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Pensioner demands urgent checks over proximity of Westerhill Homes new builds to her back garden in Sandwich


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A pensioner is calling on her local authority to carry out urgent checks after the frame of a new house has been erected "just steps" from her back door.

Kath Gifford, 77, is angry at the proximity of the new build to her bungalow in Stone Cross Lees in Sandwich.

The frame of the new house directly behind Kath Gifford's garden in New Cross Lees in Sandwich
The frame of the new house directly behind Kath Gifford's garden in New Cross Lees in Sandwich
Kath Gifford says the proximity of the new build to her garden doesn't match up with drawings
Kath Gifford says the proximity of the new build to her garden doesn't match up with drawings

It is part of the Westerhill Homes' 56 dwelling development at the former Kumor Nursery off Dover Road.

She claims it is "too close", just 12 steps from her back door and is questioning whether the developer and construction company Chartway have got their measurements right.

She emailed Dover District Council's planning enforcement with a complaint on Friday, November 26, asking officers to look into it.

She told KentOnline: "This is not what we expected. Something has gone wrong somewhere. They're riding roughshod over us.

"All I'm asking is have the plans been altered unknown to the local residents?

Kath Gifford is questioning whether Westerhill Homes has got its measurements correct
Kath Gifford is questioning whether Westerhill Homes has got its measurements correct

"The developers have already decimated the boundary hedge. What protection is there for us?

"The council just want endless form filling but this should not be required.

"I'd like somebody to come out and take a look, please."

Ms Gifford has lived at the property for 25 years, with joint owner and partner Keith Neat, 78.

Until now the view from her back door has always been agricultural land.

Kath Gifford believes the new house should not be this close to her boundary
Kath Gifford believes the new house should not be this close to her boundary

According to drawings, she feels there should be a good sized garden, similar to the size of her garden, creating space between the properties.

She added: "We're going to have this big house looking down on our bungalow.

"The development should never have been allowed."

Planning permission was granted in March 2020 despite strong objection from residents and the town council.

Cllr Paul Carter (Independent) who supported residents in their fight against the development said: "I’ve been to see it going up at the weekend they are much closer than they should be and the roof seems much steeper than the plans showed.

Developer Westerhill Homes is building 56 homes at the former Kumor Nursery site off Dover Road
Developer Westerhill Homes is building 56 homes at the former Kumor Nursery site off Dover Road

"This will massively shade Ms Gifford’s garden and house from any sun/natural daylight.

"Also Dover council have allowed these properties to be two storey houses backing onto bungalows so Ms Gifford’s privacy will be reduced to zero.

"It’s a major oversight of Dover council's planning but I did point this out at the appeal and planning committee meeting although I was overruled.

"It’s a dreadful situation for someone in their retirement to have to face."

A spokesman for Dover council said: "We are looking into this matter."

It is not the first time residents have complained about the development.

In June this year, neighbours said the deafening squeal of diggers and clouds of dust at the development was driving them "up the wall".

There have also been complaints over the breaching of planning conditions after workers turned up on Sundays and bank holidays, for which an apology has been issued.

Westerhill Homes has been approached for a comment.

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