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Neighbours at war over 8ft shared driveway… after one wants to build a new £2M house in their back garden

A homeowner has spent £7,500 fighting his neighbour over an 8ft-wide shared driveway between their two properties. 

Robert Medcalfe, 36, has been locked in a legal battle with his neighbour after he submitted a planning application to build a brand new house behind his property.

The north London resident launched a campaign with other locals on the street in a bid to prevent the new development, adding he was never even spoken to about the proposal. 

Italian developer Alisson Roberto Teixeira, 40, has applied to build a property to the rear of a house in Dollis Hill, using the 2.7m-wide shared driveway as an access road – with the project estimated to cost up to £2million to complete. 

But Mr Metcalfe has been left ‘livid’ and ‘absolutely outraged’ by the proposal, telling MyLondon: ‘How can you try to do something with someone’s property without speaking with them and getting permission? That’s not what neighbours do.’

The dispute is over this shared driveway, which would become the access road for the new property. Pictured is neighbour Robert Medcalfe who has launched a campaign to stop the development

The dispute is over this shared driveway, which would become the access road for the new property. Pictured is neighbour Robert Medcalfe who has launched a campaign to stop the development

The site (marked by a pink square) is set behind the two properties and surrounded by other back gardens

The site (marked by a pink square) is set behind the two properties and surrounded by other back gardens

The land being developed is owned by Mr Teixeira, council documents show. But Mr Medcalfe claims the application ‘relies on his consent’ as the ‘co-owner’ of the drive, and says he has not given this permission.

The bitter feud seems set to escalate further with an online petition garnering more than 200 signatures against the planning application. 

While fresh fears have been raised over how the proposed property could be used, with residents concerned it could be transformed into a house of multiple occupancy (HMO) and rented out. 

Local residents also argue the proposal is very similar to a previous application by the same applicant, which was rejected. 

In that case Brent council said the proposed property was ‘oversized’, concluding it was ‘considered bulky and incongruous and too prominent.’

Planning documents seen by MailOnline show the new plan has reduced the length of the property by getting rid of a ground-floor bedroom with disabled access – but the width and height remain the same. 

This application, for a three-bedroom property, comes with a basement complete with a games room, wine cellar and bar. 

According to planning documents, the construction would involve digging three metres underground for the basement, removing ‘poor quality’ trees and demolishing an existing garage. 

There has been significant criticism of the proposal online. One local resident said: ‘This application much like the previous applications is full of inaccuracies, misinformation and undeclared facts.

The bitter feud seems set to escalate further with an online petition garnering more than 200 signatures against the planning application

The bitter feud seems set to escalate further with an online petition garnering more than 200 signatures against the planning application

The application would see one of the garages behind the two properties (pictured) demolished

The application would see one of the garages behind the two properties (pictured) demolished

The developers previously made a similar application, which the council rejecte

The developers previously made a similar application, which the council rejecte

‘There is serious legal impediment to accessing the proposed site and they have not declared the change of use. None of the local neighbours support these plans, see this as damaging to the community and the applicators as a nuisance to the area.

‘This is purely a degenerative and desperate money hungry attempt. Local residents also see this as damaging to the adjacent Homestead Park conservation area.

‘Why is Brent entertaining the disingenuous information in these applications when so many residents have made objections and complaints?’

A second added: ‘It has been brought to my attention that once again permission is being sought for this outrageous plan which seems very much like the first application.

‘My objection remains as before. It would be completely detrimental to the road and surrounding properties!

‘I simply do not see any positives of this proposal but I certainly see an endless list of negatives.’

A third said: ‘Residents in the area continue to question how this ridiculous application keeps coming back. It has already caused many residents upset, and legal costs which can be ill afforded at this time of financial crisis. 

‘I strongly object to this application and trust that planners will see the suggestion is completed outrageous.’

Plans show what the proposed three-storey dwelling could look like

Plans show what the proposed three-storey dwelling could look like 

As well has having three floors above ground, the proposals also include plans for a basement level

As well has having three floors above ground, the proposals also include plans for a basement level 

But although Mr Medcalfe is frustrated that the developers have allegedly not spoken to him about the proposal, planning documents claim that all affected households were consulted via letter or email early in the process.

Teixeira is the director of four companies associated with letting and managing real estate. 

In 2018 he and his former business partner Paulo de Souza were taken to small claims court for unlawfully evicting a tenant at one of their properties after the male went on holiday in February 2017.  The pair were directors of One Room UK at the time.

The claimant had agreed a short-term tenancy deal of at least eight months for a room in a shared lodge in St John’s Wood, London in December 2016, court documents said.

