St Leonards couple couldn’t take down ‘Eiffel Tower’ because both had Covid

A St Leonards couple say they’ve been unable to take down a replica of the Eiffel Tower in their front garden because they have both had Covid. 

Tuesday, 23rd February 2021, 10:15 am

Nick Charman, 56, of Alma Terrace, built the replica of the Eiffel Tower for his wife Bernie after their plans to go to Paris were dashed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The father-of-seven spent three months making the structure, using measurements from Google Images to build the model.

Nick, who spent £250 making the tower, used more than 600 wooden pieces and more than 1,200 screws to complete the 22ft model.

Nick and Bernie Charman pictured with their Eiffel Tower model, Alma Terrace, Silverhill, St Leonards. Pic Justin Lycett SUS-210223-090525001

Nick and his wife Bernie had hoped to return last year to mark the 25th anniversary of their honeymoon in Paris in 1995.

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Bernie, 47, said: “Nick built the Eiffel Tower model completely from scratch as a nice surprise for me and put it in the front garden.

“It started going up in September and was completed by Christmas.

Nick and Bernie Charman pictured with their Eiffel Tower model, Alma Terrace, Silverhill, St Leonards. Pic Justin Lycett SUS-210223-090512001

“We decided to light up the tower at Christmas with lights to spread a bit of cheer in the street.

“We did get a letter from the council before Christmas telling us we’d not sought planning permission and that the tower needed to come down.

“It was never meant to be a permanent structure. We didn’t respond to the letter because we always planned to take the tower down after Christmas and all of our immediate neighbours would have known that as well.

“We were hoping to take it down in early January but we couldn’t get anyone to help us because of the restrictions and I also caught Covid. Nick also caught it so we were unwell and in isolation.

Nick and Bernie Charman pictured with their Eiffel Tower model, Alma Terrace, Silverhill, St Leonards. Pic Justin Lycett SUS-210223-090458001

“Had we not caught Covid the tower would have come down.”

Nick said he was ill with Covid for five weeks and added that he has had no energy for the last month as a result.

A spokesman for Hastings Borough Council said: “Planning colleagues received a complaint about the tower on November 27 last year.

“The owner was contacted, but did not respond. He was contacted again on January 22, but again we had no response at all, so a planning contravention notice was issued, requiring the structure to be removed by February 22.
“We now understand that the tower will be removed in the spring, and we will not pursue the matter at the moment provided the owner confirms the structure is safe.

“But if it remains indefinitely and we receive further complaints we may take further action.”

* Got a story? Ring reporters Richard Gladstone on 07803 505794 or Stephen Wynn-Davies on 07393 754494.

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