We're furious at eyesore £10m luxury development with Alcatraz prison watchtower – they make our homes look common | The Sun07/05/2022
A CLIFF-top super-development worth £10million has been halted after neighbours complained over an "Alcatraz-style watchtower".
The building of four luxury homes including the neo-classical mansion on the exclusive plot at Canford Cliffs, Poole in Dorset, is part-way through – but fuming residents are already fed up.
They claim the developers have used the "cover of Covid" to allow the work to get "way out of hand" compared to the original approved plans.
Alarm bells were raised when neighbours noticed no hole had been dug for a pool. Instead it appeared the structure was being turned into a two-bed annex with balconies pointing towards the sea.
They say its being build on land protected by a legal covenant and only "disguised" as an indoor swimming pool.
A roof-top sun room attached to the mansion is causing anger over its resemblance to a "watchtower in Alcatraz".
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It is also claimed the foundations have been raised by 4ft to improve sea views and terraces pointing to the sea have been added to the annex without permission.
Neighbours say the unwanted add-ons have been introduced to the site bit by bit during the pandemic when no planning officers could inspect the work.
They have previously raised concerns that the new homes will "unbalance" the exclusive seaside cul-de-sac and they will appear "common".
Developers Bayview Developments have now halted the work to avoid legal action amid an ongoing council investigation into the construction site.
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The site is in the affluent suburb of Canford Cliffs and overlooks the millionaire's row of Sandbanks.
A large detached bungalow was built on the sprawling 1.5 acre plot after it was bombed in the second world war.
The home was bought in 2020 by Bill Buckler, of Bayview Developments, for just over £3m and demolished with plans to divide the site into three building plots.
They were given planning permission for a detached four bedroom house worth £3m on one plot and two semi-detached town houses on another.
They had plans for a £4.5m four-bed mansion and attached pool house approved on a third plot.
Responding to residents' concerns, the local BCP Council launched an enforcement investigation in March this year and warned the developers that any work carried out without permission could be subject to legal action.
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Clive Crossley, 91, has lived in the private cul-de-sac for 22 years.
He said: "My issue was that they didn't keep to the architectural language of the property but the council didn't take any notice.
"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.
"I have no good feelings about what is happening here. It seems the developer is getting what he wants.
"That thing on the top of the main house looks like Alcatraz. It looks like a lookout you'd get at a prison."
A resident at neighbouring Ravine Court, who wished not to be named, said the pool house was being turned into a separate property.
The local woman said: "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.
"There's windows facing our garden on it and terraces, which we don't believe are allowed.
"The two houses were supposed to be semi-detached but they are detached and he put in a plan to change it after.
A BCP Council spokesman said an investigation is continuing in regard to Meriden Close and a Stop Notice has not been issued at the present time.
They said: "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.
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"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 has been approached for comment.
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