Neighbours in Bath Road, Hounslow, were celebrating this week as an illegal building they have spent nearly a decade campaigning against finally went under the wrecking ball.
Demolition workers flattened the two-storey outbuilding in Bath Road, near Hounslow West Tube Station, on Monday - 16 months after its owners received a record fine for constructing and renting out the property.
Pritapal and Satinder Singh, of 289 Bath Road, were ordered to pay £19,000 each at Feltham Magistrates' Court in November 2007 after ignoring repeated demands from Hounslow Council to tear down the extension. They were first fined £7,000 plus costs and told to knock down the building in 2003.
Neighbours spent years fighting for the property's demolition, claiming it attracted antisocial behaviour, including noise nuisance and littering.
Rita Rampaul, whose home backed on to the building, said it had made her life a nightmare and described it as a huge relief to see it come down.
"We never thought this day would come and we're so grateful to the new staff at the council for making it happen," added the 75-year-old great grandmother-of-two.
"I haven't been able to access my garage for years and the alleyway, which used to be so attractive, has been covered in building rubble and infested with rats."
Mrs Rampaul added that the building, in the garden of Firs Lodge bed and breakfast accommodation, began as an 'ox shed' before being expanded to nine rooms.
Councillor Barbara Reid, lead member for the environment, said: "We take a tough line with people who flout planning and building regulations. They are in place to protect all of us from unnecessary and unsafe developments and Mr and Mrs Singh refused to take this on board.
"Hopefully our message is starting to get through: if you refuse to play by the same rules as everyone else, we will prosecute and keep on prosecuting until planning enforcement notices are complied with, even if this means the council carrying out the necessary works ourselves and reclaiming the money back from owners."
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