And finally… Communities Secretary in a pickle over home extension ‘monstrosity’

Planners have blamed UK Communities Secretary Eric Pickles for making them powerless to prevent a row between two homeowners over a “monstrosity” of an extension.

Two homes in the Moseley area of Birmingham which now share a gutter because one neighbour extended several inches beyond that for which planning permission was given.

Birmingham City Council has approved the finished extension – branded a “monstrosity” by area MP Steve McCabe.

City planners complained they are powerless to act and have blamed Mr Pickles’ legislation, which is designed to cut red tape and encourage development.

Mr Pickles said people who extend their home without consideration for neighbours can create community tension but he denied the rules permitted such things to happen.

He admitted that while he wants his policies to bring neighbourhoods to be closer together - he did not expect houses to become joined at the gutter.

Asked about the spate of large house extensions which have pitched neighbours against each other, the Secretary of State said he was disappointed that they have become a major source of community tension in the city.

Mr Pickles told the Birmingham Mail: “The legislation rules that there is a gap between houses. It is not meant to go up to the party wall.”

But he expressed his sympathy for the residents. “There is nothing more disagreeable than a disagreement between neighbours and I can understand the planning authority not wanting to get terribly involved.

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