‘They brought it on themselves’ Neighbours hit back at ‘foolish enterprise’ of yoga teacher and catering boss husband who face selling their £1.5m home after losing planning row (and rubbish ‘lies’ they were ‘exiled’ by local wine society)
- EXCLUSIVE: Emma and Terrence McGuiness face selling £1.5m Surrey home
Neighbours have said a wealthy couple who face selling their £1.5million mansion on a private estate after losing a bitter planning row brought the ordeal on themselves.
Yoga teacher Emma McGuinness, 41, and her catering boss husband Terence McGuinness, 45, lost a court case in August over controversial plans to tear down their home.
The couple wanted to replace the property in Oxshott, Surrey, with two smaller houses, going against their private estates’ ‘one-plot-one-house’ policy.
But they lost their case – meaning they can’t tear down the house – and now face selling their home to pay the £150,000 legal bill they racked up during the battle.
Unsympathetic neighbours said they ‘brought it on themselves in a foolish enterprise’ and called the couples actions ‘misguided’, but said it wasn’t ‘personal’.
During the bitter court batter, Mr McGuinness claimed he and his wife had been excluded from their local wine society after launching their plans to alter their three-bedroom property Birch Mead.
But other homeowners at The Ridgeway estate, in the Surrey village of Oxshott, allege the ‘wine society’ referenced by Mr McGuinness in court did not exist.
They claimed the so-called society was merely a local WhatsApp group in which mothers would ask if others were free for an evening tipple.
Yoga teacher Emma McGuinness, 41, (left) and her catering boss husband Terence, 45, (right) lost a court case in August after planning to tear down their £1.5million home. The couple wanted to replace the property with two smaller houses which went against their private estates’ ‘one-plot-one-house’ policy
Mrs McGuinness (pictured) was formerly a competitive figure skater, but has now carved out a successful career as a teacher of trendy Bikram ‘hot’ yoga
Residents at The Ridgeway, in the Surrey village of Oxshott, now allege the ‘wine society’ referenced by Mr McGuinness did not exist. Pictured: Birch Mead
The pair claimed that they had been ‘shunned and ostracised’ and frozen out of the local wine society by ‘nimby’ neighbours on their exclusive estate.
But one baffled resident told MailOnline they were confused over Mr McGuinness’ claims they had been banished from a wine society over the row.
She said: ‘I have to say, I don’t know this “wine society” mentioned in the articles.’
Another woman living on the estate agreed with this, saying that ‘there was no wine society’ and the estate ‘never had any picnics’.
She said: ‘If it’s the case that they want to sell the house, its market value is more than £1.3million. That’s a lot of money.
READ MORE: Yoga teacher and her catering boss husband who were ‘exiled from local wine society and picnics’ lose court battle with wealthy neighbours over plans to knock down their £1.5m house and build two new homes
‘If they couldn’t afford the court costs, then, A: why did they challenge the agreement they signed when they moved here – as we all did – and, B: how were they going to tear down their house and build two new ones?
‘I don’t know anyone that has shunned them. They were here having drinks for the Coronation with everybody, and also for the Jubilee.’
One resident did mention that another homeowner with a ‘1.5 plot share’ had built two homes on their plot, but that this was accepted due to their larger land plot.
The woman also dismissed claims that the McGuinness’s home was ‘sprawling’.
She said: ‘It’s not as if their house is enormous. It’s just a three-bedroom house.
‘We all pay for the upkeep of our road. It’s a private road and we all pay a subscription.
‘We are not all rich… Some more than others.’
The long-term resident added that she and other neighbours had contributed to the costs of the court case between the residents’ company that owns the private roads accessing the estate – Ridgeway (Oxshott) Management Ltd (ROML) – and the McGuinness family.
She added that Mr McGuinness works for the catering company of his wife’s father, Simon Barnett.
Mr McGuinness, during his evidence in the court case, said he said his wife had been excluded from a ‘wine society’ after launching their plans to alter their home. Pictured: Emma and Terence McGuinness
But fellow homeowners on the estate now allege the ‘wine society’ did not exist. Emma McGuinness is pictured
Residents at The Ridgeway (pictured) – many of whom contributed to court costs to fight the McGuinness’ plans – were unanimous in their hopes to move on from this saga. Others expressed sympathy for the family, who are understood to now be seeking a move away from the estate
She said that although she did feel sorry for them having to pay their substantial court costs, they must have known that would have been a possibility coming into the case.
‘They must have known this was a possibility when they set out on this road,’ the resident said.
READ MORE: Yoga teacher and her husband are sued by neighbours over plans to demolish their £1.5m home and build two houses – but they claim they have been ‘ostracised’ by ‘nimby’ residents and banned from wine society
‘Why stay and fight when there must have been lots of places where they could have built two houses? They willingly signed the contract, so it’s quite illogical.
‘We are normal, friendly people. Nobody hates this couple, I just think they have been really misguided.
‘This is a very close-knit community, but this has not damaged that. We think the biggest effect is on the couple themselves.
‘They should have never pursued something like this, but it’s not personal. I am sorry for them, but I think they have brought it on themselves in a foolish enterprise.’
Other neighbours mentioned that Mr McGuinness had played guitar during the estate’s Jubilee party, whilst his teenage son sang.
‘We had tables all the way down the street [for the Coronation and Jubilee parties],’ the resident added.
‘Everyone made food and brought wine – including the McGuinness’s. I don’t know them personally very well, and have nothing against them.
‘But everyone agreed not to build… We signed a covenant that there would be one house per plot. Nobody has broken that rule… Nobody.’
One resident rubbished claims that the McGuinness’s home (pictured) was ‘sprawling’
The resident added that Mr McGuinness works for the catering company of his wife’s father, Simon Barnett, and added that though she did feel sorry for them having to pay their substantial court costs, they must have known that would have been a possibility coming into the case. Pictured: Emma McGuinness
Residents at The Ridgeway – many of whom contributed to court costs to fight the McGuinness’ plans – were unanimous in their hopes to move on from this saga.
Many also expressed sympathy for the family, who are understood to now be seeking a move away from the estate.
Lots of others simply refused to comment on the court case and its aftermath, whilst residents who had lived in their homes on the estate for more than half a century said it was a ‘sad’ and unprecedented situation.
Another family, who are renting a home on the estate, said they felt very sorry for the McGuinness’s, who they said were well-liked.
The father of the family said: ‘We feel really sorry for them.
‘When anybody feels violated in their own home, it’s sad. You shouldn’t be made to feel like this in your own home.
‘People who live on this road think they’re great. They’re a really nice family. Terry’s a lovely bloke – your typical, friendly Irish guy. He’s a good laugh, actually.
‘I feel sorry for him. They put in for planning and that’s expensive on its own. If you take these things to court, you know what you’re getting into.
‘They’re quite insular here. It was three or four months until we met our neighbours – though that might have been down to us.’
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