Unfortunately, neighbour disputes do happen. In particular, they can start because one neighbour is planning an extension and the other neighbour believes that this will impact their property. Perhaps this is a situation that is currently happening to you. If your discussions with your neighbour are not going well, you may be wondering what rights you have or if there is anything you can do.
A lot of time, planning permission is not necessary for small additions to your home. For example, if you plan to get a new fence or wall in your garden, this is not going to need planning permission from local authorities. This is your permitted development rights. In addition, patios, driveways and certain conservatories will be included. If it is not that big of an extension or land change, there is nothing you can do about this if it is on your neighbour’s property.
Planning permission may be necessary for an extension. For example, if your neighbour has a terrace or semi-detached house, they are legally allowed to extend this by up to six metres without planning permission. For detached houses, this allowance is slightly more at up to eight metres. Therefore, any extensions that are larger than this will require planning permission from a local authority.
It is important to realise that you can object to your neighbour’s extension if you feel like it is going to have an impact on your property and your enjoyment of your property. The Neighbour Consultation Scheme means that you have 21 days to voice your concerns and say that this extension should not go ahead with being built. After this, the local authority has 21 days to look at your objective and to grant or deny the planning permission for the extension to your neighbour’s property.
When a neighbour applies for planning permission, a letter should be sent to you. In addition, a notice should be seen outside of the property. This is going to alert you to the public consultation period and how long you have to object. Always know that your neighbour will see the comments you have made if you are objecting to their extension. They are still going to be your neighbour afterwards, so it is best to be as respectful as possible.
Every extension is going to be different and this means that the local authority will look subjectively at your objection. For example, if there is quite a substantial extension being built next door, this is going to take a lot of time too be built. This means a lot of noise and construction happening. You may feel like you cannot use your garden or the noise is disrupting your daily activities. This may be a legitimate concern if it is early or during the summer months.
If you feel like the extension is going to shade some of your property or block your views, this is another reason why you may object. Make sure that you gather evidence to back up this claim. For example, demonstrating how much sun your garden currently gets and where the extension will be built. You do have a right to light and this means that if your land has enjoyed light for 20 years, they cannot take this from you without consent.
Depending on where an extension is in relation to your house, you may feel like you are going to lose your privacy. Again, this is another legitimate reason why you may object. For example, there extension may mean that they can see in your window. This is something that a planning authority will inspect.
Always remember to discuss your concerns with your neighbour before making it official. There may be solutions you can reach without having to make it more of a problem. Therefore, if you are on speaking terms with your neighbours talk to them first. They may be reasonable and not realise that their extension is going to disturb your property.
It is possible that a neighbour’s extension could devalue your property if you are going to sell. For example, the price that your house is valued at takes into consideration the surroundings around your property and the proximity of other buildings.
In addition, if your neighbour’s extension building causes problems, this is going to knock money off your valuation. If the building work causes subsidence, this is going to leave you with damage that you have to put right. Subsidence could cost you as much as £50,000. A party wall surveyor should be consulted if your neighbours are planning to dig near your home.