When applying for planning permission, it’s expected that nearby residents may object to any disruptive proposed changes.
Should this occur there is a process to follow - and it doesn’t tend to involve suing the neighbours for £74,000.
One builder didn’t get that memo, however.
When Raith Developments’ proposal to build 12 flats in the village of Thornton, Fife, was rejected, the company wrote to the nine residents who objected demanding more than £74,000 each for loss of earnings - £666,000 in total.
And if residents did not pay £74,100 each within 21 days, company director Gordon Powell threatened that legal action would be brought against them.
Not happy: Gordon Powell’s letter to the neighbours who objected (SWNS)
One angry homeowner, who did not want to be named, said he could not believe the company are threatening his fellow residents in this way.
He said: “I am 74 and I have a neighbour who is 80, and this type of threatening correspondence is beyond belief.
"I contacted my lawyer immediately, who said it was nonsense and would be laughed out of court.
"We were invited to lodge objections against this and we did so because of a noise issue relating to the A92 on our doorstep dating back a number of years.
"We didn’t make the decision to refuse the application, but we have been given these letters demanding this huge sum of money. It’s just beyond belief.”
The letters were posted through the residents’ doors early on Friday morning.
£74,000, please: Lawyers have advised that the letter has no legal standing (SWNS)
Local councillor, Ross Vettriano, said he was “lost for words”.
He added: “I understand that the issue between Raith Developments and those who objected to the planning application is a civil matter and falls to be dealt with by the objectors on that basis, but I think that the council has a locus in that it can advise the householder and the other objectors about their position in terms of the Town and Country Planning legislation.”
Councillor Vettriano confirmed that he passed the letter on to Steve Grimmond, Fife Council’s chief executive, for his advice.
He added: “It seems to me, irrespective of what it may say in the missives, that members of the public cannot be held accountable for a decision taken by the council - an autonomous corporate body.
"It would be good, therefore, if councils, when clarifying the position in terms of the planning legislation, would comment on that position as well.”
A spokesman for Fife Council said he did not want to comment further.
Raith Developments declined to comment on the matter.
Top image: SWNS