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This really awkward neighbour situation - WWYD?

(5 Posts)
dappledawn Thu 05-Sep-13 10:00:42

Elderly neighbour has decided that we are his enemies! (This against a background of what we'd considered a hitherto very friendly relationship). This makes daily contact sad and awkward, as he now completely blanks us and refuses to return friendly greetings etc......

Background: He's lived there for yonks; we are relative newcomers. But when, last year, he put in a misguided planning application to develop land he owns opposite (a proposal which had very little chance of approval, for multiple reasons, and which would have had a devastating impact on our own and other neighbouring properties) - when we were consulted by the council for our views on this, we very reluctantly felt we had to object - for many very sound reasons, too long to go into here (Suffice it to say similar proposals from him, and others, had been turned down several times in the past). We debated long and hard before submitting our reasons for objection, and before it was publicly posted online, did him the courtesy of a personal visit last year, to forewarn and try to explain to him politely why we'd (very sadly) had to do this, knowing he wouldn't be happy about it. - He went ballistic at us then, and has- since then - clearly blamed US, soley and directly, for the refusal of planning permisison which unsurprisingly, followed in due course. We were by no means the only objectors, but we live nearest to him so get the full force of his ire.

Now it makes me very sad that he has turned this - from his end - into a 'feud'. We don't want a fallout. He was bereaved last year, before he put in this plan, and clearly expected this to gain him extra sympathy and support (ofwhich we had previously offered plenty).. Now he seems to enjoy rebuffing our attempts to make peace and reach out to him, by ignoring our 'good mornings' etc - Should we allow his attitude to turn us into equally grumpy enemies, or should I persevere in chirping daily greetings to him just as if I was unaware of his obvious continuing fury at us over this? (It is over 8 months BTW since this all blew up but he clearly seems incapable of 'forgiving' us for what would almost certainly have happened anyway even if we'd said nothing). Would love some advice!

TakeItAsRed Thu 05-Sep-13 10:10:12

After 8 months, he is patently not going to thaw so I would stop being active in your attempts to patch this up and simply offer a polite nod if you happen to cross paths.

You don't mention that he has taken this to a level of interfering with any of your property, so it isn't a 'feud' which is causing problems beyond an uncomfortable silence. You just need to ignore, and carry on life as though he were not there.

Although, given that he is elderly I might be inclined to keep a watchful eye, from the silent distance.

Frangepani Thu 05-Sep-13 11:02:34

Would it help to write a note saying you're sorry that relations have become strained and that, as you live next door and see each other regularly, it would be good if you could start afresh and acknowledge each other? Although your behaviour has been entirely reasonable, alluding to the back story might just antagonise him and he'll probably stick to his version of events forever more!

Being in this sort of situation is horrible - our next door neighbour can be a grump, and has had run-ins with folk in the area. She made things difficult for us for a while years ago: I politely stood my ground regarding the 'dispute', after which she was a bit off for a while but I kept saying hello when I saw her, and she did start speaking again. Things have been okay since.

Saying that, a very dear friend of mine and her husband had problems with their next door neighbour over a planning application a few years ago. The neighbour made comments on a public site which were misleading to say the least and tried to stir things up generally. The application went through, and the neighbour continued to be difficult - having a go at the builders and so on. My friend tried writing a note with an invitation to come through for coffee - but it was met with disdain and the neighbour still doesn't speak. From what I've heard, this person could 'make trouble in an empty room' and seems to thrive on being pugnacious. But at least my friend knows she did what she could to try and resume cordial relations!

HormonalHousewife Thu 05-Sep-13 11:10:24

It isnt just your objection to the PP that caused the development to be refused, there would have been a minimum of 3 (depends on council) others who also objected, but of course, you know that.

Old people can be difficult and he is by the sounds of things having a particularly bad time of it recently.

I would just keep on with the politeness, a cheery 'Good morning' and not make any attempt to make any further conversation. You have the moral high ground, and look as if this is all in the past and is not affecting you one jot. He on the otherhand and his enjoyment of rebuffing you will be winding him up inside.

(Normally I am a very kind person and I do actually volunteer with age concern... but sometimes old people can be so AAghhh !!!! )

dappledawn Thu 05-Sep-13 11:36:47

Thanks everyone for all your input so far, your comments and ideas have been much appreciated. Staying polite/ at least courteous, to the neighbour, must continue to be important from our end. I sense that he is trying to manipulate us in some way so that we start to reflect his own behaviour back to him - hence ramping it all up a bit, making us look like the worse offender. I take the point about keeping a wary eye on him from a distance, in case he ever really needs our help - which of course we would give, though he would really loathe being beholden to us in any way now!

It's a rather sad insight into his former marked friendliness, which in retrospect now looks as if he was merely buttering us up, so that we would have no option but to be on side when it came to his application. As he has loads of local friends and contacts in the community - having lived around here for so long - it's also unpleasant to know that he will have been bad-mouthing us to a wide range of people since then....I have noticed a few attitudes changing towards us since this all started.

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