'We were lied to' - Residents' dismay as development prompts privacy concerns
- Credit: Archant
Residents in a Royston street are at a "stalemate" with Linden Homes, after they requested a large fence be erected to maintain some privacy for existing households that are now being overlooked by new homes.
John and Beverley Sims live in Hawthorn Way - and their home backs onto the field that is now the site of the Meridian Gate development.
John, who has lived in his home for 60 years, told the Crow: “We went to see the plans and were told no-one in Hawthorn Way would be overlooked.
“If they had to build there at least we weren't going to be be overlooked, or it would be minimal - so we thought it wasn't so bad. But those plans changed.
"At first they said these were the plans and then they said they were ‘artist impressions’ - not what they had to keep to.
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“We didn’t kick up a fuss when the plans were drawn up because the houses were going to be side-on. It’s lies, we’ve been lied to. This has been going on since the start of the year - we could see the houses being built facing our homes and on higher ground – there's no privacy.
“When we stand on our patio in the back garden, you can see the doorstep of the new house."
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Beverley told the Crow: "They have built it up so high. They had trouble with flooding in the gardens, so they had to change the plans to put a French drain in. The foundations were put in and the homes were built on elevated ground."
The Crow has visited the Sims’ home in Hawthorn Way and clearly there are newbuilds that completely overlook their property and others in the street.
Many of the new homes are not side on and existing properties have relatively low fences - so privacy is impacted. Plans for the Meridian Gate development do include screening elsewhere, but as the Sims are existing residents they claim Linden won't provide privacy measures to benefit them and others on Hawthorn Way.
Beverley said: “We've been asking for a big fence to put up so we’re not overlooked, but they say it’s not in the plans so they won’t do it. They want to be respectful of residents but they are not respecting us.
“They want to put a path along the back as well, It'll be basically an alleyway and you’ll get druggies down there and all sorts. It’s a safety issue, what about women’s safety?"
John said: “It’s not safe for women. There is no security there – and what about burglaries? We can't afford to put a large fence up, so it is a security concern."
John and Beverley said there were many householders along Hawthorn Way who share their concerns, including Lisa Frame and Mike Burt, who also spoke to the Crow.
They said they're "not expecting the houses to be knocked down" but do want Linden Homes to be more "thoughtful and understanding of the needs of existing residents, including elderly residents". They also said trees and shrubs would take time to grow.
Mike said the new homes were “intrusive” and “imposing” and blocked the light and view.
And Lisa told the Crow she has been contacting Linden Homes to try to get some privacy restored by getting at large fence put in but they were currently at a “stalemate”.
In a message directed to the developer, Lisa said: "We want someone, who is able to make decisions and changes, to come down and speak to us from Linden Homes. We understand homes have to be built, we just want them to be respectful and keep existing residents happy."
The Crow contacted Linden Homes, and a spokesperson said: “We have held meetings with residents and are in regular communication with them on this. We are building in accordance with the planning permission and no changes to the houses have been made. We will continue to meet with residents to discuss the ongoing work with them.”