A RETIRED businessman angered his neighbors by expanding his house into a church graveyard.
Charles Ryan, 73, demolished and rebuilt the back wall along with some godstones while renovating his house – but has since been fined £100,000 after being ordered to tear it down .
Locals in the village of Quebec, County Durham, have expressed outrage at the former concrete company owner’s construction work, which they say “insults” the historic St John the Baptist Church cemetery.
Several residents have complained to the council about an extension to his £250,000 period home as Charles has only applied for planning permission from retroactively, Online email report.
Officials have since ordered him to demolish his garage conversion and rebuild the 11ft cemetery wall by the summer of 2022, at an estimated cost of £100,000.
Police are also investigating the alleged damage to the tombstone after it sparked a police investigation.
Charles claimed the extension was for “health and safety reasons” as he and his wife are both in their 70s.
He also asserted that the wall had “collapsed”, and that the project was completed two years ago but only made headlines until now after the tree felling made the wall visible.
But John Nicholson, who lives in nearby Willington, was distraught after the gravestones of his grandparents were allegedly damaged by construction work.
He said: “I am writing to register an objection to the zoning application of Mr. Ryan, who has caused damage to the cemetery wall and insulted many graves.
“One of the graves was damaged, which we hope is the final resting place of both my grandparents, who were laid to rest together in a grave adjacent to the cemetery.
“Their stele is now lying face down on the ground after construction work gets underway.
“It’s hard to believe that someone would be so disrespectful as to tear down a cemetery wall and ruined graves.”
Another neighbour, who did not wish to be named, told MailOnline: “He completely ignored the planning rules and acted with complete disrespect to others in the village.
“He pissed off a lot of people but now he’s lost in court. He has to take it all off and I collect that he won’t get any change from £100.00.”
Geoff Paul, Durham County Council’s interim head of housing and development, told The Sun Online: “The application for retrospective planning was denied on the grounds that the zoning was not sympathetic to the character and size of the site. appearance of the area and has resulted in the loss of the historic structure of the stone boundary wall, undermining its traditional character.
“The proposal does not preserve or enhance the meaning and setting of the adjoining old church, which is a heritage property.
“A zoning enforcement notice was issued requiring the extension to be demolished and the rock wall separating the property and the old church to be rebuilt within six months of May 1. 2 year 2022.
“The applicant has the right to appeal against the denial of the application and the notice of enforcement.”
A Durham Police spokesman added: “Police received reports of damage to a wall and graves at the cemetery of St John the Baptist Church, on Front Street, Quebec.
“Reports were made to the police on September 13 this year, and an investigation is underway into the circumstances surrounding the damage.”
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/17136444/neighbour-fury-house-extension-church-graveyard/ Neighbors angry after man expands house into GRAVEYARD . church