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More Money, More Problems
So, it looks like you've made it. You're holed up in a prestigious postcode, your kids are in the catchment area of a fantastic school, and you rub shoulders with the rich and famous every day.
Everything's going to be easy from now on, right?
Well, as one homeowner found out to her chagrin, more money often brings more problems.
The Price Of Pebbledash
Living on a street where houses routinely fetch in the region of, and over, £2 million, a whole new range of concerns suddenly sprout up.
Small, superficial changes could wipe thousands of pounds from the prices of your neighbours' homes.
Image by Brock Builders
We've talked about this problem before, in our guide to obtaining planning permission in Kent. The more expensive your neighbours' houses are, the more important it is that you discuss changes with them or else have a killer argument in favour of your planning application.
In this case, Ms. Willumsen's improvement of her house led to massive problems, with her neighbours objecting en masse as she replaced pebbledash with a smoother finish. This meant she had to replace all the pebbledash again, as a planning decision went against her.
When Cheap Is Cheerful
The problem (at least, the main problem) is that pebbledash has a unique place in history. It's a feature, and it's important to the culture of the area.
Pebbledash was originally an inexpensive way to cover up poor brickwork, during a time when brickwork often had to be rushed and pure quality in order to meet demand.
Despite the fact that it was originally seen as a marker of lower quality, its economic background makes it a modern marker of authenticity. Pebbledash gives the house, and thus the street, greater character. This is what made the neighbours' objections so weighty.
Taking Out Texture
Looking at the images the Daily Mail has provided, it looks as though there is a substantial change in how the house looks, and it's significant when you take into account the surrounding houses.
When every other house on the street looks textured and rough, redoing your house to look smooth and minimalist is less likely to end well.
It's arguably out of keeping with the rest of the street, even disregarding the unique history of pebbledash, and the role it played in enabling the house to be built in the first place.
What Do You Think?
This seems like a fair – or at least predictable! – decision, although of course the home owner would probably disagree.
To avoid decisions like this, try to get planning permission ahead of time and make sure your neighbours are on board with any changes you are making. If in doubt, you can always try a compromise.
What do you think about this decision? Get in touch with us on Twitter using the hashtag #pebbledash if you want to let us know.