Planning permission: 'Monster mansion' built without consent in Walsall must be torn down
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A homeowner has finally started to demolish a "monster mansion" he built without planning permission - following a three-year row with his neighbours.
Gurwinder Singh bulldozed his modest semi-detached house and replaced it with a four-bedroom property in Willenhall in the West Midlands in 2020.
But following more than 95 complaints from local residents, he was ordered to tear down the half-built home by Walsall Council. Neighbours fumed the building work had made their "lives hell" while others described the "eyesore" as "like a Travelodge in the middle of a housing estate".
Delivery driver Mr Singh appealed to the Planning Inspectorate but the council dismissed the appeal and upheld the original enforcement notice in July. He was also threatened with court action if he failed to comply with the enforcement notice by April next year.
Work has now begun to demolish the structure and and the first floor has been torn down, much to relief of surrounding residents in Sandringham Avenue. One neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said: "It's about time - this has been going on for way too long and we just hope he sees it through now.
"We always said he'd never get away with it but as time went on you did wonder. It's been hell living next to a construction site and half-built shell for three years. "We just hope he rips the rest of it down and doesn't leave another mess. We'll be relieved when it's all done and dusted."
Another resident said previously: "The house is bloody huge and looks like a horrible monster mansion. None of the other houses in this area are that big, what on earth was he thinking? It was at least three times the size of the original house. It looks like a sports hall."
The dad-of-two had never applied for planning permission and was only been given the green light for a side extension to the existing 1960s house in 2020. It is thought the brand new house would have cost in the region of £200,000 to build – and would have been the biggest property in the area.
When enforcement got involved, two retrospective planning applications were submitted – the first of which was withdrawn and the second refused. He was then given a series of five deadlines, with the first giving him until October 7 to demolish the building.
He was also given until November 7 to stabilise the adjoining property and remove all below ground works by December 7.
A spokesperson for Walsall Council said: “The council is monitoring the situation to ensure all actions in the enforcement notice are complied with. We will review the need for potential further action once the final deadline for compliance has passed. We are aware that the owner has started demolition work and continue to monitor in accordance with the enforcement notice. The owner is undertaking works themselves at this stage.”