Blighted life in the shadow of a powerful neighbour

THE PYLON at the bottom of Elaine Marcham's garden is half-yellow, half-silver. It was being redecorated, but the painting was stopped because a family of kestrels had made its home in the steel frame, writes Susan Watts.

Mrs Marcham is not happy. Apart from potential health risks, she has regarded the pylon as an eyesore ever since she and her husband, Gordon, bought their house in Beckton, east London, in 1987.

'I just hope they get the painting done before September,' she said, 'because my daughter's getting married and I don't want that great yellow thing staring down at us.'

The pylon, which stands two feet from the back fence of their garden, is one of 21 that form a 6.5km power line running through development land in east London's docks. Mrs Marcham has suffered persistent severe headaches ever since she moved in.

The Marchams say the previous occupier showed them a letter, apparently from National Grid, saying the pylons would be removed within 15 months. But the company has since denied ever having sent such a letter.

Last year, a government inquiry concluded there were no overwhelming planning grounds for removing the line, but called for a review after 15 years - in 2008.

The company was also told to discuss power transmission alternatives - like underground cabling - with the owners of the land on which the pylons stand. These include British Rail, British Gas, the London Borough of Newham and the London Docklands Development Corporation. Negotiations are still under way, a spokeswoman said.

Mrs Marcham said National Grid workers painting the pylon told her it would be remaining in place for the full 15 years.

She agreed that council planning officers needed clear guidelines from the Government if there were health risks to residents on housing developments near power lines: 'They should come out and say one way or the other whether or not it is dangerous, and stop messing about and saying they don't know.'

Mrs Marcham believes she has little hope of selling their house for anything close to the pounds 63,000 price they paid for it. 'The chap next door has just sold his - but had to let it go for around pounds 45,000.'

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Engineer

£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Advisor - Opportunities Available Nationwide

£15000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to ...

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Special Needs Support Worker

£12 - £14 per hour: Recruitment Genius: We are looking for someone to join a s...

Recruitment Genius: Content Assistant / Copywriter

£15310 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence