A BUILDER has withdrawn his threat to demand £74,000 from residents after they objected to a development near their homes.
Gordon Powell of Raith Developments sent the demand to residents of Thornton, Fife, after they helped stop his plan for 12 nearby flats.
The residents lived in homes built by Mr Powell and a clause in their missives prevented them from objecting to new developments by him in the area.
But after a public backlash to his threat, Mr Powell revealed on Wednesday night that he was backing down.
Speaking at his large, detached home in nearby Kirkcaldy, he said: “It’s not being pursued anymore. There is a legal missive in their title deeds which states that they agreed not to make any objections.
“So this is a breach of conditions but as I said I will not be taking this any further after the reaction to it.”
One of the affected residents, who asked not to be named, said: “I am 74 and I have a neighbor who is 80. This type of threatening correspondence is beyond belief. I contacted my lawyer immediately, who said it was nonsense and would be laughed out of court.”
Another recipient of the shocking letter said: “Apparently in the missives of our original agreement when we bought the house, it said we could not make any objection to future planning applications.
Another, who also wanted to remain anonymous, said: “Mr Powell said he was going to sue nine of is for objecting to it unless we paid the money within 21 days. But my lawyer has since told me that is absolute nonsense and that he can’t do that.
“The application wasn’t even refused on the basis of our objection. It was refused because of other areas in the application itself.”
Local councillor, Ross Vettriano, said he was “lost for wards” after the resident passed the letter along to him.
Mr Vettriano said: “Like this resident, I am lost for words. It seems to me irrespective of what it may say in the missives, that members of the public cannot be held accountable for a decision taken by the council.”
Earlier this month (3 OCT), the planning proposal was rejected by Fife Council which ruled that the new build would have been “out of scale and out of character” with neighboring houses.