ACTRESS and former Loose Women TV presenter Lisa Maxwell and her husband, Paul Jessup, said they were disappointed this week by the reaction of a small minority of people in their village who have complained about the renovation work on their Georgian house.
Lisa and Paul bought the rundown property in Edge three years ago and have been painstakingly restoring it to its former glory.
“It was a wreck – the previous occupant was living in one room – but we fell in love with it and wanted to make it our family home,” said Lisa.
The couple applied to Stroud District Council for permission to install a new driveway with parking and a gazebo in the grounds of the property.
Although they started the work before the permission has been formally granted, Paul said SDC has supported the applications throughout and they have been working closely with the council and highways “every step of the way” and have resubmitted plans when recommended.
But a small number of people have complained about alleged disruption to the village while work was being carried out.
They have also branded the gazebo an “eyesore”, and a series of online comments last week suggesting that Edge must be a “terrible place to live” have forced the couple to speak out.
“We feel we owe it to the village, and to all the lovely people who have been absolutely wonderful since we moved in, to put the record straight,” said Paul.
And Lisa added: “There are 120 people in this village and they have welcomed us with open arms. Everyone, apart from a couple of people, have been really good neighbours to us.
“Most of them were at our wedding reception last week.”
The couple invited the SNJ to their home to see the work that has taken place, particularly the driveway, which has been sympathetically treated to look like a farm track, and the Victorian garden full of old English flowers, which they have been accused by one neighbour of “decimating”.
“We kept whatever we could,” said Lisa, “but many of the flowers had gone over. Lots of the planting was done more than 40 years ago and the garden had been neglected.”
She added: “We are not flash people. We are not show-offs. We just want to live here quietly as a family with our daughter.”
The couple said they decided to blitz the building work over a short period of time as they thought that would be the least painful option for the village.
“Yes, we had a lot of tradesmen parked up for about three months but we thought it was better to have a short, sharp burst than drag it on for a year.
“All the trades people we employed were local and as soon as all the vans had gone we re-turfed the village green,” said Paul.
“As for the gazebo, the tip of it is barely visible if you stand right at the top of the hill opposite,” said Paul who demonstrated this to our SNJ photographer.
A spokesman for SDC said: “It is not unusual for people to start building work before permission has been granted although it is a risk if it isn’t approved.
“We would always advise people to wait.
“However, there is always the option to seek advice as the work is being carried out.”