Bungalow battle goes to High Court

NEAABE110601b1, Robert, Catherine and son James Vickers, Edward Road Nuthall.
NEAABE110601b1, Robert, Catherine and son James Vickers, Edward Road Nuthall.

A HOMEOWNER is still fighting for compensation after a council error led to a mansion being built too near to his bungalow.

Robert Vickers has been in ongoing talks with Broxtowe Borough Council after maladministration by planners resulted in a three-storey house being constructed yards from his home.

He now intends to take a claim for about £500,000 to the High Court including the devaluation of his house, legal costs of more than £100,000 and a payout for the distress and inconvenience caused to him and his family.

Mr Vickers says the council has offered to compensate for the devaluation of his home but is unwilling to pay for legal costs or distress and inconvenience, following the recommendation of an Ombudsman.

The 58-year-old said: “This thing has been going on since 2005. As a family we just want it sorted.

“I said to the leader of the council ‘Would you want to buy my bungalow with that towering over you?’ The problem is, that money is coming from the taxpayer.

If you totted up what they have spent over the last five or six years on lawyers and barristers defending what they knew was wrong and wouldn’t admit, they could give me the half a million pounds and still have change.

“I’m still now having to use my own money to tell them to pay up.”

Mr Vickers’ bungalow in Edwards Road, Nuthall, was designed and built in 1995 to be suitable for his two wheelchair-bound sons James and Anthony.

The council granted permission to Paul Singh to build the mansion at Temple Lake, off Kimberley Road, Nuthall, in September 2003.

But an investigation into the application later found errors at the council’s planning department which led to Mr Vickers’ home being left off a site map which went before councillors.

In June 2010, the council received a report from the Local Government Ombudsman which said planning permission for the house should never have been granted and the council was guilty of ‘maladministration’ over the issue.

The council believes it should not have to pay for Mr Vickers’ legal costs or distress because the Ombudsman’s report said the compensation should be based on the loss in value of his property.

The council has now appointed surveyors, Fisher German, to give an estimate of the devaluation.

A council spokesman said: “The final report from Fisher German has taken longer to produce than the council anticipated. The reasons for the delay were not directly in the council’s control.

“The council is now hopeful that it will receive the final version of the report within the next couple of weeks.

“Their report will be passed to the District Valuer, who will be asked to produce a figure as to the change in value to Mr Vicker’s property that arose from the planning decision. Once that process has been completed the council will contact Mr Vickers directly.”