He had been away for a week and missed his payment date when the locks were changed, forcing him to sofa surf for months. 

A judge at Willesden County Court ordered Mr Teixeira and Mr de Souza to pay damages of £36,557.36 to the claimant.

However, MailOnline has learned the pair appealed the initial judgement, triggering a lengthy three-year legal tussle.

The pair later agreed an out-of-court settlement of £48,521.24 to the claimant in September 2021, while accepting no liability for the claim brought against them. 

The increased settlement sum was used to pay for damages and legal costs, a source said.  

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Living in a surfer’s paradise! Chic townhouse with incredible floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking beach in Cornwall goes on the market for £2.75million

A chic townhouse with breathtaking views over a surfer’s paradise has gone on the market for £2.75m.

Gwel Tresla has incredible floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the surf mecca of Polzeath, Cornwall, and even has a sky hammock to take full advantage of the panoramic views.

The five-bedroom home is one of three striking contemporary townhouses completed in 2020 with high specifications and smart technology throughout and has been a successful holiday let with Latitude 50.

The property is arranged over four storeys with reversed living accommodation to make the most of its incredible beachfront and west-facing position, which means the owners will get to enjoy spectacular sunsets.

It has 2,863 sq ft of accommodation with the entrance lobby and a double bedroom with en suite on the ground floor, and four bedrooms and four bathrooms on the first floor.

Gwel Tresla in Polzeath, Cornwall is on the housing market for £2.75million

Gwel Tresla in Polzeath, Cornwall is on the housing market for £2.75million

The property is located in the small seaside resort village overlooking the beach that is popular with surfers

The property is located in the small seaside resort village overlooking the beach that is popular with surfers

The property is arranged over four storeys with reversed living accommodation to make the most of its incredible beachfront and west-facing position

The property is arranged over four storeys with reversed living accommodation to make the most of its incredible beachfront and west-facing position

On the second floor there is an impressive open plan living space with a kitchen/dining area

On the second floor there is an impressive open plan living space with a kitchen/dining area

The kitchen has a breakfast bar where the owners can enjoy a meal as daylight shines in through the floor-to-ceiling windows

The kitchen has a breakfast bar where the owners can enjoy a meal as daylight shines in through the floor-to-ceiling windows

There is a built-in-bar on the other side of the kitchen which is perfect when hosting guests

There is a built-in-bar on the other side of the kitchen which is perfect when hosting guests

On the second floor there is an impressive open plan living space with a kitchen/dining area with built-in bar at one end and a living area with a vaulted ceiling and a sea-facing balcony at the other.

The top floor has another living area/TV room with the sky hammock looking out over the beach and a bathroom. There is also a large covered terrace with built-in outdoor kitchen and barbecue.

Outside there is secure underground parking for two cars, a lockable surf and equipment store and outdoor hot and cold showers.

The house is just 25 yards from Polzeath Beach, a popular holiday spot with safe bathing and surfing and a vast expanse of beach.

Polzeath is close to the other popular resorts of Rock and Padstow and has a number of excellent restaurants and pubs nearby, great watersports opportunities and walking and golf.

The reversed living accommodation allows the owners to enjoy beautiful sunsets from the living room

The reversed living accommodation allows the owners to enjoy beautiful sunsets from the living room

The top floor has another living area that leads out onto a large covered terrace

The top floor has another living area that leads out onto a large covered terrace

There is a sky hammock on the top floor looking out over the beach

There is a sky hammock on the top floor looking out over the beach

The covered terrace has built-in outdoor kitchen, barbecue and seating

The covered terrace has built-in outdoor kitchen, barbecue and seating

Josephine Ashby from John Bray Estates said: ‘This striking architectural design, by Studio Arc Architects, delivers on all fronts, with breath-taking coastal views from all the principal rooms, and high specifications and smart technology throughout.

‘Completed in 2020, Gwel Trelsa is the dream beachfront property, offering comfortable and spacious accommodation that seamlessly blends comfort and luxury, resulting in a highly desirable family home or holiday home.

‘Situated in a prime frontline position at Polzeath, Gwel Trelsa commands front line views across the beach and over the surrounding coastline.’

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The 11 things that make your garden look tacky, revealed by a top expert – including the flower colour that just screams cheap

A well-maintained garden may be a relaxing retreat – but it can also boost the kerb appeal and even the value of your home.

But, if done the wrong way, efforts to enhance your outside space can leave it looking cheap.

From choosing the wrong plant pots to – counterintuitively – being too tidy, the Mail’s gardening editor looks at the 11 common errors that can cheapen your garden, rather than helping it thrive. 

