A beautiful house? In the wrong place, is it still a beautiful house? It is said that a thing of beauty is a joy forever. Unfortunately, the house about which I write, is far from a joy to its neighbours in the southern part of Brantevik, in Skåne, Southern Sweden. It is an old house, built in the mid 1800s and, since autumn 2009, is in the process of being rebuilt. If one looks at the 'new' house in isolation, it could be said that it is beautiful. However, because of where it is located, it is not possible to do that. It is a semi-detatched house in an area with small access roads, and borders a preserved nature area.
It is not long since building regulations and practices in this area prevented major changes to the outside, and particularly to the street-side of old houses. These have been disregarded in the redesign and reconstruction of this beautiful house. The roof has been raised, an extension has been built at the front and right up against the boundary with the attached house, blocking light and view, and a small house has been built on the boundary line where normally construction is not allowed.
One of the terrible things about this beautiful house is that it has been built without respect to the process of appeal and objection by neighbours who are directly affected by it.
The owners are well versed in Construction laws and regulations - one is a director of a major construction company and the other is an architect. The architect worked with Simrishamn Kommune Architectural Office at the time she applied for and was granted permission to build. She told neighbours that she intented to build, despite the objections by neighbours directly affected that were still being processed, and that she was willing to take the consequences.
The tragedy is that the consequences for neighbours and for the beautiful area where we live, are likely to be much greater than for the owners.
How can this happen - in the 'perfect country', Sweden?