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Developers halt £10,000,0000 project after neighbours spot ‘prison watchtower’

Neighbours and the council have accused the developers of unauthorised works (Picture: BNPS)

A £10 million residential development despised by its wealthy neighbours has been halted amid claims it ‘got way out of hand’ with ‘unauthorised works’.

Residents of Meriden Close, a private cul-de-sac in Poole, Dorset, say their scenery has been ‘ruined’ by garish additions to the four luxury homes under construction by Bayview Developments.

They allegedly include a roof-top sun room which looks like a ‘watchtower in Alcatraz’ added to the star property on the site, a £4.5 million four-bed mansion.

Its foundations have been raised 4 feet to improve sea views and a large two-bedroom annex ‘disguised’ as an indoor swimming pool is also being built on land protected by a legal covenant, the residents claim.

Terraces pointing to the sea are also said to have been added to the annex without permission from the council.

The 1.5-acre plot, which previously featured just a single bungalow, was bought in 2020 by the company’s co-direcor, Bill Buckler.

As well as the mansion, planning permission was also granted for a detached four-bed house worth £3 million and two more semi-detached townhouses likely to fetch millions more.

Neighbours previously complained that the new homes will ‘unbalance’ the cul-de-sac and make it look ‘common’.

A sun-room on the main mansion was described as an ‘Alcatraz-style watchtower’ (Picture: BNPS)
Clive Crossley, 91, says the works have ‘ruined’ the area for neighbours (Picture: BNPS)

The new features were allegedly added during the pandemic when planning inspectors could not inspect the work.

Clive Crossley, 91, who has lived in Meriden Close for 22 years, said: ‘What is being built is not the scheme that was put forward.

‘It has been incrementally changed and has all been done under the cover of Covid.

‘To me they have ruined what was a tranquil and very nice place to live. I don’t like to interfere with what other people are doing but I didn’t want it to get as far as this.

An early CGI mock-up of the development in its planned form (Picture: BNPS)

‘That thing on the top of the main house looks like Alcatraz. It looks like a lookout you’d get at a prison.’

The local authority, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council, say they have found a number of examples of unauthorised works and threatened ‘enforcement action’ against the developer if new planning consent is not granted.

A resident at neighbouring Ravine Court, who wished not to be named, said she fears the pool house is being turned into a separate property while a hole was being dug for a swimming pool in the mansion’s garden.

‘The illegal building has been lots of little things, like the size of windows and the annexe with the pool – there has never been a pool or a hole in it so we worry it’s just going to be another house.

The multi-million pound properties overlook the Dorset coast (Picture: BNPS)
The properties across the 1.5-acre plot will likely fetch more than £10 million (Picture: BNPS)

‘There’s windows facing our garden on it and terraces, which we don’t believe are allowed.

‘The top viewing room is visible from the beach and it looks like a bus shelter.’

A BCP Council spokesman said: ‘The investigation is continuing in regard to Meriden Close.

‘A Stop Notice has not been issued at the present time as work has voluntarily ceased on certain unauthorised works on site.

‘The developers have been made aware that any works undertaken without the necessary planning approval are at their own risk and could be liable to formal enforcement action.

‘The council have been in discussions with the developer’s agents in respect of the unauthorised 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 regularise the situation, although there is no guarantee that planning consent will be forthcoming.’

Bayview Developments have been approached for comment.

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