A MERSEYSIDE couple's “grand design” has been blocked after objections from their next-door neighbours who feared losing the early morning sunshine in their garden.
Brian and Patricia Wild wanted to almost triple the size of their dated bungalow in an exclusive Wirral suburb, close to Prenton Golf Club.
But the plans resulted in an outbreak of "extreme acrimony" between them and their neighbours, Andrew and Brenda Robertson.
The Wilds had won planning permission to transform their tired 1950s bungalow in Golf Links Road, Prenton, into a state-of-the-art two-storey home. The plans included an atrium- style glass roof, a galleried entrance hall, five generous reception rooms and five bedrooms, all en suite. However, the Robertsons, who live next door in the Mountwood Conservation Area, in a 1920s-built gem – designed by Sir Arnold Thornley and with a garden laid out by Gertrude Jekyll – opposed the scheme, leading to a planning tribunal hearing.
Mr Robertson, 45, who was brought up in the house, and his wife, pointed to a restrictive covenant which banned alterations to the bungalow – in particular upward extension – without their consent.
Mr and Mrs Wild bought the bungalow for more than £440,000 in 2008, and although the bungalow was in dire need of modernisation, they claimed the Robertsons had "resolutely refused" to countenance change.
Mr Wild was "at pains to refute the suggestion that he was a builder, just in it for a quick profit".
However, the Robertsons, directors of a children's nursery business, denied behaving unreasonably, insisting the bungalow's extension would result in their home being overlooked and their garden being starved of morning sunshine.
Tribunal judge Peter Francis, a fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, said: "It has become abundantly clear that the dispute is extremely acrimonious and there have been many occasions where it seems the parties have become entrenched."
Ruling in favour of the Robertsons, he said that views from the windows of West Hill's principal rooms would be "adversely affected" by the development and it was likely that sunshine, particularly in the winter months, would also be lost to some extent. The judge said the Wilds' plans would also impact on their neighbours' privacy.
Neither couple wanted to comment following the case.