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Tate’s Neighbours Go to the High Court Over Invasion of Privacy Dispute

Owners of luxury flats overlooked by the Tate Blavatnik extension are attempting to block visitor access from the 360-degree viewing platform 

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The Tate Blavatnik extention and NEO Bankside flats, 2016. Courtesy: Fred Romero

The Tate Blavatnik extention and NEO Bankside flats, 2016. Courtesy: Fred Romero

The owners of London flats overlooked by the Tate Blavatnik extension have gone to the high court in an attempt to stop visitors to the contemporary art museum from being able to look into their million-pound apartments.

Five claimants from the NEO Bankside development are seeking an injunction to restrict access to the Tate viewing platform or erect a screen to protect residents’ privacy. The leaseholders of four flats have claimed the Tate viewing platform ‘unreasonably interferes with the use of their flats.’

Tom Weekes, a lawyer for the claimants, told the High Court that one of his clients counted 84 people photographing his apartment over a 90-minute period, and ‘discovered that a photo of himself had been posted on Instagram to 1,027 followers.’

‘The only satisfactory solution to a problem arising from visitors to the viewing platform engaging in ‘viewing’ towards and into the claimants’ home is to prevent visitors from doing so’, Mr Justice Mann was told at a hearing on Friday.

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The Tate Blavatnik extention and NEO Bankside flats, 2016. Courtesy: Fred Romero

The Tate Blavatnik extention and NEO Bankside flats, 2016. Courtesy: Fred Romero

However, representatives from the Tate’s board of trustees have argued against the claimants, saying: ‘the obvious remedy for being overlooked is to draw the blinds provided in their flats and, as necessary, to put up curtains’.

The extension to the Tate Modern ‘will no doubt have contributed to the value of the claimants’ flats’ and that residents ‘cannot pick and choose’ which aspects of the development they do or do not like, Tate lawyers said.

The viewing terrace is a rare example of a free, elevated viewing spot in the English capital, which accounts for its popularity among tourists.

Guy Fetherstonhaugh, a lawyer for the Tate board of trustees said the apartment owners were seeking to ‘deny to the public the right to use the viewing platform for its intended purpose merely to give the claimants an unencumbered right to enjoy their own view.’

On Friday, the parties and Mr Justice Mann visited the viewing platform as well as the claimant’s flats. Witness evidence is set to begin on Monday.

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