Ill man faces losing thousands over home improvements in battle with developer

Whistlewood Close house belonging to John Twidale. Picture by FRANK REID
Whistlewood Close house belonging to John Twidale. Picture by FRANK REID

Residents on a new Hartlepool estate have thrown their backing behind a neighbour in his battle with the developers over block paving.

John Twidale, 60, has been threatened with being taken to court by Gleeson Homes for block paving his front garden in Whistlewood Close.

John Twidale outside of his Whistlewood Close home. Picture by FRANK REID

John Twidale outside of his Whistlewood Close home. Picture by FRANK REID

As previously reported by the Mail, Mr Twidale decided to replace his front lawn with paving - at a cost of about £2,000 - because he has health problems and was finding gardening difficult.

But the developer says the work is unauthorised and want him to restore the garden.

The paving is still in place despite the February 28 deadline given by the developer having passed.

Now a petition started by one of Mr Twidale’s neighbour’s and backing his stance has been signed by about 60 people.

It calls on Gleeson to abolish a restrictive covenant which prevents them paving over lawns.

Mr Twidale said of the support: “I think it’s brilliant. Almost every house in the estate has signed it and people in Tanfield Road as well. It would cause a lot of havoc if I had to restore the garden again.”

The petition adds any suggestion block paving is unsightly and devalues properties is not shared by residents.

It claims Gleeson has itself attempted to pave over grassed areas on the development - and left building rubbish behind.

Mr Twidale bought his home outright about two years ago and was advised he did not need planning permission by for the paving by the council.

He has also written to town MP Iain Wright seeking support. In the letter Mr Twidale says: “I have asked Gleeson’s to consider the fact that I am not in the best of health and that I admired other properties on the estate having block paving fitted and thought this would be a low maintenance system that would take the effort of grass cutting and garden maintenance away from me.”

A spokesperson for Gleeson Homes said: “We have not received a copy of the petition and we are somewhat surprised as all the residents on our development agreed to abide by the restrictions when they purchased the homes.

“Our customers often call on us to enforce the restrictive covenants when their neighbours behave in an anti-social manner.

“We are not aware of any leftover building materials and rubbish on the site.”