Anyone know about planning permission?

My mother-in-law's neightbours have applied for planning permission to extend their house sideways - and if it goes ahead their house will then be 40cm away from in-laws' house. Obviously htis does't leave enough gap to get between them for house maintenance, etc and their gutter will overhang in-laws' land. The bloke in question has used old plans in his submission, which shows in-laws' house without it's own extension, which was done 20+ years ago, so the gap between the houses doesn't look so bad - naughty!

Is there anything they can do about this?

They have until monday to object, and I was wondering if anyone out there knew a bit about planning law (?) - so that we know the things most likely to get planning refusal

{so far they have tried to be nice and go round in person and say "come on, we're really not happy about this, it's too close and overhangs out land, etc" but have been in effect told to s*d off}


  • Have they spoken to their local councillor about it fraggle? If they look on the local authority website they can find out who covers their ward. Some authorities have minimum distances between houses and don't allow infill extensions, others do. They need to get someone on the inside to fight their corner.
  • There is a guy called Damo who frequents these fora. He's an architect. I wonder if he could help. I'll see if I can find him and I'll drop him a email.
  • Found him.

    Emailed him.

    Hope he pops up soon.

  • They have spoken to their local councillor Hannabelle, but not sure how helpful he's been

    Cheers FF :o)
  • RoobarbRoobarb ✭✭✭
    I would object anyway on the basis of old plans being used. It looks like they are trying to fox the authorities. Not nice.

    I have a problem in that my neighbours are building an extension without planning permission and I have put in a complaint. Apparently they can build up to their boundary (which isn't why I'm complaining though - they are putting a sun terrace on the roof so they will directly overlook my property and will also be able to see in through my windows).

    Good luck!
  • If an adjoining property seeks to develop within 3m of your house you can insist that a party wall surveyor is hired to see that things are done properly. Now here's the best bit.....your neighbour has to pay for it and it can run into thousands. Be warned though, it can ruin a beautiful friendship.

    Ask your local planning department for a leaflet. Or do a web search under Party wall Act.

  • You can object and should be able to insist that inaccurate plans are amended in the application. If the planning officers won't ask for this to be put right in advance of the application being considered you should complain to the local govt ombudsman.

    Their gutters can not overhang your property without your permission. You could get an injunction to prevent this if planning is granted.
  • As has been mentioned, I'm sure there are rules for allowing access to the side of one's property for the need of upkeep and maintanence(sp?). I know that there was a case in West Lothian where a person built an extension next to one that had already been built. He didn't leave the required gap and the local authority forced him to demolish the extension.

    Likewise the thing with the gutter is a definite no-no...
  • The overhanging gutter is not a planning issue- you can apply for planning permission for land you don't own. Party Wall act is an option but surveyeors are expensive. Try to get a recommendation if you use one, whether you're paying or not.

    The out-of-date plans are an issue to highlight. The Planning Officer cannot be making a sound decision if the extension isn't shown. You need to object in writing.

    Other grounds for objection include loss of amenity and overlooking and/ or overbearing (this is particularly an issue if houses are on a slope). Loss of light can be an issue if there are any facing windows of main rooms (bedrooms, living room etc). Potential loss of value is not a planning concern.

    The Council probably have leaflets explaining planning concerns and on what grounds you can object to a planning application. If not, a google search will find councils which do provide that kind of info. Also check the Council's own planning policies on extensions- these may be on their website, or you might need to go into an office to see them. Their decision must take account of the policies.

    Good luck. But, don't get your hopes up too much- there is generally a presumption for development
  • I just went back and read a bit. You can't overhang someones land, you can apply for planning permission to do so and it can be granted, but that doesn't mean you can then go ahead and build it without the land owners permission.

    You can refuse access to your property during building, forcing what's called 'hand over' working. This can make jobs difficult and more expensive.

  • Oh, and when making your objection read the councils UDP first. There will be sections in it stating what can and can't be built and it helps if your objections reference things in the UDP (unitary development plan, should be on-line on your councils website) and show how they clash with what is allowed or are the same as what isn't allowed.
  • Start by writing a letter to the planning department objecting to the plans on the grounds that incorrect plans have been used. I'd also throw in something about the distance that will be left between the two houses. In our area the planning department don't like you building too close to another hosue as you end up with "terracing"..... the houses stop looking like semis and start looking like terraces.

    If they can arrange to go into the planning office to voice their concerns then they should try to. Phone up to make an appointment.
  • hello, I've popped up thanks to fat Face sending me an e-mail

    Welsh Alex and Kangaroo have said what I would have advised anyway.

    Write a formal letter of objection to the local authority planning officer stating that the submitted plans are inaccurate and do not accuratley show the surrounding buildings. Consequently there would be maintenance issues, etc

    At the same time visit the council offices to see the specific planning office or ask to see the duty planning officer; explain the situation and your concerns and ensure it is also logged as an objection. Also ask if there are planning guidelines and/or leaflets if so does the proposal comply? There are also rules about overlooking distances between habitable room windows and blank walls, loss of daylight, overshadowing, loss of amenity.

    Some councils have their own planning guidelines, where I live they have a similar rule about 'terracing'as Mister W.

    If the planning officer is going to recommend approval then insist via your local councillor that the application is determined at the planning committee meeting and not dealt with by delegated powers (ie the planning officer has power delegated to him to grant planning consent). You'll have to keep in touch with the planning officer to ensure it doesn't go for delegated powers. At the planning committee you'll have 3 minutes to put your case forward (the applicant can put his forward) and the committee will make a decision. You can appeal against a refusal but you can't appeal against an approval.

    As jelly bean says, by law of the Party Wall Act the adjoining owner must get your agreemnt to build that close to your property and they must stand the cost. Most councils have a leaflet explaining this law.

    Let us know how you get on

  • You can appeal against approval by taking the matter to the high court for a judicial review. You will need about £40k spare in your pocket at the very least if you lose and you have to be sure that the grant has gone against stated planning policy or that the decision was in some procedural way (eg wrong plans presented) flawed. The court will not over-rule simply on 'taste'.

    If it comes to this it may be cheaper and less risky to move.
  • alternatively shoot sheite out of the neighbours!!.LOL....
  • Thanks very much for your help - I'll let you know how it goes
  • Boing :o)

    Just to let you know that the party wall act has been invoked, and the neighbour is now having to hand dig his foundations, and the drains. There's a condition report on the in-laws' house, so that if anything changes in the future, then the next door house owners are responsible for repairs, etc :o)

    Thanks very much for your help people - the forum is as invaluable as ever :o)
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