A woman says she and her husband are being forced to sell their dream home – because they can see their neighbour in the shower.
Pauline Boyd and her partner bought the luxury property in Blair Drummond near Stirling, Scotland to enjoy a peaceful and quiet life.
But the building of a new house next door has left them with privacy concerns – and an eyeful while they eat their dinner.
Ms Boyd is particularly furious as she says the local council failed to inform her of planning application details for next door.
The council later made a formal apology to the couple following an investigation.
Ms Boyd said: “When we first got here, it was quite rural and while we had neighbours, they weren’t really in your face.
“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, writes: “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.
“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.”
Left angry and disappointed at the outcome, Ms Boyd has now shared that she plans to sell up and has put her home on the market.
“It has been a nightmare with Stirling Council and it has been so badly mishandled in general,” she said.
“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.”