Permitted development and impact on neighbours amenity

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scuba
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Permitted development and impact on neighbours amenity

Post by scuba » Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:53 am

Hi,

This is my first post on this forum and I’m wondering if anyone has any knowledge or experience regarding private action for nuisance in respect of permitted development with regard to unreasonable interference with the peaceful enjoyment of my home due to excessive overlooking, loss of privacy and impact on amenity.

This relates to a loft conversion which is excluded from the neighbour consultation scheme and there doesn’t seem to be any process within the Planning framework where the impact on neighbour’s amenities can be taken into account. There were 3 neighbour objections to an application for a certificate of lawful development on the basis of excessive overlooking; loss of privacy and loss of amenity, but Planning were unable to assess it on merit or give any weight to neighbour objections.

I’ll try and outline the situation as briefly as I can: I live in a semi detached house in a semi rural environment, the lower part of the road is in a conservation area and the remainder of the houses are subject to restrictive covenants but they are too ambiguous to be enforceable.

My back garden forms a significant part of my home; the houses either side each have one first floor bedroom window which allows some overlooking but other than that it is private. The owners of my adjoining property are planning a loft conversion 48 cubic metres in size comprising a side and rear dormer. The rear dormer is 19.4 cubic metres in size, close to the eves and boundary. It’s nearly 3.5 metres wide with fully glazed French doors with Juliet balcony and full length glazed panels either side which will directly over look every inch of my back garden. From the drawings it appears the side dormer is a bedroom with ensuite and the rear dormer (which will overlooks my whole garden) is potentially a sitting area. My garden is 2 to 3 metres lower than them so the impact feels greater and I’ve had a look at the possibility of planting but due to the foundations then the sewer pipes that run along the back of the houses and the difference in height there isn’t really anything I can do to limit the impact from my side!

I, another neighbour and the Parish Council have asked them if they could reduce the amount of glazing and perhaps instead install a window and skylights but they have refused.

While they don’t need planning permission from the LA I’ve had a look at the Supplementary Planning Document residential design guide “Protecting the Living Conditions of Neighbours” which makes reference to setting dormers back and keeping windows to a minimum and the use of skylights and obscure glass to minimise the impact on neighbour’s amenities. I’ve also read somewhere that the 1st 3 to 4 metres of the garden from the house is usually protected as a rule of thumb, but in reality I have no idea what would have been granted, or what weight would have been given to protecting my garden from excessive overlooking, had they needed planning permission. Does anyone have any idea about this or how I might find out? Because I guess I’m feeling that if they would have got planning permission anyway then I’ll just have to live with it (I have contacted planning but I don’t think they are able to discuss this with me).

I’ve also sought legal advice and been told my only real option is to make a private claim for nuisance for the reasons outlined above, but also that this is quite uncharted territory and a contested case would probable cost a fortune!

If anyone has any experience or knowledge they are able to share about this type of situation it would be much appreciated. Equally if you think I’m wasting my time, then I more than happy to be told!

Many thanks

MacadamB53
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Re: Permitted development and impact on neighbours amenity

Post by MacadamB53 » Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:18 pm

Hi scuba,

if you think I’m wasting my time, then I more than happy to be told

sorry, Mac

mr sheen
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Re: Permitted development and impact on neighbours amenity

Post by mr sheen » Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:00 pm

Permitted development is exactly that...permitted and therefore someone exercising those rights already have planning consent.

You have taken legal advice about this...your adviser advised you of your position....and presumably if you are intent on a fight then you have the required 'fortune' to throw at it.

scuba
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Re: Permitted development and impact on neighbours amenity

Post by scuba » Wed Aug 14, 2019 4:26 pm

Hi there
Many thanks for your advice and getting back to me so quickly.
Scuba

IdefixUK
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Re: Permitted development and impact on neighbours amenity

Post by IdefixUK » Wed Aug 14, 2019 4:47 pm

Hello scuba,

The only thing that I can think of (as a non-expert) is that the new development will need to comply with current building regs. I'm pretty sure that with all but the most minor alterations the insulation "U" value of the property will need to be brought up to current specs. This can be very, very difficult where the proportion of glass compared to the roof/wall area is high. This would be between your neighbour and the Building Control department of your local council.
If you are prepared to spend some money on this you might like to contact a local private planning consultant. These people should be up to date with all the regs, and if they know how to circumvent certain problems for their clients, they will also be able to identify those which cannot be circumvented, on your behalf. What you could do with that information in terms of tactics, however, is another matter.

Regards

IdefixUK
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Re: Permitted development and impact on neighbours amenity

Post by IdefixUK » Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:36 pm

Just to add a bit. I thought the permitted development regs only allow obsure glass to the sides of dormers and windows to side elevations.... I might be wrong. If so the neighbours will not be able to see into your garden directly through those windows.

Regards

scuba
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Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:55 pm

Re: Permitted development and impact on neighbours amenity

Post by scuba » Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:53 pm

Hi IdefixUK

Thanks for getting back to me. Yes, I had thought about building regs. The soil/vent pipe to my downstairs toilet is just my side of the boundary and will be very close to the French doors, I have raised that with the owners of next door and they said they’d get back to me. I will definitely give some thought to a private planning/building regs. consultant and whether that might achieve anything in reducing the impact.

No it’s the rear dormer that has all the glass, the side dormer where there are restrictions faces onto a blank wall!

Scuba

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