A North Shore man plans to take Auckland Council to court for permitting his neighbours to build a home extension that gave them views into his swimming pool from a bedroom.

Charles Li, 50, who lives at Regal Place in Forrest Hill, feels his privacy has been lost.

The Holderness family, which owns and lives in the house next door to Li, applied for a building consent to extend their house in 2013.

It was determined by Auckland Council that no resource consent was required based on the information they provided.


But during construction, Li and his wife Elsa Wu complained to the council that the extension appeared to exceed the District Plan's height rules.

Council compliance officers investigated and found that the height did exceed what was allowed by 22cm.

Ian Dobson, the council's manager resource consents north west, said the applicants' registered surveyor confirmed the extent of the breach as 220mm reducing to zero over approximately 2 metres in length.

"Once the infringement was confirmed, a letter was sent to the owners outlining their options to bring the matter into compliance," Dobson said.

"One of those was to obtain resource consent approval for the infringement."

A resource consent was applied for and subsequently granted on a non-notified basis.

Dobson said the council's compliance file was later closed as the infringement "had been authorised by resource consent".

Li said he was "outraged" when he learned that the council had issued the consent.


"Our neighbours broke the rules and we found out the problem for council, but I feel that we are the ones being slapped," Li said.

"I feel so angry and also feel that such a huge injustice has been done."

Li and his wife then applied at the Environment Court for an enforcement order seeking alteration of the building.

View of Charles Li's Forrest Hill property from his neighbour's extension. Photo/Michael Craig
View of Charles Li's Forrest Hill property from his neighbour's extension. Photo/Michael Craig

Following mediation, Li withdrew the application and costs were awarded against him.

"We withdrew after realising that the Environment Court would not have the power to order the building to be removed," he said.

Li, who represented himself during the proceedings, said he now planned to take the council to the High Court.

Lawyer John Armstrong, acting for the Holderness family, said a minor height to boundary miscalculation was made when the plans for the extension was prepared.

"This error was not picked up during the building consent process, so resulted in minor height to boundary infringement at the point where the new extension joined the original house," Armstrong said.

"When this was discovered, a retrospective resource consent was applied for, and was ultimately obtained, because the council concluded that any potentially adverse effects were 'less than minor'."

Armstrong said that all windows situated in the extension were "entirely compliant" with the relevant requirements.

"The now consented infringement does not and never has provided any 'views' of their neighbour's property," he added.