gutterings are touching. They do actually overlap.’
Mr Smith said he is in discussion with a solicitor, ‘but it’s very slow going as we’re going through the building insurers’.
He said the extension has doubled the size of the neighbouring house – adding an extra 76,000 sq ft – giving them a bigger kitchen, garage, utility room and loft conversion.
Mr Smith’s neighbour, who had the works carried out, said he had cooperated fully with council officers and ‘it is for them to decide’ the outcome.
The resident said: ‘I’ve already spoken to the city council. Leave it to the council to sort out.’
A council spokesperson said: ‘We have received a complaint that works are in breach of planning legislation.
‘The matter is currently under investigation and officers are in discussions with both the owner and complainant.’
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