Our ‘nightmare’ neighbours are fighting to stop us building a second home in our own garden – we’re being frozen out | The Sun

A COUPLE are stuck in a row with their neighbours over plans to build a second home in their garden.

Terence McGuinness, 45, and his wife Emma, 41, have been frozen out by residents along their road in the village of Oxshott, Surrey.

The dispute has erupted over plans to demolish their £1.5million four-bed home in Birch Mead and replace it with two houses.

Terence, a boss at a catering firm, and Emma, a figure skater turned yoga teacher, want to create the second home so they can watch over her poorly father.

But they are now locked in a bitter court battle claiming they have been “shunned and ostracised” by some neighbours on the secluded 47-house Ridgeway estate – where houses sell for more than £2m.

Terence says they have "lost touch" with some in the community, with his wife no longer taking part in the "wine society", chats at the gate or summer picnics.

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The couple are being sued by the owner of the private roads accessing the estate – Ridgeway (Oxshott) Management Ltd – which is seeking an injunction banning them from using their roads to carry out the build.

But the couple want the case against them thrown out and are now awaiting judgement following a hearing at Central London County Court.

Emma was formerly a competitive figure skater, but has now carved out a successful career as a teacher of trendy Bikram "hot" yoga.

Her husband has a background in acting and drama after training at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama.

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Terence was also a student at the school, but is now sales director at a catering firm.

Judge Simon Monty heard the couple already have planning permission to demolish their four-bed home – valued at around £1.5m – and substitute two new homes.

They say the plans are for Emma's frail dad can live beside them.

But barrister Miriam Settler, representing the residents' company, highlighted the potential road chaos flowing from the build.

She claimed the plans would shatter the calm of a quiet estate if they were to go ahead.

Ms Settler said: "The disruption and damage to be caused in the short term is significant: the construction period for two dwellings will be substantially longer and more intensive than for one,” she said.

"The experts agree that one house could be built in 12 months, whereas the proposed development would take 21 months.

"Our factual witnesses detail how disruptive construction work on the Ridgeway has been – and will be – to residents due to the layout and nature of the estate.

"This will be heightened in the case of Birch Mead due to its particular location on the estate."

Terence said he and his family have "lost touch with people" due to discord over their plans, despite having lived on the estate for ten years.

But Ms Settler pointed out that socialising had been curtailed due to Covid, also noting the couple had been invited to Jubilee and Coronation street parties.

Terence agreed they had gone to both events, adding: "We made a point of wanting to go because I don’t think this is a personal issue and we wanted to be there because we felt we should be.

'The Wine Society'

"But all that day, I was watching to make sure that Emma wasn’t on her own – and it wasn’t what it should have been."

The barrister said that no one had stopped the couple socialising.

But Terence said his wife was no longer part of "the wine society", nor having "conversations at the gate" or "summer picnics with people".

"That’s the real relationship which has stopped and that’s because of the way that this has been handled."

He added: "Certainly we felt ostracised. The last two years have been extremely difficult for us."

George Woodhead, representing the couple, highlighted projects carried out by other residents – with most of the 47 houses "extended, rebuilt or improved" at some point.

He added: "There is a strong sense of 'nimbyism', 'pulling up the ladder' and hypocrisy to the position adopted by some members of the company.

Mr Woodland also pointed to how not all residents were against the plans.

He said the motives for the development are "commendable" and focus on family rather than money.

The couple have also offered compensation for any damage done, he said, while the works would only take place between 8am and 6pm on weekdays and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays.

But Ms Settler said the couple’s project goes beyond anything in the past, alleging that many on the estate felt a “particular concern about multiple dwellings”.

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If it fails to get an injunction banning use of the access roads for the project, she asked the judge to award £80,000 in compensation from the McGuinness'.

Judge Simon Monty has reserved his decision in the case, which has already racked up "tens of thousands" in lawyers' bills.

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