Retired couple say dream home is 'ruined' by 'eyesore' new-builds towering over garden

A retired couple’s dream of a peaceful life in their idyllic bungalow has been shattered by new-build homes towering over their back garden.

Maureen and Dave King, who live in Broad Oak, near Canterbury in Kent, say their views have been ‘ruined’ by the development. They thought they’d found their forever home when they bought it nine years ago, surrounded by pretty fields and woods. But now the trees have been flattened and their peace has been shattered by the building of the “eyesore” two-and-a-half storey homes overlooking their garden.

Former nurse Mrs King, 71, said: “When we bought this place, we thought when we left it would be in a box. It was our dream home – but that dream has been taken away from us.” Her 72-year-old husband, a former builder, says he is losing sleep due to the stress. He said: “Now we just want to get out. It’s ruined our garden – it’s ruined everything. I was given a hot tub as a gift, but I won’t use it now if people are looking into my garden.”

They also worry about their grandkids playing outside because the new houses mean strangers can see into their garden. Maureen added: “You don’t know who’s going to move in, and you can see the whole thing.” The couple’s renovated bungalow is now overlooked by the towering new buildings right next to their back garden. Mrs King added: “The main issue is the height. We’re in a bungalow – built pre-70s – and these buildings are so high and they have windows in the roof.”

The view from their back garden
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No credit)

Feeling invaded, she shared her upset: “We’ve got 16-plus windows overlooking us. They can look into our garden and our home.” The couple describe their newfound neighbours as “They are an eyesore too.” The couple say they fought “tooth and nail” to stop Barratt David Wilson Homes’ plans for the new estate from coming to fruition, but were unsuccessful.

Mr and Mrs King were shocked when diggers showed up, claiming that prior consultations only mentioned potential plans for the two-storey houses with an additional loft level and not set in stone. Noticing the towering heights of the new homes replacing peace and serenity was a tough pill to swallow. Their bungalow was supposed to be a haven where they could enjoy retirement. But after spending thousands on sprucing it up, they now want out.

The couple say the new homes have ‘ruined’ their dream house
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No credit)

The couple face another hurdle – their home’s value has dropped thanks to the imposing new development. Mrs King lamented: “The bungalow next door to ours has been up for sale for at least six months and they can’t sell it.” She worried: “Who would want to be overlooked by all these tall buildings?”

Mr King says he would even let Barratt buy his bungalow and build flats on the plot. He added: “I already suffer from depression and am losing sleep over the stress of it all.” The 456-home development, named The Woodlands, was narrowly approved by Canterbury City Council’s planning committee in 2021.

It was submitted along with a 630-home proposal on neighbouring land, stretching into Sturry. Councillors gave both the green light by seven votes to five, despite fierce opposition and an almost identical proposal being rejected three months earlier. To add to their misery, the couple say the construction process has been a “catalogue of disasters”.

Last summer, a huge pile of dirt blew a thick layer of grime onto their home and Mr King’s classic car collection. Just last week, work on pipes at the neighbouring construction site led to sewage backing up and overflowing into their garden.

The view from their back garden
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No credit)

A spokesman for Barratt David Wilson Homes said: “All of the designs for homes at our The Woodlands development were approved by Canterbury City Council following an extensive consultation process. The new homes that are being built adjacent to existing properties are offset by more than 28 metres and were assessed in the planning process to have no adverse impact on existing residents.

“We work really hard to minimise the impact from construction with daily road sweepings to clean mud and in the summer months spray water to limit dust. If any resident has any concerns, please get in touch with us and we will do whatever we can to help.”


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