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to extend my house

(37 Posts)
jesterjangles Wed 22-Jun-11 13:19:11

I have lived in my current house for 6 years. I love the neighbourhood and we got on with our neighbours.

We have recently decided to ttc4 and we either need to extend our current house or move. We got an architect down who told us that as our house had a low roof?!?, we can't do a loft conversion and the only thing we could do is go over our drive (car port with a bedroom over). We are semi detached as are our neighbours but between us there is our drive and their drive. As far as we are aware, it will cut out little light and won't overlook them at all.

We told them our plans and they said they wouldn't be happy about it. We looked into lots of other things and looked around a few houses but found no other way to do it. We went ahead with the planning permission and when they got their letter, they both came around and started shouting at us. Apparently we are going to make it seem like we live in terraced houses, even though they will still have a full drive in between the new extension and their house. I said that we had looked at other options but this is the only one we could do and they said that we could move.

AIBU to think that if our planning gets passed then I should be able to do what I want on my own property.

lesley33 Wed 22-Jun-11 13:27:01

YANBU, but then neither are they - although they shouldn't have shouted at you.

QueenKate Wed 22-Jun-11 13:28:49

YA obviously NBU

RustyBear Wed 22-Jun-11 13:29:13

Maybe they were thinking of doing the same, but you got in first, so now, if they do, they will look like terraced houses....

YANBU - if your plans get passed then of course you can do what you want!

mistressploppy Wed 22-Jun-11 13:30:49

You should be able to do what you want, BUT if it's at the price of living next door to angry neighbours I'd be looking to do whatever I could to appease them. Could you arrange a meeting with them and see if there's any way to tweak the plans to make it better for them? Maybe if they were involved they'd be less pissed off? Would a bit of charm help them along??

Sorry you're having this problem, it sounds like a right nightmare

mistressploppy Wed 22-Jun-11 13:31:32

Ooh, Rusty might be on to something....

QueenKate Wed 22-Jun-11 13:31:32

Lesley, I think her neighbours are being unreasonable. They were told about the plans in advance, yet they came round and shouted at them and told them to move! They can object to the plans through the council (how would've been stated in the letter) but they chose to bob round and shout at them instead.

jesterjangles Wed 22-Jun-11 13:37:10

We looked into lots of other things first and talked to them about our plans from the start. The person who drew our plans says that externally there is nothing we can do about it. It is slightly shorter in length than our house so it is set back slightly but we can't make it further away from their house as then a car wouldn't be able to go under it to get to the garage. They have said that they won't let us onto their drive to do any work which we have said is fine but the guy says that it will ruin their drive anyway. We have said that obviously if that is the case we will repair any damage. I think we have been as reasonable as we can be including going to look at other houses when really I don't want to move.

NightLark Wed 22-Jun-11 13:37:55

I don't think there is anything your neighbours can do to stop you, but I must say I'm in agreement with them.

I hate this kind of development, it does make semis into rows of terrace-looking houses, and I wouldn't buy next door to one that had had this done.

I think most planning authorities insist that you keep a certain distance away from the boundary with your extension but looking around here it seems to be widely ignored.

There are issues to do with maintenance and needing access onto your neighbours property too if you build right up to your boundary line.

lobatteries Wed 22-Jun-11 13:38:24

As rustybear says and I have actually seen this happen not too far from where I live so the house prices have gone down a bit even though they had to spend lots to extend. One lot ended up looking like a row of three terraced thanks to those on either side extending and a link-detached has ended up as a semi.

jesterjangles Wed 22-Jun-11 13:44:18

Sorry, just read my OP and realised that I had put that my neighbours were in a semi. We are in a semi but they are detached.

sandyballs Wed 22-Jun-11 13:49:21

Nutters, ignore them. Nothing they can do

Scholes34 Wed 22-Jun-11 13:56:26

Is it worth another opinion on the loft? Ours is a low roof line and we thought a loft conversation wouldn't be possible, but it turns out it was. I'm 5ft 6" and can easily touch the ceiling. DH is 6ft 3" and can stand up in the loft. It's a lovely large space and I'm amazed how airy it feels, after thinking the roof line was too low.

If you get planning permission, you're well within your right to go ahead. Your neighbours can't stop you. Light isn't an issue and with the Party Wall Act, they have to agree to the work unless there is very good reason not to, and I'm assuming there isn't good reason.

