A wealthy couple who opened an unauthorised swimming school in their back garden have been ordered to shut it down after neighbours said the 'constant shrieking' of children was destroying their peace.

Andrew and Richelle Brooks left nearby residents furious at the 'cacophony of noise' from their pool, with people complaining the 'singing, whooping and screaming' meant they could no longer sit and read in their gardens, study or even sleep.

Protesting homeowners said they have had to put up with the disruption for more than two and a half years, after the Brooks launched Little Otters Swim School back in March 2021.

In addition to the noise, locals complained about customers' on-street parking which had previously been kept to an 'absolute minimum' on the upmarket road they live on - where the average house sold for over £1m last year.

The noise - from children and instructors alike - was said to be worse during the summer months, when the retractable roof on the pool was removed.

Mr and Mrs Brooks opened the swimming school shortly after moving into their five bedroom £745,000 home in Colden Common in August 2020 with their three sons.

Daily Echo: Richelle Brooks

They admitted throwing 'Mermaid parties' but found it 'unfathomable' neighbours were complaining, as they hadn't been disturbed 'at all'.

But Winchester City Council's planning committee disagreed and following a meeting the couple's retrospective application to change the use of property from a domestic residential to a business was unanimously rejected.

Mr and Mrs Brooks have six months to appeal the decision.

Daily Echo: Little Otters Swim School

Speaking after the decision, Mrs Brooks said she and her husband did not know they needed planning permission to open the swim school before they were contacted by a planning officer seven months after opening.

She said they were then told they must either make a planning application or an enforcement order would be issued.

Following the application rejection, the Brooks said they were 'shocked' and now plan to appeal it.

Mrs Brooks argues she opened Little Otters because swimming schools in the county are in decline and the private nature of their sessions makes it more accessible for children with learning difficulties.

Daily Echo: Little Otters Swim School

The 40-year-old swim coach, originally from South Africa, said: "Where do you take children with disabilities, or special needs, that need quiet swimming?

"If there is a child who is autistic, or has ADHD, they can come here because it's just their environment."

She claimed that if the school shuts many children will not learn to swim 'because there are not enough facilities in this area other than us'.

Lessons at the enclosed pool cost £16.50. The couple claimed they have desperately tried to compromise, by offering to soundproof the facility, but neighbours and the committee wouldn't budge.

Mr Brooks - company director of an electrical engineering firm - said it would be 'catastrophic' for them as a family and for children who will no longer have access to the lessons.