Southampton News: Family £20,000 out of pocket after being ordered to tear down wall | United Kingdom | New
Mohammed Saleem Ahmed, 52, has been told he must tear down the perimeter wall outside his home in Southampton, Hampshire. The wall was built outside his £1.2million home after the previous one started to crumble. Mohammed, who owns several restaurants, was also ordered to pay £1,500 after breaching a council enforcement notice to tear down the wall in November last year.
Her nephew, who lives in the 10-bed house, said the wall was identical to the previous one.
Bilal Ahmed, 28, told The Sun: “My family has lived here for 35 years. My grandparents bought the house and I was born and raised here.
“As far as I can remember, this house has always had a wall there. If you look on google maps, as far as you can go there is a wall there.
“There was a cherry tree and the roots were growing in the wall. The tree fell several times in the road which we had to repair.
“In early 2018, an arborist diagnosed the tree as sick and dying and posing a threat to the public, so it was removed immediately. Once the tree was removed, it was clear to see that the wall was bent and became a security threat. Imagine if a child ran past the wall during Storm Eunice, that child would die.”
Bilal said the family had asked the masons to repair and restore the wall, but as they went along they realized they would have to completely rebuild the wall to make sure it was safe.
The wall was rebuilt in the same location at the same height and with the same design using the closest matching color bricks available.
A planning enforcement officer then told the family that they should apply for a retrospective planning permit which was denied.
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He explained: “A planning consultant told us that none of the changes we made were significant and that we had done everything to ensure that it was consistent with the original house and the existing side wall. We even replanted the same foliage behind the wall, which ripened well, and said we would roughen the wall with cow dung treatment to make it look older.
Finally, the council told them that the new wall should not be more than a meter high, although the previous one was “twice as high”.
Bilal was shocked to learn that the wall had to be removed, with some neighbors asking why it was being demolished.
But he said not all the neighbors were understanding, adding: “They would much rather see your property crumble than see you restore it. We have spent at least £20,000 restoring that wall and now the demolish, as well as for legal fees and fines.”
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Bilal says there was nothing to bring down the wall and “we have nothing left because we felt we had to do something because the wall wasn’t safe.”
He added: “Now we’ve had three break-in attempts since the wall was gone and the door was gone. We’ve never had a break-in in 35 years. I have family members who feel threatened in their own home, especially since the wall has now been torn down. It’s a threat to our safety. It’s ridiculous, I think, disgusting.
The family now find themselves “without security” and the wall “has given individuality to the property”, added Bilal.
Next door neighbors Jane and Norman McLean said they were unhappy with the destruction of the wall and had written a letter to council.
Ms McLean, an 82-year-old retired GP, said: ‘My husband and I thought it was an attractive wall and we don’t agree with what is happening.
But another neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “We’re glad it’s going down. It wasn’t in keeping with the rest of the street. The bricks were like nothing else in the house. It was much higher than other walls around here. It wasn’t that high before. I would say it’s much higher.