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NEO Bankside residents back in court over Tate Modern overlooking

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Residents of the Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners-designed NEO Bankside will return to court next week in the latest round of their bid to stop Tate Modern visitors peering into their flats

Five residents launched an appeal last year after losing a High Court battle in February 2019 to force Tate Modern to close part of the viewing platform on its Herzog & de Meuron-designed extension.

In their nuisance action, launched in 2017, the residents claimed their human rights were being breached, due to ‘near-constant surveillance’ from visitors to the gallery, which is on the south bank of the Thames in central London. They said gallery visitors looked into their homes and posted photographs and films on social media.

Justice Mann refused to grant the injunction and ruled that the residents had ‘created their own sensitivity’ by purchasing flats with floor-to-ceiling windows.

‘It would be wrong to allow this self-induced incentive to gaze, and to infringe privacy, and self-induced exposure to the outside world, to create a liability in nuisance,’ his judgment said.

However last summer the Court of Appeal granted permission for the residents to challenge the judgment and the case is set to be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice next Tuesday and Wednesday (21-22 January).

In its original claim, the residents of the 2015 RIBA Stirling Prize-shortlisted building said Tate Modern could ‘easily’ have stopped ‘this invasion of the claimants’ privacy and home life … at little or no cost’.

The residents also said that the intense degree of visual scrutiny did ‘not provide a safe or satisfactory home environment for young children’.

According to the court papers: ‘The defendants’ use of … part of its viewing platform [was] unreasonably interfering with the claimants’ enjoyment of their flats, so as to be a nuisance.’

Speaking about the residents’ appeal last year, solicitor Natasha Rees, partner and head of property litigation at legal firm Forsters, said: ‘The residents have been granted permission to appeal on the ground that the judge was wrong in law in deciding that the Tate was not liable in nuisance.’

Both the Tate and the residents were approached for comment.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Well if people have enough money to buy a flat in Neo Bankside they have enough money to pursue legal action with no legal basis. I am sure its good for the circular economy or something.

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