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Problem with neighbour's extension

(57 Posts)
Upnorth123 Tue 28-Mar-17 00:21:55

We moved into our dream home last October. We didn't see anything of one of our neighbours until relatively recently but were reassured when then introduced themselves that they were very friendly. The problems began around 6 weeks ago when they started to remove their existing conservatory and build a huge extension. It covers the full length of their semi- detached house and is around 3.7m in height.
The issue is that the side wall which has just gone up of comes within 70cm of our shared boundary with the 3.7m high wall and the fact it extends around 6m out from the rear of the house casting a shadow over our living room window.
We received no notification of the extension from the neighbour, the previous owner or our solicitor. Nothing at all. They obtained planning permission for the development in 2015. The previous owner (a dear old lady) mentioned they had shown her plans but assured here the new extension would be no higher than the old conservatory - it is and is significantly higher.
Now that we have inspected the plans there is no indication of the height of the construction other than mention of a 2m high window going along the back of the extension.
We are contacting planning tomorrow. Does anyone have any idea if we have any legal grounds to complain, have the extension reduced in a size a little? It clearly says on the land that all planning is subject to neighbour consultation - we had nothing but are worried that the previous owner who had long since left before the building started may have been cajoled into giving consent in some way.
Any help would be much appreciated.

RTKangaMummy Tue 28-Mar-17 01:05:39

Can you see it on council pages?

Surely the solicitor would have known about it when you bought the house?

In our old house next door had plans approved to build a rear extension and the buyers solicitors were fully aware if plans etc even though it was not near our house that we were selling

I don't know about party wall agreement if you are selling but check that is in place cos should be for being that close

Do a Google search for stuff about party wall agreements, they can be mega expensive for the house building cos we had to get them for here and next door wanted independent people that we had to pay for. They would have to pay for yours

The plans should have heights etc perhaps you haven't seen all pages?

RTKangaMummy Tue 28-Mar-17 01:08:41

It might have been done under permitted development which was a scheme by an mp whose name I have forgotten

RTKangaMummy Tue 28-Mar-17 01:17:24

Sir Eric pickles I think is his name

LIZS Tue 28-Mar-17 02:06:34

Even a permitted development plan has to be submitted via the local council. Your conveyancer should have picked this up on searches. Tbh unless they have contravened the limits of pd or what was agreed on pp , I suspect you are stuck with it. Our local council website does have applications going back about 10 years online.

Collaborate Tue 28-Mar-17 07:10:28

Even a permitted development plan has to be submitted via the local council. No it doesn't. That's the whole point of it.

HiDBandSIL Tue 28-Mar-17 07:21:30

Your best bet is to obtain a copy of the plans from your local authority's planning website and check whether what they're building conforms to the plans - i.e. what they have permission to build. If it does, I'm afraid you're stuck with it. You could only have objected during the consultation period before the decision was made to grant permission. There is no right for you to appeal this decision. If it materially differs, contact planning enforcement ASAP.

As a PP asked, were you not made aware of this when you bought the house? I suppose you might have some recourse against your solicitor if you weren't.

It doesn't sound as though they're doing anything that requires your consent under the party wall act. If they're excavating below a certain depth within a certain distance of your home they may be required to notify you but you won't be able to stop the work, just increase the cost of it by the cost of a party wall award.

It doesn't make any difference but a PP incorrectly states that a PD exension still has to be submitted to planning authority. It doesn't - only if you want a lawful development certificate / the work falls under the larger extensions scheme that requires neighbour consultation.

HiDBandSIL Tue 28-Mar-17 07:25:06

It clearly says on the land that all planning is subject to neighbour consultation

Where does it say this?

(It's not likely to be significant as your neighbours clearly consulted with their neighbour at the time - the lady you bought from)

Honeyandfizz Tue 28-Mar-17 07:28:03

HiDB is correct, they already have pp and so do not need to consult you on this matter. Your solicitor should have brought it up. Red flags would have gone up for me if the previous owner had mentioned it and I would have checked on the planning portal myself.

The only recourse you have here is that they have not adhered to the party wall act, however that will not stop the build only suspend it.

Upnorth123 Tue 28-Mar-17 07:34:37

Regarding 'permitted development' it doesn't qualify for that as it's over 3m in height less than 2m from my boundary - 70 cms in fact! As I mentioned, it wasn't until this week that it bothered us as the full extent of the height of it became evident - there is no height information on the plans which are on the council website. It does say, very clearly on the plans that the development must be agreed/neighbours need notification. We had nothing which is the main angst here. We knew they were building an extension but didn't realise it was going to be anywhere near that big. The previous owner was told it was going to be no higher than their old conservatory - the solicitor didn't mention anything.
After looking more closely at the plans, it seems pretty obvious that the build is a fair bit higher than the original plans.
As regards the earlier comment re:party walll as excavations were very close to my boundary - again, notification.
I've contacted a right to light surveyor who seems interested in our case.
If they removed 6 or 7 layers of bricks then we'd have absolutely no problem - they know that but the build continues at pace. We're contacting the local planning department this morning - I'll keep you all updated.