When tidy is too tidy

Many of us were brought up with strict ideas about well-kept gardens, with lawns neatly mown and weeds all pulled up. But that is no longer the prevailing aesthetic.

Letting go a little and being slightly untidy can lead to a more expensive looking haven. And leaving self-sown plants in summer and seed heads over winter will make your garden look more expensively abundant. Phew!

Wildflower beds with self-sown plants are now the prevailing aesthetic

Wildflower beds with self-sown plants are now the prevailing aesthetic 

Yellow’s not mellow

Don’t get me wrong, I have a soft spot for bright yellow flowers such as daffodils and sunflowers. But such garish flowers must be used in the right context.

Expansive garden beds the colour of a hi-vis vest? It’s a no. Yellow is difficult to match with other colours and should be used sparingly.

The perils of artificial grass

The quickest way to make your garden look cheap is to lay artificial turf. Used widely in sporting venues, fake grass became popular because it doesn’t need to be mowed or watered so is seen as low-maintenance and hard-wearing. But it almost always looks naff.

Plus, the disadvantages far outweigh the benefits. It is ruinous for wildlife and adds to global warming by absorbing more radiation than living grass, which acts as a carbon sink. Natural lawns allow rainwater to be soaked up, whereas artificial grass can cause run-off after heavy rainfall leading to flooding.

In hot weather, it can reach dangerous temperatures, especially for pets who might burn their paws. Plus, it only has a lifespan of ten to 20 years, after which time it is difficult to recycle.

 Soulless bare fences

Fences without greenery can make your garden look boxy and cheap. There are plenty of easy climbers you can plant to soften the feel and make your garden look more high-end.

Star Jasmine is a lovely evergreen with pretty white flowers, while climbing hydrangea is good for a shady corner.

If you want privacy, remember evergreen hedges can’t be more than 2m high, according to the High Hedges Act. Instead try planting deciduous silver birch trees with attractive white trunks and green foliage in summer when you are out in the garden.

Don’t settle for plastic furniture

Moulded plastic chairs are unsightly and should be avoided at all costs. Plus, they’re uncomfortable and topple if you lean too far back, or slice into any bare flesh unfortunate enough to touch the seat.

If your budget won’t stretch to buying new wood, rattan or metal alternatives, search local online groups to see if anyone has second hand deck chairs or outdoor dining sets on offer.

If you are willing to buy something preloved and weathered, it can often cost less but look more expensive.

Thin borders, a thing of the past

Narrow flower beds around the edge of a rectangular lawn used to be thought of as the ideal garden design, but these days it just looks scrimping.

Borders should be at least a metre deep to allow for multi-layered planting. Don’t just put them around the perimeter of your garden. Flower beds used to divide up a space add a touch of mystery and look much classier.

Gadgets and gazebos

Barbecues, fire pits, corner sofas, gazebos, over-sized paddling pools – its easy for your outdoor space to become cluttered with so many garden gadgets you can’t move around without tripping over them.

Decide what you really need and use often, then recycle the rest. Or store them away neatly in the shed until you want to use them.

Plastic plant pot horror

It is tricky to keep plants looking good in plastic containers, even the ones that attempt to imitate terracotta.

As well as the lack of sustainability, the trouble with plastic is that unlike materials such as wood and stone, it provides no protection for plants against drying out in summer and freezing in winter, and it is not breathable.

If you do have plastic pots, reuse them for propagating and save your best non-plastic containers for display purposes.

Paving the way to disaster  

Every gardener needs somewhere to sit, but this shouldn’t come at the expense of losing too much of your lawn.

Ideally there should be a ratio of at least two-thirds planting and grass to one-third hard surface. If you are putting in a new patio, consider leaving gaps between the pavers for low plants such as creeping thyme and Mind-Your-Own-Business which will also help with drainage. 

If you want to park your car in your front garden, choose a permeable surface with planting around the edges.

Fly-away greenhouses

I must confess I own one of these mini shelving units covered in a zip-up, see-through plastic smock. But after it fell over outside one too many times in windy weather, despite being tied to the wall, I have brought it in to our lean-to where I now use it as a propagating unit. A pile of overturned seed trays and spilled soil does nothing to add to kerb appeal.

Do away with dead pot plants 

Well-tended container planting can add a cheerful welcome to a garden or balcony, but there is little as off-putting as being greeted by a collection of unidentifiable shrivelled dead plants in pots.

Avoid this by doing your research and choosing plants you love which will encourage you to water and feed them regularly. Having a water butt nearby makes this task much easier.

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Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by Savills reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.


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