Neighbours’ conflict sullies new home dream

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Rhonda and John Bridgham wait to move into their dream home, but want to settle an ongoing dispute with their new neighbours.
Camera IconRhonda and John Bridgham wait to move into their dream home, but want to settle an ongoing dispute with their new neighbours. Credit: Jon Gellweiler / South Western Times

An ongoing feud between neighbours is taking its toll on two Bunbury families.

The privacy debate between Picton Crescent homeowners John and Rhonda Bridgham and Stephen Scott-Higgins and his family reached boiling point last week when Bunbury City Council considered the matter.

The Bridghams have built their “dream home” which they are yet to move into, but the Scott-Higgins claim screening should be installed because the newly-built home’s alfresco area looks into a child’s bedroom.

The Bridghams deny there is a direct view into any window of the house.

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Council officers agree that an upper-level bi-fold door screening is not required because Mr Scott-Higgins’ house is set back further than the minimum 6m building line.

Mr Scott-Higgins presented a deputation to the council last week saying he “adamantly” opposed the request from his neighbours not to install screening as it would allow vision directly into the bedroom.

“Morally and ethically, this alone should be grounds to then dismiss this motion as the privacy of a young girl ... is my greatest concern,” Mr Scott Higgins said.

But Mr Bridgham says some details in Mr Scott-Higgins’ claims are untrue and there is no direct view into any window of the home.

Mrs Bridgham told the South Western Times that the entire incident was disheartening and insulting.

“I never thought I’d be so disheartened in my life – we don’t want to minimalise their concerns, but it’s just insulting,” Mrs Bridgham said.

Mr Bridgham said the matter had taken its toll on the couple, who were happy to sit down and discuss it with their new neighbours but had not been afforded the chance.

“You have the designer, Gary Fitzgerald (builder and town planner) and senior planners saying it complies with the R-codes – it should be simple,” Mr Bridgham said.

The council last week deferred the matter and is expected to reconsider it next week.

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