ANGRY residents say their privacy has been invaded after a developer behind the building of new retirement flats in Southsea decided to pull down the wall at the back of their gardens.
Neighbours in Alhambra Road claim McCarthy & Stone gave them barely any warning before its workers ripped down the barrier around the former Savoy buildings site behind their homes.
A row erupted over who owned the wall, with residents reporting the firm to the police for criminal damage.
McCarthy & Stone – which won a planning appeal last year to build the controversial flats on the strip of land formerly owned by ex-Pompey boss Harry Redknapp – says it is perfectly entitled to carry out the job as the wall is part of its development and has been declared structurally unsafe.
But neighbours are fuming with the company’s attitude.
Ann Curtis, 70, of Alhambra Road, said: ‘This is leaving the gardens exposed and anyone would just be able to come by and potentially rob us.
If it had taken a completely different approach and had said “you are the neighbours, this is our plans, we want to work with you and the community” then that would have been fine. But what we have received through emails, has been insulting.Alhambra Road resident
‘We are vulnerable. I cannot understand why this is being done.
‘This wall has been here for years and survived all sorts of storms.
‘I have told the company it is not allowed to do this. We haven’t given permission.’
Another resident, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘McCarthy & Stone’s conduct has been unneighbourly.
‘If it had taken a completely different approach and had said “you are the neighbours, this is our plans, we want to work with you and the community” then that would have been fine. But what we have received through emails, has been insulting.
‘One of the emails basically said; “we are the owners, and we have the right to do what we like”.’
Construction is to begin in April.
A planning inspector approved the scheme, despite initially being thrown out by Portsmouth City Council due to concerns over the design of the development.
Daniel Perfect, land director for McCarthy & Stone’s south east region, said: ‘Following the advice from our structural engineers, we’ve taken the decision to remove the boundary wall.
‘Plans are being reviewed to assess what boundary treatment will be put back in place. We’ve endeavoured to minimise the impact of the work on local residents by implementing a number of measures.
‘After writing to our neighbours in January to inform them of our intentions, we have also appointed a Party Wall Surveyor and offered a schedule of condition to all of the properties.
‘We would like to thank residents for their continued patience and understanding whilst we carry out this work.’