5th Dec, 2016

Path to be built through 'devastated' Shirley couple's front garden

Solihull Editorial 27th Jan, 2016 Updated: 24th Oct, 2016

A SHIRLEY couple have been left ‘devastated’ after developers announced plans to pave over their front garden.

Joanne and James Harris are appealing against Persimmon Homes’ decision to put a tarmac path over their front garden – just 96cm away from their bay window.

The couple, who own the property on Berry Maud Lane, said they had heard nothing of the plans until they saw a workman spraying guidance lines on their lawn last Thursday (January 21).

Confronting the man, he said the couple should have already been informed of the works.

But Joanne and James claim they were completely in the dark about Persimmon’s plans which they believe would be invasive and would affect the privacy of their two young children.

Persimmon argues that the plans were clear on the deed to the property, which the couple bought last March – a fact which Mr Harris refutes.

He argues the front garden was highlighted as a ‘selling point’, and that the couple have been maintaining it ever since.

“Surely if the garden’s was Persimmon’s property, they would have been round cutting the grass,” James told the Observer.

“We’re concerned if the works go ahead that people could gather right outside our window or park a car there when we already have problems with inconsiderate parking on the street.

“We have been very upset by the whole episode and had previously been impressed with Persimmon homes.”

Coun Brian Holmes has been working with the couple and said he hopes an agreement between the developer, the Council and the Harris family can be reached so the family can ‘enjoy their own front garden’.

A spokesman for Persimmon Homes Central said they still plan to complete the footpath in line with planning and highways approval.

They added: “We have been alerted to the occupants concerns and have recently postponed work in that area and are awaiting a decision from the council on the matter as to how they wish us to proceed.”

A Solihull Council spokesperson said original planning documents detailed a path would be built on the Harris’ front garden, but would grant permission for plans to be changed if an agreement the scrap the path was reached between the developers and the family.