The man who sparked a series of court battles over a controversial fence blocking million-dollar views of the Wellington Harbour says if his neighbours wanted views they shouldn't have bought a back section.
David Walmsley said the neighbours to his Roseneath property never had a right to the stunning view, and said he was being denied privacy in his back yard.
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"It's a great view, it's just not theirs, they don't own it, like they don't own my car," he told the Herald.
"If you want front row, buy front row like everyone else in the world has to do."
Walmsley's family have owned the Carlton Gore Rd property since the 1960s, and for many years their private lawn overlooking the harbour was shielded by trees and a tall fence. The fence was pulled down some years ago.
Later an apartment block was built in the section behind the property, with a patio built up to the boundary.
Peter and Sylvia Aitchison bought the ground-level apartment, which Walmsley said did not have the view when they moved in.
He said they "created" the view by cutting 4m trees on his property, and rejected claims the Aitchisons only trimmed overhanging branches.
There are no trees there any more.
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Walmsley tried to rebuild the fence in 2011 but was made to pull it down after being told it did not meet District Plan standards.
In 2015, he put up a children's play structure instead, which was not subject to the same rules as a fence.
The matter has been through numerous court cases - with the fence being pulled down in 2016 - but the most recent hearing was last week when Walmsley sought leave to appeal a High Court decision not to recall an earlier judgment on the $72,500 in legal costs he was made to pay to the Aitchisons.
"We have had our property smashed up and our money taken and obviously we are going to see if we can get that back," he said, though he was unsure what further options he had through the courts.
Speaking today from the Roseneath property, which is currently tenanted, Walmsley said the value of their previously private back lawn outweighed the value of the views the Aitchisons now had.
When questioned about the fact the fence was particularly imposing on the neighbours, he said that was an "interesting" point.
"It's almost like they have designed the property to be imposed on by stuff we do in our place."
He said the Aitchisons did not have a right to views, and pointed to a line in a decision by the Environment Court that acknowledged the District Plan "does not guarantee views".
"There is ongoing potential for views from the Aitchison property to be diminished by other permitted development on the Walmsley property," the decision said.
The former privacy of the lawn was particularly valuable in that area of Wellington, Walmsley said.
"What is the real value of that private lawn? I would suggest that it's worth millions because it's so unique and special."
His mother, Heather Walmsley, said they had always had privacy on their lawn.
"I would like to be able to sit in the privacy as we always did. My dad always had privacy on the back lawn and he was a very private, quiet person. Like him, I like to be peaceful and quiet and enjoy the privacy with my two little grandsons," she said.
David Walmsley said while the play structure was built for privacy, he had also been planning to move his family back into the property so his children could play on the fort.
Since the "trouble" with the court cases, he had decided not to move back in for the time being.
Walmsley also believed it was unfair he should have to pay the $72,500 costs, given the process of building the play structure was overseen by the Wellington City Council and he had done everything "by the book" and checked what the requirements were.
The Aitchisons have previously said the fence or play structure had devalued their home by at least $900,000.
Back when it all began, Peter Aitchison said the fence made the couple feel "claustrophobic" in their own home.
"With Wellington as it is, houses are built on hills so what happened to us could happen to anyone," he said.