A £10m super-development atop CLIFF has been halted after neighbors complained of an “Alcatraz-style watchtower”.
Construction of four luxury homes, including the neoclassical mansion on the exclusive Canford Cliffs plot, Poole in Dorset, is halfway done, but angry residents have had enough.
They claim that the developers have used “Covid cover” to allow work to “get out of control” compared to the original approved plans.
Alarm bells went off when neighbors noticed that no hole had been dug for a swimming pool. Instead, it seemed that the structure was becoming a two-bed annex with balconies that pointed out to sea.
They say that it is being built on land protected by a legal agreement and only “disguised” as an indoor pool.
A rooftop sun room attached to the mansion is drawing anger for its resemblance to a “watchtower on Alcatraz.”
It is also claimed that the foundations were raised 4 feet to improve sea views and sea-facing terraces were added to the annex without permission.
Neighbors say unwanted add-ons crept into the site piecemeal during the pandemic, when no planning officer was allowed to inspect the work.
They previously expressed concern that the new homes will “unbalance” the exclusive seaside cul-de-sac and appear “ordinary.”
Developers Bayview Developments have now halted work to avoid legal action amid an ongoing council investigation into the construction site.
The site is in the affluent suburb of Canford Cliffs and overlooks the millionaires’ row of sandbars.
A large detached bungalow was built on the sprawling 1.5-acre plot after it was bombed in WWII.
Bill Buckler of Bayview Developments bought the house in 2020 for just over £3m and demolished it with plans to divide the site into three building plots.
They were granted planning permission for a four-bedroom detached house valued at £3m on one plot and two semi-detached single-family houses on another.
They had plans for a £4.5m four-bedroom mansion and an attached pool house approved on a third plot.
In response to residents’ concerns, the local BCP council launched an enforcement investigation in March this year and warned developers that any work carried out without permission could be subject to legal action.
‘RUINED WHAT WAS PEACEFUL’
Clive Crossley, 91, has lived on a private cul-de-sac for 22 years.
He said: “My problem was that they didn’t keep the architectural language of the property, but the council didn’t notice.
“What is being built is not the scheme that was proposed.
“It has been gradually changed and everything has been done under the cover of Covid.
“I don’t have good feelings about what’s going on here. It seems like the developer is getting what they want.”
“That thing on top of the main house looks like Alcatraz. It looks like a lookout post you’d have in a prison.”
A resident of neighboring Ravine Court, who did not want to be identified, said the pool house would become a separate property.
The local woman said: “The illegal construction has consisted of many small things, such as the size of the windows and the annex with the pool, there has never been a pool or a hole, so we are worried that it is just another house.”
“There are windows that look out onto our garden and terraces, which we don’t think are allowed.
“The two houses were supposed to be attached, but they are separate and he made a plan to change them later.
A spokesman for the BCP Council said that an investigation is continuing regarding Meriden Close and that a Stop Notice has not been issued at this time.
They said: “Developers have been advised that any work carried out without the necessary planning approval is at their own risk and could be subject to formal enforcement action.
“The council has been in discussions with the developer’s agents regarding the unauthorized aspects of the development and retrospective planning applications are currently in the process of being prepared for submission to the council in an attempt to regularize the situation, although there is no guarantee … that planning consent will be available.”
Bayview Developments has been contacted for comment.