Ormesby anger at “bungalow” in neighbour’s garden

THIS is the “gym and summer house” that an Ormesby family built after the council refused plans to build their grandparents a bungalow in their garden.

The outbuildings did not require planning permission as they are ancillary buildings and do not exceed council size limits - but the grandparents now sleep there.

Attempts to build on the plot, in leafy Station Road, stretch back to 1971 but have always been thrown out as they would “damage the character of the village”.

Councillors say developing the plot would add �100,000 to the value of Ross Villa, but would cause drainage problems and open the gates for harmful development elsewhere in the affluent neighbourhood.

The Garwood family were refused permission to build in their garden last year, but neighbours say that was not the last of it. For outbuildings began to appear - with a gym and a “summer house” - later connected by a conservatory, forming a single unit where the grandparents live.

It is currently classed as “overspill accommodation”.

Planning permission was not required for either outbuilding as they were ancillary buildings, and did not exceed council size limits.

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“The next thing we heard building work was going on,” said Cllr Charles Reynolds, deputy leader of the borough council. “We got enforcement people to go down there and this is what you can see. With the greatest of respect, that’s another bungalow.”

Mr Reynolds, Ormesby ward councillor, told Tuesday’s development control meeting that he was well placed to comment as he used to live in Ross Villa.

He added: “I know Mr Garwood senior was well aware of what’s going on as he used to be a lawyer.”

But Sarah Garwood, who lives in the home with her husband and two children, insisted she was not trying to make a profit.

Her mother, Christina Farmer, who lives in the outbuildings with her husband, told the meeting: “Our family is a very close family.

“Our son-in-law serves in the Royal Navy for many months at a time and we’re instrumental in day to day routines, helping with the grandchildren.

“Our daughter needs us, and she cares for her dad who suffers from ill health.”

She assured councillors they would not look to split the development and sell it, but they wanted an extra building rather than an extension as: “An extension would take all the windows away from a 100 year old house.”

The Garwoods hoped to secure continued use of the outbuilding as an annexe - so they could install a kitchen and treat it as a separate home - but have been met with fierce opposition.

Andrew Eagle, vice chairman of Ormesby Parish Council, said: “The Oxford English Dictionary actually defines a summer house as a small building used for shade in the summer, but you can see we’ve gone a lot further than that.

“This has been one of the most contentious applications the parish council has seen in the last five years.”

But Mick Castle, councillor for Central and Northgate ward, said the matter was academic as the building was already there and being lived in.

“Unless you’re seriously going to be proposing demolition, people will think you’re stupid,” he told councillors.

The application was refused.