AN EXTENSION built just 19 inches too high may have to be torn down because it blocks the sunlight from a neighbour’s kitchen.

Following a visit to the home, in the Gables, Eastwood, ward councillors raised major concerns the extension - 0.5 metres higher than the three metres allowed - is severely impacting the neighbour’s home.

Planning officers at Southend Council had originally recommended a retrospective planning application for approval, however councillors rejected it and voted to commence enforcement action.

Speaking at a meeting of the council’s development control committee on Wednesday, Jack Warren, Conservative councillor for Belfairs Ward, said: “The height of the extension is incredibly overbearing and sits within just a few feet of the neighbouring kitchen door. While this is not the sole source of light for the resident’s kitchen, the direction the sun rises and the position of the property mean the kitchen no longer receives any direct sunlight at any time of the day, at any time of the year.

“Even on the brightest days, the kitchen effectively remains in the dark due to this development and this will continue to get worse as the days become shorter. I believe the extension is too high. It’s incredibly overbearing on its immediate neighbour and reduces by quite a large proportion, the daylight and sunlight in this room.”

Prior approval under permitted development rights was granted for a single-storey rear extension at the home in 2023. The extension should have been 5.35m deep with a maximum height of 3m, but the flat roof is 0.5m higher than agreed.

Alan Dear, Conservative councillor for Belfairs Ward, added: “That extra half-a-metre makes quite a lot of difference. Before the extension was built they had quite a clear view of the sunrise, but now they’ve lost that. I was in that property and you need a light on in there at 10.30am.”

Laurie Burton, Labour councillor for Blenheim Park Ward, supported the application. He said: “I do think if I’m just viewing this as a pure application, not caring that it’s built, would I say ‘yes’? I think I probably would.

“I’ve had similar things in my ward where people do build things under permitted development and it does affect people’s light, but we have to be honest with people and say you don’t have a right to a well-lit kitchen.”

Councillors voted 12 to one in favour of refusing the application and for enforcement action to commence.