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Residents fight to preserve 'unique character' of Hempstead Road
Residents fear they are "being driven out of their homes" after a neighbour has put in plans to bulldoze his existing two houses in Watford and build nine flats, for the fifth time.
The proposals to build a block of nine flats, including parking in Hempstead Road, has been met with strong opposition by residents who claim they will lose their privacy, and the plans would have a "detrimental effect" on the area.
The application, put in by Godfrey Rees, the owner of the two houses has previously been refused four times and residents have vowed to fight against the application for a fifth time, while organising a petition.
Sally Overhead, who has lived in the street for six years and is behind the petition, says she and her husband Tom fell in love with the house, garden and the character of the road immediately. However the stress of the applications hanging over their heads is "overwhelming."
The couple, who live next door to the two properties, have five young children, including triplets who are 21 months old.
Mrs Overhead, who is a local businesswoman, said: "We enjoy living here and the children love playing out in the garden.
"Our privacy would also come under threat because the flats would overlook our garden and our children’s bedrooms.
"Since the applications have been put in we have been living under a black cloud, worried they will be passed.
"We had thought that by buying a house in an affluent area of Watford that it would be our forever home. We naively never considered that block of flats would be built next door.
"We want to preserve a road of unique character that we have lived in for many years and these flats would detrimentally affect Hempstead Road.
Mrs Overhead also worries a block of flats would attract young couples in to live instead of families, causing noise at inappropriate times and congestion because of the extra parking. The 35-year-old added: "This could drive us out of our home."
Another resident of Hempstead Road, Michelle Bhatti, says she is "sick and tired" of the plans for flats which she would look out to directly from her home.
Ms Bhatti who has lived in her home for 15 years and has a seven-year-old daughter, says she is "being driven out of her property" because of the huge development.
She said: "The mere size of the property does not fit the character within the immediate neighbouring properties.
"The houses have an individual character and style and it is very important that we keep our heritage for our future generation.
"These flats will attract young people with parking problems, noise, shouting and swearing, pollution, which will put extra burden on our small local area.
"I utterly and completely object to Mr Rees putting up nine flats, if he succeeds, others will follow him in due course."
To sign the petition visit www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/watford-council-planning-application-to-build-9-flats-at-site-106-108-hempstead-road.