Yorkshire villagers say they can 'see into the bedrooms' of new homes built only 20 metres away and measured with a tape measure

Residents in Hanging Heaton fear a ‘huge invasion of privacy’ after a housing development is built in front of their homes.

The planning application to bring 55 new homes to four acres of field off High Street and Challenge Way which lies in both Batley and Dewsbury was approved by Kirklees Council in November 2021. Now, the properties are being built and the project delivered by Vistry Partnerships.

The existing homes, some of which have balconies on the second or third floors, overlook the new builds, with residents reporting that they can see directly into the bedrooms of the new properties.

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Residents living in nearby properties have spoken out against the development, most recently explaining how their privacy has been compromised.

Hanging Heaton High StreetHanging Heaton High Street
Hanging Heaton High Street

Laura Shaw said: “Most homes have second or third-floor balconies, for example, and in my home, we have a second-floor conservatory, with floor-to-ceiling glass which looked out onto the fields.

“So when I saw that my living space, which is on the second floor of my home, would now look directly into someone’s bedroom, of course, I was concerned.

“Upstairs, my children’s bedrooms on the third floor would be looking down into people’s bedrooms.”

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Laura explained that she had previously asked Kirklees Council’s planning department what the distance between her home and the new properties would be and was told 21.3m.

However, once the foundations were dug in July last year, residents noticed the properties were “incredibly close” and wanted to measure just how close this was. Laura reported a distance of less than 21m leading residents to call upon the council to re-measure the distance.

Laura’s neighbour Steve Crossley was present when the council came to take the measurement. He says that a planning officer carried this out using a standard tape measure rather than a digital metre and suggested this was carried out deliberately to get their desired result rather than a correct result.

The council reported the distance between the properties is 21.1m but now that the properties are nearing completion, Laura reports the property directly in front of hers is 20.8m away – less than the 21m set out in the council’s own guidelines. However, in responding to Laura’s concerns, the council explained that even if her measurement was correct, no action would be taken.

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She said: “it’s been 7 months now of arguing about this and it’s wholly unacceptable to me that the council are allowing my living space, where my children play, to be directly opposite bedroom windows that breach the Council’s own minimum separation distance set of 21m. It’s a huge invasion of my family’s privacy and just should not be allowed.

“I believe the council have been negligent in their response, in that they knew in July, when foundations were dug that there was disparity with the measured distances and they have allowed all this time to pass, exchanging many, many emails with me about it, and this has now meant that the homes are pretty much built, which of course makes it extremely costly for the developer to rectify.

“Back in July it was filling a hole in and re-digging it further back, now we’re in a situation where to rectify this a whole building needs to be demolished and rebuilt.”

Other residents are equally dismayed by the actions of the council and the developer. Pauline Crossley said: “I think the privacy issue is a big one, we have a through lounge/ dining room and when I am sat on the settee at the front of the house I can see through the french doors, straight into the new house’s bedroom. From the dining room as well as looking at the bedroom can see into their french doors.”

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She added: “There are so many more problems. Vistry have never considered our well being, has been lots of dust not damped down then only a few times when we complained, very noisy digger which environment had to put a stop notice on.”