A mum has hit out after a house was built so close that she can open her bathroom window and touch her neighbour’s door.
Mum-of-seven Niki Caira says she was horrified when she discovered just how close the luxury home being built next door was going to be to her property in Thornton, Fife.
The 39-year-old said she can’t understand why Fife Council agreed to allow KJJ Properties and businessman Alex Penman to build the two £350,000 new homes, despite objections and ‘serious’ concerns from neighbours.
Niki and husband Mario first objected to the planning application for these properties in 2020, however the homes were given the go ahead in June last year, the Daily Record reports.
After building work started in May, Niki said she measured the space between the two properties and said there is just two metres between her roof and the new property, with a wall directly blocking light to two of her windows.
Niki said: “It’s an eyesore and all we can see when we look out of our windows.
“When I complained about it the builder suggested I put up a high wall to hide the property. My kids would feel like they were living in a prison with a 10ft wall surrounding them.”
Aesthetics Practitioner Nikki, has lived at her home with her children, husband Mario and mum Mhairi for the last 16 years.
She described it as their ‘wee sanctuary’ and their ‘happy place’, but says she now fears they will be forced to move out over concerns for their safety and lack of privacy.
Niki added: “We absolutely loved our home, but now I just feel stressed every time I look out of my windows. It’s such a shame because we were all so happy living here until now.”
Niki, who also works from home, has now put a sign up on her house which reads; ‘How will you get in your back door when our windows are open? Whilst passing please preserve our privacy by not looking in our toilet window’.
She told the Daily Record she was even asked by builders to close her bathroom window to allow them to erect a scaffold as there was not enough space for them to do so with it opened.
She added: “Surely this highlights just how close it is to our house? It’s not practical or safe for anyone.
“It’s absolutely disgraceful that this has been allowed to happen. Why did Fife Council approve this application? I don’t understand how they can think this is okay.
“I have no objections to homes being built on the land, but what is the need for it to be so close to our house? It’s just sheer greed and disrespect.
“If the builders had only built one like they said they were going to at the beginning, it would have been fine, but there is not enough space for two.”
She added: “We have absolutely zero privacy now. I can’t even sit on my toilet without worrying that I’m going to be exposing myself or that someone is going to be looking in at me or my children.
“I just have to open the window and I can actually touch next door’s house. It’s ridiculous.”
Niki said the stress of the situation has caused her to lose two stone in weight, taking her down to 6st 11lbs.
She explained: “People keep telling me how bad I look and I know I do.
“I’m hardly eating, I’m struggling to sleep and I’m just feeling so anxious about this whole situation. I can’t stop thinking about it and the stress and upheaval is it going to cause if we have no choice but to move. I also keep thinking that this is going to decrease the value of our property.”
Niki’s husband Mario said he is worried about what will happen if a fire breaks out in either of the properties, or if he needs to carry out building work on his home.
He added: “We are so close to each other that if a fire starts in one house it will spread to the next almost instantly. Our eaves are only 2m apart.
“Also, what if I need to put a scaffold up to carry out work on my home. How am I supposed to do this safely?
“How is a window cleaner supposed to clean our windows? The list of complications and hazards this house being so close to us is causing is endless.”
Fife Council Service manager Alastair Hamilton confirmed that the building has been built to comply with the approved planning permissions.
He added: “Any boundary disputes are private legal issues for the parties to resolve. Land ownership is not related to the granting of planning permission.
“The building will have to comply with current building regulations and this will be checked before a Completion Certificate is accepted for the work.”
Robert F MacDonald, of Robert F MacDonald Solicitors, who is acting on behalf of KJJ builders and Alex Penman, said: “We understand that development on adjoining land can cause feelings among neighbours to run high, however my client’s are satisfied that they have complied with all the relevant planning and building control requirements in respect of the two properties which are currently being erected at this site.
“This is a former brown field site which had lain empty for many years. Mr and Mrs Caira had the opportunity to take part in the planning process and they expressed their views to the planning authority at that time.
“No doubt these were taken into account by the Fife Council in reaching their decision. Mr and Mrs Caira did have the opportunity to appeal the planning decision but did not do so.
“Slightly unusually, Mr and Mrs Caria’s property is built directly on the boundary between the two pieces of land. All the building work however has been conducted by my clients on ground owned by Mr Penman.
“There is sufficient room between the two houses for the scaffolding to be erected, and for access to repairs to either property in future if required.
“We understand that during the course of the scaffolding being erected the scaffolders asked Mrs Caira if a window (which opens over land belonging to our client) could be closed slightly to enable them to erect the scaffolding.
“The existence of the scaffolding does not prevent Mrs Caira from opening her window.
“Once the work has been completed there will be a 1.3 metre gap between the walls of the new build and Mr and Mrs Caira’s house, which of course exceeds the statutory minimum.”