A woman has been forced to sell her £450,000 rural Scottish dream home because another house was built so close to hers that she can see her next-door neighbours showering while she eats dinner in her kitchen.
Pauline Boyd bought Greylag in Blair Drummond, Stirling three years ago to give her and her partner a base to see their family and to grab a slice of rural life.
However, she claims that peace was ruined when another house was built close to her own, including a garage which looks directly into her own kitchen.
She has also blasted council planning chiefs after they did not send her a letter informing her of the details of the planning application.
Stirling Council was forced to apologise after an investigation revealed that the employee responsible for sending the letter had been distracted by a phone call.
Ms Boyd told the Observer: ‘When we first got here, it was quite rural and while we had neighbours, they weren’t really in your face.
Pauline Boyd bought Greylag in Blair Drummond, Stirling three years ago to give her and her partner a base to see their family and to grab a slice of rural life
The exterior of Greylag in Blair Drummond, Stirling, as listed online in mid-2018
The living room of Greylag in Blair Drummond, Stirling, as featured online
‘We had moved up to Turriff in Aberdeenshire but I was missing family so much that I was down every six weeks so we decided to get a base down here and I had always wanted to stay near Stirling Castle so it seemed like the perfect spot.
‘In January 2019, the owner decided to sell a bit of his land near us and the property that is there now has a garage that looks right into where we eat.
‘There is also a shower room in the property and so we can see people through there while we’re eating our dinner, even though the windows are frosted.
‘It’s got to the stage that it our stress levels are really bad and really impacted our lives – we’re having to keep our shutters closed but we don’t want to be doing that.’
Following an initial planning application for the property submitted in March 2019, a second application including the details of the plans was submitted for approval in September that year.
This led to Ms Boyd submitting a complaint and a council probe launched into the circumstances of the mix-up.
In a letter sent to Ms Boyd in January this year, Stirling Council’s planning and building standards manager Christina Cox said: ‘I have looked into how this error arose and hope that the following provides some explanation.
‘The Gateway team within the planning service undertake neighbour notification of all planning applications.
Ms Boyd kitchen, as pictured when the house was listed on the market in mid-2018
Ms Boyd says she has been left angry by the handling of her case and has placed her house on the market due to the loss of privacy
‘In this instance, the officer correctly identified your property to be neighbour notified, however, the letter was not printed for issue.
‘It is likely that the officer was distracted by taking a telephone call midway through the task and did not complete the printing of the letter to issue to you.’
Ms Boyd says she has been left angry by the handling of her case and has placed her house on the market due to the loss of privacy.
She added: ‘It has been a nightmare with Stirling Council and it has been so badly mishandled in general.
‘The systems are in place but they just don’t appear to be working because if we had known about this garage going up, we would have built a fortress or a stronger fence.
‘We’re looking for a new place to live because this property is impacting our lives – we moved here for rural living but we feel like fish in a bowl and we can’t even sit in our garden because we’re looking directly on to this garage near the road.
‘It’s a shame that we’re having to sell because we’ve done a lot of work on the house.’
In response, a Stirling Council spokesperson said that Ms Boyd’s objections to the property were properly considered in the first application and said her property was three times the minimum privacy distance from her neighbour.
The spokesperson acknowledged that Ms Boyd should have had the opportunity to comment on the second application, but added that the complaints process had now been exhausted, with a letter posted for options to take things further if she wished.
They added: ‘The council has apologised in writing to Mrs Boyd regarding this matter and her complaints have been fully investigated.
‘Further quality assurance processes have been put in place to ensure this error is not repeated.’