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To be suspicious of this (on the surface of it) friendly note?

(166 Posts)
Genx77 Fri 04-Mar-16 11:06:54

So, the house next door has sold, it's been empty for 2 years as the elderly previous resident is now in a care home.
It's a big house (6 beds) needs a good amount of work to make it habitable.
Today I receive a gushing 'notelet' on expensive personalised stationary in the post from the new owner of the house. To summarise he states he is so sorry not to have met us in person, he will clear his schedule at our earliest convenience to meet up in our home to discuss 'a few planning permission queries'
Hmm, on the surface friendly, husband thinks I'm nuts, that it's nice he's introducing himself instead of just cracking on.

Would I be cynical to presume he can't just 'crack on' because in fact he needs our permission to carry out any works on the house as these works will affect us/our home in some way? We are currently not overlooked as any windows onto our property are bathrooms, would he need planning permission to change these?

Ponder away with me mumsnetters, I'm waiting for him to call me back!

JennyOnAPlate Fri 04-Mar-16 11:08:34

I'm cynical too op. Is the house big enough to be converted into flats? That would be my first thought.

SolidGoldBrass Fri 04-Mar-16 11:11:25

It may well be that he wants to soften you up prior to doing something that will not be in your favour.
Bear in mind that there are laws covering planning/building works, and while you can listen to the new owners and be polite to them, you do not have to comply with their wishes. You can oppose their plans, etc, if you object to them.

cavedescreux Fri 04-Mar-16 11:11:25

You're right to be cynical.

MadisonMontgomery Fri 04-Mar-16 11:14:32

Ha. Yes he is definitely doing something major & wants to get you on side.

RebootYourEngine Fri 04-Mar-16 11:18:03

I would be cynical. He is trying to butter you up so that he can either build a huge extension or chop the house into flats.

Katenka Fri 04-Mar-16 11:19:14

It could be either.

I wish our neighbour had told us before they renovated their property even though it didn't need permission X

Katenka Fri 04-Mar-16 11:19:24

Tha kiss was by accident

MyLifeisaboxofwormgears Fri 04-Mar-16 11:20:18

Yes - a property developer - they normally start out all friendly and try to convince you he is lovely and you won't object to anything he does.

Anyone who writes "clearing their schedule" in a note is bound to be on the make.

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Fri 04-Mar-16 11:21:07

He's going to knock it down and build a dozen 2 & 3 bedroom houses on the site.

Genx77 Fri 04-Mar-16 11:21:16

Yes, it could be flats, it's basically a large 3 storey Victorian house, perfect in fact for 3 flats.....
I'm not against it being flats but I'm certainly against fire escapes, less parking than their is now and windows looking into my property....

AdrenalineFudge Fri 04-Mar-16 11:22:36

I would be cynical too. It sounds as if he's planning something and will need you on side.

Genx77 Fri 04-Mar-16 11:23:37

It's not quite that big milk!
Ok, so he wants something from me and I'm right to be cynical is the general consensus? To be honest I thought I was right, NOBODY is that nice, the notelet was a step too far my friend.....

LoisWilkersonsLastNerve Fri 04-Mar-16 11:23:44

The note paper and 'schedule clear' comment screams professional developer to me.

Whatthefreakinwhatnow Fri 04-Mar-16 11:24:36

Well no, he doesn't need your permission at all does he, he needs the councils. You are of course welcome to oppose them, but you can't just say no, we don't want you doing that confused

Hopefully it won't be as bad as you fear, but if you really don't want to live next door to flats, start looking at what's on the market at your budget. Flats are rarely denied planning in our area, I know of several investors who are doing exactly this, and with the housing shortage they are getting easy approval

CreamofTartar Fri 04-Mar-16 11:24:37

Your husband is being naïve. You are being softened up ahead of major alterations/extension etc on the neighbouring house by a developer. Don't give an inch, and do some research on the planning section of your local council website to see what needs permission, and what grounds you can legitimately object on.

EssentialHummus Fri 04-Mar-16 11:26:49

I think I'd be suggesting that he needs to set out any plans to you in writing as you're not able to clear your schedule because your 12 lovely children are recovering from that last bout of D&V / your resident MIL is in the final stages of training to be a witch doctor and has demanded total silence / you've unfortunately just been appointed senior partner of a large City law firm and you're therefore booked up until 2018.

Cheeky fecker.

lottiegarbanzo Fri 04-Mar-16 11:30:08

Yup. There's an outside chance it's someone with impeccable 'old fashioned' good manners (do many of us these days have headed notepaper?). It's most very likely that they will be applying for planning permission to which you are likely to object and to which your objection would be taken seriously by the planning authority.

If that is the case you are in a strong bargaining position, they will have to listen to your concerns and may well alter their plans slightly to meet them.

They can't make you agree to anything, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by finding out in detail about their plans - and by forming a good relationship. They're far more likely to be accommodating if they find you pleasant and reasonable. If they think you'll object for objection's sake, they'll have no incentive to negotiate and will take the risk of trying to push their unmitigated plans through, against your objections. They may succeed.

So, meet, listen, don't promise anything other than you'll think about it and stay in touch. Then be reasonable. But, if what they're planning is utterly objectionable to you, talk to the planners about the likelihood of something like that being approved and of what your best grounds for objection would be. It's about planning law but it's also all about relationships.

Whatthefreakinwhatnow Fri 04-Mar-16 11:32:47

There are very few grounds on which you can object, for example saying it will reduce the value of your property isn't one,but blocking natural light to your property is.

Start researching it now, so that you are armed with grounds you can use,should you choose to.

Maudd Fri 04-Mar-16 11:33:30

I don't think he'd need planning permission to change a bathroom to a bedroom, and if that made you feel more overlooked I'm not sure there's much you could do, although I sympathise. I agree with PPs, he's softening you up because he intends doing major works which will affect you. He doesn't need your permission, but when he applies to the council for planning permission, they will give you the opportunity to object.

bibliomania Fri 04-Mar-16 11:35:52

I thinking of an episode of Grand Designs where they wanted to use part of all the neighbours' garden to Realize their Grand Vision.

frostyfingers Fri 04-Mar-16 11:37:23

Personally I'd rather learn of any plans or intentions from the horse's mouth so to speak than have an application or notice from the council appear on the doormat all of a sudden.

When we wanted to do something that needed permission we went round to our neighbours to let them know what we wanted to do and if they had any thoughts or objections. A couple of things were pointed out to us which we incorporated and planning permission went through no problem.

I agree it does sound like a developer rather than a private individual but you've nothing to lose by meeting him (know your enemy and all that!). It's a lot easier to raise your objections before it gets to the planning stage. Just make sure you take lots of notes and don't agree to anything on the spot!

Icouldbeknitting Fri 04-Mar-16 11:38:34

Your husband is naive. Your NDN is going to be applying for planning permission and he wants you to hear it from him first before you hear from the council.

ColdAndGloomy Fri 04-Mar-16 11:39:27

See, I don't think you need to be cynical to read into this that he is trying to get you onside. The note doesn't try to hide that he is going to do something needing planning permission and he doesn't want you to object.

ceebie Fri 04-Mar-16 11:41:50

In my view, your objection to any planning application will bear very little weight, as the planning officers will already have considered the visual impacts of the proposals, the impacts on highways and parking, whether it overlooks your property etc. So they will either approve or refuse based on whether these and other issues have been appropriately addressed, irrespective of your objection.

Therefore he is trying to be nice in order to make the process as pleasant and cordial as possible in the circumstances, but ultimately you won't have very much power over what he wants to do and it's likely that he will be able to do it anyway.

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