Plans for an extension which neighbours claimed would be “a direct breach of privacy rules” have been passed by Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC).

Plans were submitted in October 2020 for an extension for 77 Barlows Lane, which will see a two story side and rear extension built onto the home. Neighbours had objected to the plans, claiming it would breach privacy rules, while their objection alluded to the council’s obligation to uphold their human rights.

Mr Burrows, who lives in an adjacent property, told councillors on the Northern Area Planning Committee (NAPC): “We hope the NAPC will show their independence from the council’s planning department and support the freedom of a long established local resident. Your decision tonight is not rubber stamping a piece of paper, but affecting real people’s lives.”

Following consideration, the committee approved the plans.

Concerns over the property’s extension primarily rested with issues of overlooking, loss of light and parking. A report by TVBC planning officer Alexandra Jeffrey said that there would be “limited” overlooking opportunities from a new bedroom window, and that the plans “would provide for the privacy of 79 Barlows Lane.”

However, this was queried by Cllr Richard Rowles, who asked how the installation of a new window would result in no loss of amenity to no. 79.

He said: “I think the new build will reduce the amenity of the property next door.

“I did invite the applicant and Mr Burroughs to come and meet with me but the applicant decided it was not for them.

He added: “I respectfully disagree with our officers.”

Mr Burrows also said he had tried to discuss the application, but that his modifications “were rebuffed without a second thought”. He said that the officer’s plans did not reflect reality.

Addressing councillors, he said: “We believe that the sight lines do not provide a true representation of lost privacy as they only take a 2D view and not a 3D view. When viewing from the first floor window, we don’t just look straight ahead and restrict ourselves to a 45 degree view.

“We would look down, it’s human nature, and would see what is going on next door, so we believe there is a breach of privacy there.

“At present, we do not have any overlooking into our living room, rear garden and patio. The position of the window deprives us of the only private green space we have. We have taken legal advice from a solicitor who said that in their opinion, the window is a direct breach of privacy rules.”

However, this was disputed by the applicant, Ms McHugh, who said: “Our application is to solely make much-needed high quality improvements to the property to create a suitable family home for us to reside in for the foreseeable future. The proposed plans we have submitted are very similar, almost identical in design, to a number of properties on Barlow’s Lane, including the objector’s property.

“The views from this window would be minimal, and as bedroom four is the smallest bedroom in our plans it is likely to be used as a nursery or child’s bedroom in the future. Limited time would be spent in the room so we do not expect it to have a significant impact on Mr Burrows’ privacy or any future residents of no. 79.”

Cllr Zilliah Brooks raised additional concerns over parking, asking officers: “They’re going to have three cars parked behind that area there, and we saw this would be unique when we looked at the rest of the area.

“The street scene would be completely different. Can you explain why you have no objection when there would be an impact on the street scene?”

Alexandra Jeffrey replied that the plans were different than at nearby examples, saying: “I would say that unlike the other properties, a large amount of lawn area is being maintained behind the parked cars. Just down the road, other properties have largely tarmacked their driveways.

“Whilst it may alter the character of the area, I do not consider it will have a detrimental impact.”

Cllr Jim Neal subsequently spoke in favour of the application, saying: “I think I counted 11 extensions of various sizes and I’ve read the report thoroughly and I think the officers have got it spot on. I don’t think how under planning law we can possibly refuse this, a lot of thought has gone into this.”

The plans were then put to a vote, which was carried with a significant majority of councillors.