Neighbors’ dispute over ocean view escalates after another ‘malicious’ move

An elderly couple is threatening court action against their neighbors who erected a two meter high fence in front of their home, intensifying the already fraught relationship after shipping containers and derelict cars were placed there to block their oceanfront view.

The dispute between John and Judy Dewar, aged 81 and 77, and their neighbors Simon Bicknell and Carol McLennan over a small strip of land in front of the Dewars’ home owned by their neighbors has been ongoing for years.

After plans of swapping the ownership of the small strip went awry, shipping containers, old car bodies and tarps were placed in front of the Dewars’ home in Napier, New Zealand and the situation has gone from bad to worse, with the fence now causing further tension, Stuff reports.

The fence appeared at the end of March and the couple claim it blocks their view more than the shipping containers and other items they had.

The two couples have already gone to court over the shipping containers and old car bodies and despite the judge calling the act “malicious” and acknowledging the placement was “clearly a thought on the part of Mr Bicknell that he could bring pressure on the Dewars” , it was determined no action was required as there is “no actionable nuisance for obstruction of a view”.

However, the elderly couple are taking legal action once again, with this differing from the previous one as earlier action was taken under common law and referred to nuisance.

They have now reportedly made contact with their neighbors through their lawyer and advised Bicknell and McLennan that the fence breached the Property Law Act — a law which allows the court to order a land owner to remove a structure from their land if it unduly obstructs a neighbor’s view, interfered with the reasonable use and enjoyment of the neighbor’s land or posed a risk to their neighbor’s health.

The Dewars are urging their neighbors to remove the fence and other items between their home and the sea and are even willing to pay for the costs of removal. However, if this is not carried out the couple has threatened court proceedings to have it forcibly removed.

It has since been reportedly confirmed that the shipping containers and car bodies will be removed, yet there is no indication whether the fence will be removed at this stage.

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