I had a thread a few days ago about our new neighbours application for planning permission. They want to do two things - change of use from dwelling to HMO and convert the garage into a room. This is not as grim as it sounds as we spoke to them when they first bought the house and the intention is for their adult child and some others of similar age (all of who have disabilities) to live semi-independently. Dh and I are fully supportive of this and look forward to being good neighbours. So - not totally happy with the HMO thing although I understand that is less of a problem than I'd feared. I am planning to ring the planning department to ask exactly what that means - it was suggested on the other thread that the licence would only apply to the current owners etc - and definitely will be doing so on Monday because today a window has appeared in the side wall, ground floor, which borders our property. We assume it's the bathroom window (the garage being converted in to an en suite bedroom). If so surely it will be opaque glass but even so I am annoyed about where it is. As soon as you step out of our back door you can see it. It kind of 'dominates' what was previously a totally boring wall and if they had built it about a foot to the right we wouldn't be able to see it from the garden because it would be in line with our house (similar windowless wall). So now I am feeling a bit pissed off. The plans that were submitted for the planning application don't say what type of glass will be used but it must be opaque given the use. But then what's to stop somebody else buying the house, repurposing the room and putting in a non-opaque window. Crikey this is annoying! Can we insist it is opaque glass and remains so? Also is it normal to start extensive works when you don't have the planning permission (yet). The chap who lives opposite has objected to the HMO by the way.
Being overlooked is one of the issues planning officers will bear in mind. You can have a planning permission which specifies that the glass must be approved, or that no windows are built in a certain wall. How you approach this with the planners and still stay on reasonable terms with your neighbours is a tricky balance.
Not all works require planning permission. They might (might) just be doing the works which don't need planning.