A wealthy London woman has found herself embroiled in a bitter legal battle with her neighbours after she surrounded part of her £3.6m home with a wooden barricade to ‘protect her privacy’.
Elspeth Pirie, Kensington, erected the giant blockade behind her period home after her neighbours, artist William Milroy and architect Luz Vargas, carried out extensive reconstruction of their adjacent home.
According to Miss Pirie, the couple’s bold new design featured three large windows which were installed at the rear of their property, and now overlook Miss Pirie’s garden.
The disgruntled pensioner says that she felt ‘forced’ to put up a giant blockade to ‘protect her privacy’ after Mr Milroy and Ms Vargas ‘ignored’ her protests.
In response, an outraged Ms Vargas has launched a legal battle against Miss Pirie, claiming that the oversized hoarding prevents her and her partner from seeing out of their windows, or using their back door.
At Central London County Court, Ms Vargas claimed that the barricade was starving their home of natural light, and creating a new risk of ‘rot and damp’ developing in their home due to trapped moisture.
Meanwhile, Miss Pirie, who is counterclaiming for £50,000, said that her neighbours’ builders carried out “incredibly prolonged and disruptive works” to their property whilst standing in her garden without permission.
She added that the fact that planning permission was not required for Ms Vargas and Mr Milroy’s overlooking windows meant that she, unfairly, never had the opportunity to object to them.
However, at the time the artistic couple were renovating their home, Miss Pirie admitted that she did not contest the works because she “felt she should act in a neighbourly way”.
According to reports, Judge Edward Bailey is due to decide what rights of light and access Ms Vargas and Mr Milroy enjoy at the back of their house, if they are due damages over the hoarding, and whether a light obstruction notice obtained by Ms Pirie should be cancelled.
The dispute continues.