Retiree infuriates neighbours by extending house over local cemetery headstones

A man has been ordered to demolish his newly-built back wall, and pay a £100,000 bill, after building it in a cemetery.

Charles Ryan, 73, built his new extension into a next-door church graveyard, and violated a row of headstones in the process.

But locals in the village of Quebec, Country Durham – which is just a 20 minute drive from Toronto, Bishop Auckland – were seething at the actions of the man, who they claim has “desecrated” the neighbouring St John the Baptist Church cemetery.

Residents took to their local council, and found that Mr Ryan had only applied for planning permission after he had completed the work, and he has now been ordered to knock down his garage conversion and rebuild the 11ft-long cemetery wall by the summer of 2022, the Daily Mail reports.

And it'll cost him the eye-watering sum of £100,000 to do it.

The police are now involved, due to the damage caused to the headstones, but Mr Ryan claims the work was completed more than two years ago, due to “health and safety reasons” pertaining to his and his wife's health.

Geoff Paul, Durham County Council’s interim head of housing and development, told The Sun Online: “The retrospective planning application was refused on the grounds that the development is not sympathetic to the character and appearance of the area and has resulted in the loss of the historic fabric of the stone boundary wall, damaging its traditional character.

“The proposal fails to conserve or enhance the significance and setting of the adjacent former church, which is a heritage asset.

“A planning enforcement notice has been issued which requires the extension to be demolished and the stone boundary wall between the property and the former church to be rebuilt within six months of February 1, 2022.

“The applicant does have a right of appeal against the refusal of the application and the enforcement notice.”

And a Durham Police spokesman said: “Police received a report of damage to a wall and graves at the graveyard of St John the Baptist Church, on Front Street, Quebec.

“The report was made to police on September 13 this year, and investigation is ongoing into the circumstances surrounding the damage.”

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