Fuming woman claims bar’s outdoor tables lie just 3ft from bathroom window

While pubs and bars have added outside space to comply with social distancing rules, that’s led in at least one case to a massive privacy row.

Teesside woman Jackie Earl says her glass bathroom window is just three feet from drinkers in the courtyard area of a wine bar next door.

She says: "You wouldn’t believe it. I can touch an umbrella from my garden wall.

“I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve no issue with people making money out of it.

“We had a newsagent’s for more than 40 years on the High Street so I understand all about businesses.

“But not having this three feet from your house.”

Ms Earl tells Teeside Live that her privacy has been invaded by the bar, The Fourteen Drops, using the courtyard next to her house for serving customers, and says she’s unhappy and shocked with the way the bar had gone about the change.

The former councillor said: “They’ve ridden roughshod over us really – it’s an entitlement thing.

“What if I’d gone and done that in front of their house? They wouldn’t like a pop up bar.”

Eight seats are available at the front of the bar at the moment as well as the rear courtyard.

Bar owner Owner Fiona McLain says that she paid for the renovation of the courtyard – removing “eight bags of slime” as part of efforts to re-purpose it.

She explained how the limitations of its use and a planning wrangle with Stockton Council had been “devastating”.

But its use has now been secured through a temporary event notices until May 16 – a day before lockdown restrictions will change to allow bars and eateries to serve customers inside.

When it came to Ms Earl’s concerns, Ms McLain claimed she had filmed out of her window – and had “been abusive” to customers and staff.

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But Ms Earl has strenuously denied being abusive.

“I’m allowed six people in my garden in front of my wall – but they’ve got 18 to 20 people in there at times,” she added.

Ms McLain said the bar had full use of the courtyard space – adding past concerns aired before Fourteen Drops had opened hadn’t come to fruition.

She said: “I appreciate the frustrations – we’ve tried to be extremely accommodating.

“She wanted it (the area) at a different end and we moved it to a different end."

“Unfortunately," Ms McLain added, "we’re having scaffolding at the moment because the landlord is renovating the roof on the flat but that needs to be fixed.

“We’ve had to move it to the other end first for safety reasons but as soon as that’s gone we’ll be moving it back to the other side as she requested.”

However, Ms McLain also said she “had little sympathy” for Ms Earl at the moment in the wake of the tensions.

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