So, that means it all comes down to your relationship with the neighbours. As a final thought, could you extend out the back of the house, possibly a staggered extension at the back to cover half the drive and half one of the bedrooms, leaving enough room on the existing bedroom or bathroom for a window?

I think if you've carefully looked at all options and go ahead with the bedroom at the side of the house, YANBU, but be prepared for some fall out.

MollysChamber Wed 22-Jun-11 13:57:21

If they are detached I have less sympathy tbh.

Presumably they realise that they have no basis to object officially so have resorted to intimidation. They need to put up and shut up tbh.

Ignore them.

partyhats Wed 22-Jun-11 14:07:17

YANBU In my experience neighbours get very funny about extentions even when it will have no effect on them at all. If the council see fit to grant you permission then go ahead. It is not that easy to just move as they suggest, to get a house with one more bedroom generally costs at least £50-60K more plus fees and stamp duty.

Bramshott Wed 22-Jun-11 14:10:16

Of course YANBU, but falling out with your neighbours is never ideal for all sorts of reasons. I'd be tempted to get them round and try to talk about it amicably once the planning permission has been passed, then it's more of a fait accompli. If you start from the basis that "this is happening, we know you're not keen - what can we do to make it easier for you", you might get somewhere.

jesterjangles Wed 22-Jun-11 14:10:34

We have a conservatory attached to the back of our house but it doesn't go out that far (about 6 foot) but is long. We thought about knocking that down and doing a two storey extension, keeping the room downstairs as a playroom for the kids as it is now and having a bedroom above. However, our bedrooms are at the back of the house and aren't very big themselves so to get to the upstairs room, we would either have to go through one of the bedrooms to get to the other room or make a hallway through cutting into both of the bedrooms. My DD's bedroom probably wouldn't even fit a bed in it then. Plus our bedroom would then have no windows. We can't get 2 rooms out of the space either so we couldn't make DD's bedroom into a hallway to get to the 2 new rooms IYSWIM. We can't really make it any bigger either as our garden is tiny as it is.

We have had 3 people down re the loft extension and it can be done but the space up there would be tiny, they would have to make my already small bathroom smaller and would cost as much as the new over the drive extension.

I am ttc at the moment and have had 2 m/c's. I really can do without the stress tbh but on the other hand, I need to either get this extension or move.

LouMacca Wed 22-Jun-11 14:12:11

We have a single storey full length extension and our neighbours have been lovely. We showed them the plans, they asked us if we would consider a couple of changes which we did and all has gone well.

My friend has had a similar extension to us and their neighbours have been absolute nightmare to the extent that they actually shout names (bitch, cow, etc.) at my friend now whenever they see her.

I doubt that your houses would look like terraced houses as that is not actually allowed. They still have a full drive, I honestly don't see what the problem is. There is nothing they can do about it anyway, it's just a shame that they are acting this way before the extension has even gone up.........

jesterjangles Wed 22-Jun-11 14:15:19

Bramshott I really don't like falling out with people. I feel awkward leaving the house just in case they are there. Do you say hello as normal or ignore them? What if they start shouting again? Fortunately it hasn't happened yet.

I was thinking that if it does get passed then we could talk as it will be done anyway so if we can come to compromises on how the building should be done to make it easier for everyone then that will be better.

MollysChamber Wed 22-Jun-11 14:18:40

Say a polite hello if you see them and keep on walking.

Scholes34 Wed 22-Jun-11 14:18:50

It's really important to talk through your plans with the neighbours and keep them on your side if at all possible. For our loft, our side window had to be obscured and fixed. It's actually clear and can open (for cleaning). We told our neighbour what was required, we told them what we really wanted, but that they could object. Instead, they agreed they had no objections.

Bramshott Wed 22-Jun-11 14:19:11

I would be friendly and polite as normal.

Scholes34 Wed 22-Jun-11 14:23:23

jester not sure of your lay out, but our loft has kept the pitch of the roof on the front of the house, the hip roof has been built up to give a gable end and the room in the loft basically comes out as a box to the back. It's massive, and could easily be divided into two rooms (we're a relatively small semi). The landing was wide enough to take a staircase, so haven't had to lose any space on the first floor.

Scholes34 Wed 22-Jun-11 14:28:55

jester - there's a booklet available here - http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/partywall - which gives some good information on the Party Wall act and some useful standard letters of the kind you may have to use to correspond with your neighbours. It will give you an idea of the kind of approach you should adopt when dealing with them.

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