Southend Council officials have admitted that they have been forced to intervene after an argument over a £50 plastic kids playhouse has threatened to spiral out of control. Joanna and Michael Lucas of Swallows Road, Chalkwell, purchased the fun garden feature for their son William who is nearly two years old, and their neighbour Roger Routledge has accused them of constructing an unauthorised dwelling on their property – Mr and Mrs Lucas insist that Mr Routledge has become violent over the issue on a number of occasions. 

Proud dad Michael said: ‘Roger has always said that our son creates too much noise when he is playing in the garden, and it seems that our new playhouse has pushed him over the edge this time. We woke up a few days ago to find a brown paper bag of dog excrement inside it, and there is only one person that could have managed to throw it through the window! When he found out that we have number two on the way in August, he kept screaming through the wall about giving me a DIY vasectomy while I am asleep – this guy is clearly unhinged.’

We asked Mr Routledge for his side of the story, and he said: ‘They really are the family from hell. Their little devil spawn sits in that plastic monstrosity for anything up to three hours per day during the warm weather, and so surely it counts as an unauthorised dwelling that breaches planning regulations. He shouldn’t even have his car parked next to it as I ran the number plate through the DVLA website – it’s not taxed or registered on there! I have nothing against having young children in a quiet area of town, but the family are only renting and homeowners such as myself have a legal right to a bit of peace and quiet. I don’t see why the young boy can’t be kept indoors.’

A council spokesperson said: ‘We are currently investigating Mr Routledge’s complaint, and if we conclude that the playhouse is actually an unplanned dwelling then we will be obliged to take further action.’


  1. An entertaining SNN story where the biggest issue (for those really suffering such offensive and threatening neighbours who by their actions are causing distress) is harassment as defined by the Harassment Act 1999.