Honeyandfizz Tue 28-Mar-17 07:38:06

Also to add, i am currently selling my house with pp for a large rear extension across the back of my house. Both of my neighbours objected but as the extension falls within the councils planning rules it was passed anyway. If your neighbours have had it passed by the council and are building within this then you will unfortunately have nothing to object against.

Honeyandfizz Tue 28-Mar-17 07:41:54

I am sorry but I do not understand. In your op you state they already have planning permission, they therefore would have previously undergone neighbour consultation in 2015 when submitting it.

Footle Tue 28-Mar-17 08:07:03

This should have come up in the search which you paid your solicitor to make.

RTKangaMummy Tue 28-Mar-17 08:12:11

I can't work out in my head how high 3.7m is so please forgive my dimness

Does it reach their upstairs windows?

If so, does it reach the upstairs Windows in the plans?

You should be able to see from the plans how the finished thing will be, have they been given PP for one storey and are building 2 or is it a sloping roof

Could you photograph the plans without giving away the address so we can see what they show and what you say they are doing?it will then be easier for us to work out the problem

AgainstTheOddsNo2 Tue 28-Mar-17 08:13:02

The height and distance from the boundary you quote makes me think you have looked at pd for outbuildings.

This height and depth would have required a prior notification application. This can only be refused if the council has received objections on amenity grounds from the neighbours.

It seems the lady you bought off did not object and the plans were approved.

The max height and depth would have to be stated on the application form

LeonardoAcropolis Tue 28-Mar-17 08:22:43

If they're building up to your boundary they may need to give you a Party Wall Notice. Please check that out asap.

RTKangaMummy Tue 28-Mar-17 08:34:15

What did your solicitor say about it before you bought it?

Did he/she look at the plans?

Ask for more details from anyone in writing?

Do you have anything in writing from the solicitor about the plans or what was being built?

If not, why not?

bignamechangeroonie Tue 28-Mar-17 08:38:48

3.7m is only 12 feet, perfectly normal height for an extension.

I don't think you will get anywhere with this and you've literally no chance of getting them to pull it down or knock 2 feet off.

You could ask them very politely, invite them round for a drink and show them the impact.

But actually preventing them is really unlikely and you don't want to ruin your relationship and move. You could consider also building an extension?

unfortunateevents Tue 28-Mar-17 08:41:11

If planning permission was granted in 2015 as you said, there would have been no consultation for you to be involved in as you only moved in last October. The consultation period was long over. You did know there was a possibility of the extension going up as the previous owner mentioned it. However, you shouldn't just have taken her word on the extent and height just because she was a "nice old lady". You could/should have checked with the planning department, could probably have done it online. It sounds though as if they are not sticking to the original plans if they applied for a single story extension and this now appears to be two storys. I wouldn't go rushing off to instruct a Rights to Light surveyor yet though, go back to the solicitor who handled the sale and see why this did not come up at the time.

Upnorth123 Tue 28-Mar-17 08:44:50

The Pd for rear extensions states that if within 2m of the boundary then the max height is 3m. Obviously this made them then require planning permission as it is 3.7m.
I've scrutinised the plans on the council website. There is no mention of a max height but looking at the drawing and comparing it to other features of there house it looks a fair bit higher than the documents on the council portal which were passed.
When the wall went up the neighbour was upset as to the height. Unfortunately not enough to do anything about it!
As well as the no mention of height on the plans, the fact that neither my solicitor or the lady I bought the house from mentioned anything about the development has caused us upset. May it be worth looking in to negligence on their behalf?

Upnorth123 Tue 28-Mar-17 08:45:48

Thanks for advice unfortunate events - very apt username in this instance!

AgainstTheOddsNo2 Tue 28-Mar-17 08:50:51

It is a maximum eaves height of 3 m. If it is a sloping roof it can go up to 4m.

If you think it is not being built in accordance with the plans complain to your local planning Enforcement team they will check the height against the approved plans (which you should be able to measure off)

bignamechangeroonie Tue 28-Mar-17 08:50:57

If it's higher than it says on planning portal you could call the planning officer (right now before they get the roof on). They will usually go round and check as part of the process, mine did at different times - to check the insulation before the floor went down, to check the insulation in the walls, check the glass they were putting in conformed to code.

You don't have to say it's you.

AgainstTheOddsNo2 Tue 28-Mar-17 08:51:56

Didn't you say the lady had mentioned it?

80sMum Tue 28-Mar-17 08:52:20

You need to read all the planning documents very carefully and find out exactly what permissions were granted, with what provisos.

Then compare the agreed development with the actual development. If it differs, then you can report it. I would suggest, in the case of reporting, that you write down clearly all the known breaches of the agreed plan and request a face to face meeting with the planning officer. Take lots of photos. Take as much evidence to the meeting as you can muster.

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