Residents of luxury development in Tate Modern privacy appeal after complaining of tourists being able to see into their flats

Josh Salisbury (23 January, 2020)

A hearing was held this week at the Court of Appeal over the Tate Modern privacy case

27884Residents of the luxury Neo Bankside development have lost an appeal in their case against the Tate Modern trustees

Residents of a luxury block of flats by the Tate Modern have launched a fresh legal bid to shut down its viewing platform over claims visitors can see into their homes.

The privacy case was dismissed by Mr Justice Mann last February at the High Court – who advised the claimants they could install net curtains.

All five claimants are residents of the luxury Neo-Bankside development, which is just metres away from the popular Tate Modern in parts.

They had sought an injunction to get the Tate to close part of its tenth-floor viewing platform or to erect screens.

Now they have appealed Mr Justice Mann’s decision to reject their case last year.

A hearing was held in the Court of Appeal this week, but no date has yet been set for the judgement.

In the original case, Mr Justice Mann said that while there was a material intrusion of privacy from tourists, there would be no claim if the properties had regular sized windows.

Tate Modern (Image: Fred Romero / CC.20)

“These properties are impressive, and no doubt there are great advantages to be enjoyed in such extensive glassed views, but that in effect comes at a price in terms of privacy,” he ruled.

Residents could lower the solar blinds present in each flat, install privacy film, or even install tall plants in the winter gardens to obscure the view, he said.

“[This] will, of course, detract from their living conditions, but not to an unacceptable degree,” he ruled.

“Looking at the overall balance which has to be achieved, the availability and reasonableness of such measures is another reason why I consider there to be no nuisance in this case.”

The claimants had complained of relentless intrusion from visitors to the popular attraction, saying they felt under constant surveillance.

One resident, Ian McFadyen, had complained that the “relentless intrusion” from tourists on the viewing platform – completed as part of an extension in 2016 – left him and his family feeling as if they were in a zoo.

His son, Alexander, claimed to have counted 84 people taking photographs into the apartment over a 90 minute period.

Another claimant, Claire Fearn, told the court that the first experience of people in the viewing gallery had left her “sick to the stomach.”

A further claimant told the court that she went to the gallery and overheard a visitor saying the “rich bastards” who lived in the flats deserved the intrusion.

The viewing platform was constructed as part of an extension to the Tate completed in 2016.

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