Amid the smart, beachfront homes on Marine Drive a storm is brewing.

Attempts by a couple to build a loft conversion on their bungalow to secure them a sea view has led to an unseemly row among neighbours.

As tensions rise, accusations are flying that "interlopers" are moving to Caister-on-Sea and turning its traditional bungalows into bigger houses.

Eastern Daily Press: The next door neighbour's dormer extensionsThe next door neighbour's dormer extensions (Image: Owen Sennitt)

Barbara Fruish and her husband recently relocated to the village from Norwich. Their home faces the beach but the dunes block views of the sea from their single-storey property.

They applied for permission to create a dormer extension so they could get a glimpse of the North Sea from their bedroom window.

Eastern Daily Press: The home that is battling to get its sea viewThe home that is battling to get its sea view (Image: Owen Sennitt)

Five of the 11 properties in the road already have similar extensions - including the Fruishes' direct neighbours.

But Great Yarmouth Borough Council decided to block the application, saying it would create a "harm" to the character of the street.

READ MORE: Roof extension bid refused by council

Eastern Daily Press: A view across Caister beachA view across Caister beach (Image: Owen Sennitt)

The decision frustrated the couple - especially given the number of other neighbouring conversions - and they have lodged an appeal with the secretary of state to overturn it.

But many people living nearby remain vehemently opposed, with criticism from some that people are moving into the coastal area, which has many compact bungalows, and changing its character by extending their properties.

READ MORE: Landscaping business loses bid to keep site built without permission

Eastern Daily Press: The existing dormer extensions from the rearThe existing dormer extensions from the rear (Image: Owen Sennitt)

One objector wrote to the council, saying "Please take in that all the interlopers are buying bungalows and turning them into houses. These are not local people, they are all from far away."

Another neighbour, who lived behind the Fruishes on Marram Drive but did not want to be named, said: "The extension at the back would be a total invasion of their space.

"It will mean they could see right into our living room and we worry it could devalue our property. Sometimes I like to lay out in the garden and sunbathe but I'd have to stop that. It's not on."

Eastern Daily Press: People walking their dogs along Marine DrivePeople walking their dogs along Marine Drive (Image: Owen Sennitt)

Joan Covington, who has lived in her home next door for 11 years added: "I don't want them looking over our garden - I often have my grandchildren running around it."

"It's not fair on people. It's not nice being overlooked" said another woman living behind, who has had her living room doors altered so people can't see in.

Eastern Daily Press: The entrance to Marine DriveThe entrance to Marine Drive (Image: Owen Sennitt)

In the Fruishes' appeal to the secretary of state, they have questioned why their scheme was turned down when almost half the properties on the street have been allowed to get their sea view.

Just months before their application, the same planning officer approved an extension for a home a few doors down that even included a balcony.

Eastern Daily Press: A new loft extension in Marine DriveA new loft extension in Marine Drive (Image: Owen Sennitt)

The couple fear that an intervention by Caister councillor and current Great Yarmouth Borough Council mayor Penny Carpenter could have affected the decision. 

She wrote a letter to the planning department highlighting that a similar extension at a property in nearby Second Avenue had received complaints after it was completed.

READ MORE: Controversial estate moves step closer

In her appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, Mrs Fruish said: "I believe this may have had an influence on the decision in a negative way."

The couple will now have to wait to find out whether or not they will overturn the decision.


Caister-on-Sea gets its name from the Latin word Castra, which means fortress, as it was once a base for the Romans, who built a shore fort there in 200AD.

Nearly two millennia later, it went on to be home to the first holiday camp in the UK - originally known as Caister Socialist Camp and offering breaks for workers from London.

Its popularity as a seaside destination has continued to draw visitors and expand.

Since the 1960s, Caister-on-Sea has grown quickly and this looks set to continue with plans for more than 650 homes to be built in the coming years.