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Clifftop couple’s tunnel vision sends neighbours to edge of despair

The Clifftop couple’s tunnel vision drives neighbors to despair: homeowners want to build an underground passage to a balcony on the Isle of Wight coast

  • With its position on the sea and its own viewing platform on the cliffs, it is already enviable
  • Nevertheless, the owners want to build an underground tunnel from the house to the platform
  • Richard and Karen Dance have applied for planning permission for it on the Isle of Wight
  • But neighbors accused the Dances of treating the village “like a playground.”

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With its seafront position and its own clifftop viewing platform with spectacular vistas, it is already an enviable holiday home.

But one thing is missing as far as the owners, Richard and Karen Dance, are concerned: an underground tunnel from the house to the panoramic platform.

So the wealthy couple have applied for planning permission to build one – and it’s gotten under the skin of some neighbors on the Isle of Wight.

With Its Seafront Position And Its Own Clifftop Viewing Platform With Spectacular Vistas, It Is Already An Enviable Holiday Home

With its seafront position and its own clifftop viewing platform with spectacular vistas, it is already an enviable holiday home

But One Thing Is Missing As Far As The Owners, Richard And Karen Dance, Are Concerned: An Underground Tunnel From The House To The Panoramic Platform.

But One Thing Is Missing As Far As The Owners, Richard And Karen Dance, Are Concerned: An Underground Tunnel From The House To The Panoramic Platform.

But one thing is missing as far as the owners, Richard and Karen Dance, are concerned: an underground tunnel from the house to the panoramic platform.

They have accused the Dances, who are both in their 50s, of treating the village of Sandown, famous for its golden beaches and beautiful bay on the south coast of the island, ‘like a playground’. Some locals fear the “extravagant” plan could damage the cliff and also undercut property prices.

Proposals submitted to planners show that Mr Dance wants to build the ‘unique’ 7.5 meter underground passage from the basement of their detached house, under the front garden and to the platform overlooking the bay.

When the house was built in the early 1900s, a tunnel was partially dug to the platform, but access to the house was never completed. Company executives Mr and Mrs Dance, who run a series of convenience stores and live in Brockenhurst in Hampshire’s New Forest, bought their Isle of Wight holiday home in 2013 for £470,000. Its value is now estimated at £650,000.

They want to expand the basement and build a new tunnel connecting it to the existing part. The filing says that “the proposal is essentially a domestic extension” with the goal of “completing the passageway as originally intended in the 1920s.”

When The House Was Built In The Early 1900S, A Tunnel Was Partially Dug To The Platform, But Access To The House Was Never Completed. Company Executives Mr And Mrs Dance, Who Live In Brockenhurst In Hampshire'S New Forest, Bought Their Isle Of Wight Holiday Home In 2013 For £470,000. It Is Now Valued At £650,000

When The House Was Built In The Early 1900S, A Tunnel Was Partially Dug To The Platform, But Access To The House Was Never Completed. Company Executives Mr And Mrs Dance, Who Live In Brockenhurst In Hampshire'S New Forest, Bought Their Isle Of Wight Holiday Home In 2013 For £470,000. It Is Now Valued At £650,000

When the house was built in the early 1900s, a tunnel was partially dug to the platform, but access to the house was never completed. Company executives Mr and Mrs Dance, who live in Brockenhurst in Hampshire’s New Forest, bought their Isle of Wight holiday home in 2013 for £470,000. It is now valued at £650,000

The entrance to the old tunnel is 10 meters from the property and is ‘not visible from a public vantage point’. You have to know it’s there to see it,” the plans say.

The proposed tunnel will result in “an unusual feature for users of the house” and there would be “no physical impact above ground other than the skylight used to provide natural lighting from the tunnel.”

It has led to fierce debate and divided opinion in the usually quiet parish.

The Isle of Wight Council, which will decide whether the tunnel can be built, received six comments objecting to it and six supporting it, the website showed. The public consultation ended on Friday.

Neighbor Irmgard Keen, 66, a retired care assistant who objects, said: ‘Such a project is used as a playground by people who don’t live here permanently and [could cause] harm the community that lives here.

1670193527 350 Clifftop Couples Tunnel Vision Sends Neighbours To Edge Of Despair

1670193527 350 Clifftop Couples Tunnel Vision Sends Neighbours To Edge Of Despair

“They’re better off spending that money supporting the cliff… Some people don’t know what to do with their money.” She and her husband Chris, 65, a retired computer software worker, are trying to sell their home and fear the tunnel will devalue nearby properties. Mr. Keen said, “It just seems like an extravagance… Like a gamble for an unnecessary reason.”

Lake Parish Council says the tunnel could affect the stability of the cliffs and has recommended that the application be denied.

But the Dances’ construction engineering consultants, Such Salinger Peters, argue that the tunnel would improve the cliff’s stability, as it is built with steel-reinforced poured concrete, masonry and waterproof membranes.

Geoff Long, a geologist who lives a few houses away, said, “Why wouldn’t someone want to do something nice on their property? … Can’t we be a little kinder about this?”

Mr. Dans declined to comment.

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Jacky

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