Neighbour's Decking - Council Choosing not to enforce

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The Spartan
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Neighbour's Decking - Council Choosing not to enforce

Post by The Spartan » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:27 pm

Hi there

I've searched and read through a lot of the forum post and other information on the internet but haven't really come across the information that I'm looking for. In August of 2016 a neighbour's retaining wall collapsed on to the road behind the houses it also took of their next door neighbours wall. Anyway after all the legal wrangling with the council we got nowhere but what we did find out was that the decking built at the house where the wall initially collapsed hadn't applied for planning permission.

I then made a complaint about the decking as it overlooks my property and it covers their entire garden, the council have written back to me to say that they're not going to pursue enforcement action even though it should have most definitely required planning permission. The decking is only 2 years old but many believe it did contribute to the collapse of the wall as they took it right out to to the top of the retaining wall.

Has anyone experienced a similar situation whereas a council will not enforce action?

I also forgot to add that previously the council have enforced retrospective planning on another neighbours decking.

MacadamB53
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Re: Neighbour's Decking - Council Choosing not to enforce

Post by MacadamB53 » Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:36 pm

Hi The Spartan,

Has anyone experienced a similar situation whereas a council will not enforce action?

doubtless hundreds have, but what good would knowing that be to you?

the LPA are empowered to take enforcement action at their discretion and there’s little you or I can do (other than lodge a complaint) if they choose not to.

can you please clarify on what grounds the decking is a breach of planning law? is the LPA of the opinion there is a breach?

kind regards, Mac

The Spartan
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Re: Neighbour's Decking - Council Choosing not to enforce

Post by The Spartan » Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:53 pm

Hi Mac

I was wondering if there is anything else I could do?

The decking does not fall under permitted development:
As it is over 30cm off the floor
It covers the entire back garden which is more than 50% stated in the guidance
Within 20m if a highway
It didn't previously encroach on my privacy but now does

At the end of the report it is referred to as an unauthorised development.

Collaborate
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Re: Neighbour's Decking - Council Choosing not to enforce

Post by Collaborate » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:15 pm

When they measure height they take it from the lowest point closest to the house. It doesn't matter that it's high near the boundary wall. If it's less than 30cm high where it meets the house the height won't make it unlawful. It mustn't cover more than 50% of the area of the garden (including outbuildings and extensions)

The Spartan
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Re: Neighbour's Decking - Council Choosing not to enforce

Post by The Spartan » Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:05 am

Collaborate wrote:When they measure height they take it from the lowest point closest to the house. It doesn't matter that it's high near the boundary wall. If it's less than 30cm high where it meets the house the height won't make it unlawful. It mustn't cover more than 50% of the area of the garden (including outbuildings and extensions)
Even in that case, it is still over 30cm in height and as you've said it does indeed cover more than 50% of the area of the garden. In fact it covers the entire back garden
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MacadamB53
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Re: Neighbour's Decking - Council Choosing not to enforce

Post by MacadamB53 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:17 am

Hi The Spartan,

I was wondering if there is anything else I could do?

there isn’t a procedure to follow re the lack of enforcement for the breach of planning other than lodging a complaint.

did you complain when the breach occurred?

all the best, Mac

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Re: Neighbour's Decking - Council Choosing not to enforce

Post by Collaborate » Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:39 am

That's a monstrosity.

I think if the LA won't take action the immediate neighbours ought to seek legal advice on enforcing their right of support. To be honest it's probably a good job that they're trying to sell it. Very few people will want to buy it without either wanting the earth works shored up or making sure the decking has PP. Raising a dispute with them before sale makes it a more pressing issue for the current owners.

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Re: Neighbour's Decking - Council Choosing not to enforce

Post by Roblewis » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:03 pm

If the OP, as stated, has approached the LA they would have approached the neighbour in order to make a decision. There is thus a recorded exchange of information that amounts to the commencement of a dispute. I personally would notify the Estate Agents when the board goes up that the deck IS the subject of a dispute. The neighbour will need to note the issue on the SPIF, sellers property information form.

The Spartan
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Re: Neighbour's Decking - Council Choosing not to enforce

Post by The Spartan » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:39 pm

MacadamB53 wrote:Hi The Spartan,

I was wondering if there is anything else I could do?

there isn’t a procedure to follow re the lack of enforcement for the breach of planning other than lodging a complaint.

did you complain when the breach occurred?

all the best, Mac
Hi Mac

Unfortunately we've been in a legal tussle with the council with regards to the rest of the retaining wall for the last couple of years, the wall is significantly higher the further down the road you go. It was through all this that we discovered that the decking had never been for planning permission, given that other neighbours has been subject to enforcement action by the LPA.

The retaining wall is completely another story and further enforces just how incompetent the council are.

The Spartan
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Re: Neighbour's Decking - Council Choosing not to enforce

Post by The Spartan » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:56 pm

Collaborate wrote:That's a monstrosity.

I think if the LA won't take action the immediate neighbours ought to seek legal advice on enforcing their right of support. To be honest it's probably a good job that they're trying to sell it. Very few people will want to buy it without either wanting the earth works shored up or making sure the decking has PP. Raising a dispute with them before sale makes it a more pressing issue for the current owners.
Apparently they're in the process of getting the wall rebuilt though they've not got anyone to take the job just yet, it is my belief that this is the reason the council are being lenient in not pursuing action for the decking even though this may have contributed to the walls collapse in the first place.

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Re: Neighbour's Decking - Council Choosing not to enforce

Post by ukmicky » Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:32 pm

Complain to the council ombudsman. I don’t believe they have the power if they find against the council to force the council to take action but can I believe impose a penalty, the prospect of which may cause the council to rethink there decision.
Advice given is not legally qualified and you are advised to gain a professional opinion

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Re: Neighbour's Decking - Council Choosing not to enforce

Post by jonahinoz » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:08 am

Hi,

Ask the Planners if you can put similar decking in your garden, and indicate that a refusal will escalate. (By indicate ... I mean "lie through your teeth")

By the time this ficticous escalation goes to appeal, the Planners may be getting embaresed. Or maybe not. ???

John W

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Re: Neighbour's Decking - Council Choosing not to enforce

Post by arborlad » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:41 am

The Spartan wrote:
Collaborate wrote:When they measure height they take it from the lowest point closest to the house. It doesn't matter that it's high near the boundary wall. If it's less than 30cm high where it meets the house the height won't make it unlawful. It mustn't cover more than 50% of the area of the garden (including outbuildings and extensions)
Even in that case, it is still over 30cm in height and as you've said it does indeed cover more than 50% of the area of the garden. In fact it covers the entire back garden


Is that the remnants of the retaining wall we can see?...........it looks more like a backfill of weak lean-mix to fill a gap.
arborlad

smile...it confuses people

The Spartan
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Re: Neighbour's Decking - Council Choosing not to enforce

Post by The Spartan » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:33 am

ukmicky wrote:Complain to the council ombudsman. I don’t believe they have the power if they find against the council to force the council to take action but can I believe impose a penalty, the prospect of which may cause the council to rethink there decision.
Thanks ukmicky I'm definitely going to contact the ombudsman.

The Spartan
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Re: Neighbour's Decking - Council Choosing not to enforce

Post by The Spartan » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:33 am

jonahinoz wrote:Hi,

Ask the Planners if you can put similar decking in your garden, and indicate that a refusal will escalate. (By indicate ... I mean "lie through your teeth")

By the time this ficticous escalation goes to appeal, the Planners may be getting embaresed. Or maybe not. ???

John W
Fantastic idea John W

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