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Judge puts the squeeze on neighbours

Judge puts the squeeze on neighbours

An innovative and perhaps slightly eccentric federal court judge is quickly perfecting the art of pissing off his neighbours by building a house with rather unusual dimensions.The Sydney Morning…

An innovative and perhaps slightly eccentric federal court judge is quickly perfecting the art of pissing off his neighbours by building a house with rather unusual dimensions.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Justice Dennis Cowdroy, ironically a former Land and Environment Court judge, has mad plans to erect a four-storey house which is only about as wide as a shipping container.

The building will be on a 2.7-metre wide block of land in Darlinghurst and was purchased by his company, Specialist Advocates, for a whopping sum of one dollar after paying all outstanding council rates.

The 48-square-metre chunk of land sits behind a row of terrace houses (most people would call it an alley way) and has been used as a "shared garden" for years by neighbours.

Needless to say, said neighbours are now furious about Cowdroy's plans (though Folklaw suspects it's because they didn't think of buying it first).

Cowdroy's company owns an adjacent property and he originally found the rightful owner of the land, John Cowper Robison, because his sewerage pipes run below Cowdroy's block.

Robison was granted a certificate of title to the land and subsequently sold it to Specialist Advocates for a buck. Specialist Advocates then paid about $14,000 in outstanding rates to the City of Sydney council.

Resident David Iacono told SMH that he was angry at the lack of consultation over the development, and claimed the council had told residents they would be informed if the land ever came up for sale.

If the house is built, Iacono will lose rear access to his property and he's concerned the building may not blend in with nearby heritage-listed houses and a set of sandstone steps dating back to the 1800s.

The 10 by 2.7-metre house, which is subject to a development application before the council, has a kitchen, dining and living rooms on the ground floor, with bedrooms and en suites on each of the three floors above.

Another cranky neighbour, architect Tom Monahan, said he thinks the development would violate planning rules and should not be allowed to go ahead.

And Monaghan is also concerned that those trying to enter the 'slim fit' house might end up with an injury. "You can't walk from one end of the room to the other without running into the table," he said.

Monahan also thinks the building will be too high, its floor space too large, and that it would breach the privacy of neighbouring properties.

Folklaw looks forward to the impending A Current Affair stoushes should the council approve it.

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