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Right to Light - extension

(10 Posts)
beepbeep Wed 13-Jul-11 14:55:18

We live in a semi and next to us is a detached house (all built at same time in 'cul-de-sac containing just the three houses). We have a garage built onto our property that is build up to our boundary with our neighbours and forms a 'corridor' that gives them access to their rear garden.

Our house is quite bizarre in that our adjoining neighbours house has a different lay out to ours despite being semis, they are linked semis with their garage built into the property. They also have a different roof line to us.

What we are proposing is that we bring our garage forward so it's in line with the house as currently set quite far back, then convert some of this into family area and then go up a level for 2 extra bedrooms. It would then mirror next door's roof line.

ANYWAY . . . the concern is that the detached house have a small bathroom window that would only be about 1 metre from our new wall, it is a frosted glass window. Would this result in us not getting planning permission or is there anything we could do to make things better for them?

Any advise greatly appreciated. Thanks

Mandy21 Wed 13-Jul-11 15:54:09

We had a visit from an architect yesterday as we also want to do a 2 storey extension on the side - demolish the garage that is in the back garden, built it at the side of the house, fill in behind it and go above it down the length of the house.

The architect told us there are 2 issues - one is to do with the enjoyment of living (or something like that) and one is the right to light. As far as I understood the position, the right to light is not a planning permission issue - the planners don't generally look at that. It is a legal issue - something that your neighbour could take up with a solicitor to prevent you from building so close to his property if and when permission was granted.

The second issue is the right to enjoyment of living and thats where you could have a problem (and the issue that planners are concerned with). In our case, the neighbour's kitchen window looks onto our property and he said unless they altered the layout of their kitchen so that the windows were at the back of their property overlooking their garden (instead of being on the side of the property) we don't have a hope in hell of getting planning permission for a 2 story extension. I think the bathroom window might be slightly different, you're not looking out of a bathroom window - the fact that its frosted means the view is obscured in any event. I think you should be OK, subject to what the layout of the neighbours is downstairs. I think however that you wouldn't get permission to go all the way to the boundary with the double storey.


sixtiesqueen Wed 13-Jul-11 19:43:24

It's tricky to judge without seeing photos, however, the right to light issue is normally addressed by the 45 degree rule (you can't build a 2 storey extension inside a 45 degree angle drawn from the centre of the window which service's your neighbour's nearest habitable room). A bathroom is not a 'habitable room' so I'm not sure it would count.

Look on the 'planning portal' website for guidance.

sixtiesqueen Wed 13-Jul-11 19:44:26

Oh and the upstairs would have to come in by 1 metre from the boundary

beepbeep Thu 14-Jul-11 19:53:14

Thanks all, why would the upstairs have to come in a metre from the boundary sixtiesqueen?

pepperrabbit Thu 14-Jul-11 20:06:50

I think it's a fire thing. We've just had planning and the only way to get a window in the new ensuite where the wall is 960cm from the boundary was to beg agree to fit an intumescent ridiculously expensive one.
Apparently fire can jump that far...

pepperrabbit Thu 14-Jul-11 20:07:52

It wasn't planning - it was building regs that needed it, just to be clear!

hugglymugly Thu 14-Jul-11 20:46:25

What you could do is phone your local planning department and ask if you could have an informal chat about your ideas with one of their planning people, and take in some photos and a rough sketch of what you propose. Many (but not all) planning departments like this method because informal advice from them before you embark on the planning permission can save them work if your initials plans have issues that they then have write long letters about.

Mirroring the next door's roof line will probably be a good point in your favour as far as the planners are concerned. Both sixtiesqueen's's point about the NDN's bathroom window -v- enjoyment of light, and pepperrabbit's point about building regs and fire exits, are worth thinking about. If your local council has a helpful planning department, they're likely to also have a helpful building regs department.

sixtiesqueen Thu 14-Jul-11 21:31:04

The 'coming in by a metre' thing at first floor level is a pretty standard planning requirement across the country - your local authority might be different - but it's a rule enforced to prevent a terracing effect between houses - if you think about it then if all houses built to the boundary at first floor level, lots of houses would actually be joined together, hence a 'terracing effect.'

Some years ago the rules were different, indeed we extended a semi detached house at the same time as our neighbour and gained permission to join the houses at first floor level but the rules changed while we were building it (which was 2004). You may well see houses built to the boundary now but it's rare.

I know the our local authority goes by the rule and some friends of ours at the opposite end of the country received the same advice when they were thinking of buying a detached house which was separated from the neighbouring property by quite some distance. They wanted to build to the boundary upstairs and pre-planning advice said 'no.'

I think you are very unlikely to be given planning permission to build to your boundary on the first floor and that you need to think of a plan b. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news - I've just had a massive planning battle with my local authority so feel quite clued up on planning issues these days!

beepbeep Fri 15-Jul-11 10:40:45

Thanks, appreciate that. We'd assumed that as the garage is built to the boundary we would have no probes building another floor on top - bugger!!!

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