Residents of an apartment building next to the Tate Modern have relaunched a legal battle to stop gallery-goers peering into their living rooms.
Visitors to the Tate’s tenth floor viewing platform can currently see inside the glass-walled Neo Bankside luxury apartments which stand just over 34 metres away. In 2017, five disgruntled occupants decided to fight their battle in court and sued the Tate’s Board of Trustees for breach of privacy and creating a nuisance. In the High Court claim, the apartment owners alleged Tate visitors were eyeing them in their homes and even waving and making obscene gestures. It seems they failed to read the special signs erected on the platform requesting that visitors “please respect out neighbours’ privacy”.
Justice Anthony Mann dismissed the claim in February 2019. He held that Tate was not creating a legal nuisance nor making unreasonable use of its land. Mann added that the design of the apartments with their floor-to-ceiling windows made them unusually vulnerable to privacy invasions. “No doubt there are great advantages to be enjoyed in such extensive glassed views, but that in effect comes at a price in terms of privacy”, Mann stated.
Undeterred by the High Court ruling and unmoved by Mann’s recommendation that they invest in net curtains, the residents have returned to fight in the Court of Appeal. They told the court in an appeals hearing last week that they feel “completely exposed” in their home and that an injunction is necessary to stop “hundreds of thousands of visitors” from snooping. Their lawyers argue the High Court was mistaken in its ruling and should have granted the residents an injunction requiring Tate to cordon off part of the platform.
The date for a ruling on the appeal is yet to be scheduled.