Back garden observatory 'blinding' St Ives neighbour

Observatory dome Image copyright Melvyn Thurlbourn/Hunts DC
Image caption The dome is 3.6m (12ft) high and 2.7m (9ft) in diameter

A man who built an observatory in his back garden may have to tear it down after a neighbour complained the glare from it forces him to wear sunglasses in his own home.

Melvyn Thurlbourn put up the large white dome on his garden shed at his home in St Ives, Cambridgeshire.

However, when he applied for retrospective planning permission a neighbour objected saying he was being blinded by the glare.

The council refused the application.

Mr Thurlbourn erected the 2.7m-diameter (9ft) revolving white fibreglass dome on top of his shed two years ago.

He did not have planning permission, and his retrospective application has been refused by Huntingdonshire District Council, as the Hunts Post first reported.

Image copyright Melvyn Thurlbourn/Hunts DC
Image caption A neighbour said the glare from the dome meant he had to wear sunglasses inside his home

Commenting on the planning application, one neighbour said the white dome's "highly reflective glare" meant he could not enjoy time in his garden and added it "transmits into my house and is so bad that I cannot keep my curtains open unless I even wear sunglasses inside my own home".

The local civic society also objected. "In view of the height and stark appearance of the dome the society's view is the application is overbearing," it said.

Mr Thurlbourn's stargazing quest raised "no objection" from another neighbour and St Ives Town Council initially approved the application.

However, the district council said: "This type of development, while only for personal use of the applicant is not the type of structure you would normally expect to see in this residential location."

Mr Thurlbourn, who has appealed the decision, had offered to paint the dome and put up foliage to screen.

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