Want to build extension - we're allowed to, but neighbours don't like it - what to do?

(17 Posts)
londonian Tue 08-Mar-16 21:51:02

Hi, we have a terraced house and we want to build an extension on our kitchen. Our architect tells us our plans will be allowed by planning, but our neighbours very much don't want us to build. We've told them we're very happy for them to put in objections, as we believe in the planning process and we think it's the best way to balance what both sides want. But they're asking us to reduce what we want to do to less than what we're allowed to do. It seems they're not being unreasonable - they're on our north side and the extension would put a bit of their garden into shadow - but isn't that what the planning rules and guidelines are for? We don't want to fall out with them, but equally if we built what they were happy with it wouldn't be worth building. What to do?

wowfudge Tue 08-Mar-16 22:42:16

I say build what you want. It's a risk you run when you live in a terrace or even a semi-detached house. You can see where they are coming from, but honestly if the boot were on the other foot would they compromise to keep you happy?

Pangurban1 Tue 08-Mar-16 23:33:21

Is the extension one of the much larger ones allowed by the government in their relaxation of the planning rules for a set period of time? I do think they have mucked up planning.

Having said that (and I don't know if that is your extension), you may as well build what you are allowed under the planning rules. Their objections will be taken into account in the planning process. You are not doing anything underhand and they would be unreasonable to be out with you if you do everything by the book.

londonian Wed 09-Mar-16 02:36:17

Thanks Pangurban, I don't know the answer to that, it's 3 metres long, 3 metres high, and goes up to the boundary. Is that much larger? They do have full rights to make objections though.

It's difficult though. We've only been in our street for a year, they've been here for decades. And they're very exercised about it.

JontyDoggle37 Wed 09-Mar-16 02:55:45

I've had similar with a neighbour who had been there for years and therefore thought everything should be done their way and got very irate when it wasn't. You buy property for a reason - so you can do what you want with it. If it creates a small amount of extra shadow, they're being unreasonable. If it puts their whole garden in shadow, that's a bit different. Could you have glass roofing that would allow light to travel through?

londonian Wed 09-Mar-16 03:20:35

Hi Jonty, it doesn't put their whole garden in shadow, no. But as they're on our north side, the shadow they normally get from the garden fence would be increased as they'd now have a new higher boundary wall.

They're looking to object using something called the 45 degree rule, which is an old rule of thumb. I'm very happy for them to object and if they win, fair play. But unfortunately for them the 45 degree rule doesn't apply to permitted developments. If we did apply the rule then our extension wouldn't really be worth building.

It's a difficult one. Glass roofing wouldn't be the answer though - it's the new wall we'd be putting up that is the issue for them.

Out2pasture Wed 09-Mar-16 03:47:49

if you compromise from the plans you like (and would most likely be approved) there is no guarantee the neighbors won't move. then you would have years of being disappointed that you didn't go with your initial plan. if you on the other hand only plan on living there as a stepping stone to another location then maybe the neighbors input might take on more weight.

AgathaF Wed 09-Mar-16 04:13:40

You should go ahead and build. It's unfortunate for them, but one of those things. Someone else could move into your house and build something much bigger that would have a further detrimental effect on them. Or you could plant a tree in your garden that would put their garden in more shade than your proposed extension.

If you can build this under permitted development rules, then I don't think they get the opportunity to object, since you wouldn't need planning permission, just building regs. If you need planning permission for it then they can object, but it is very unlikey that their objection will prevent permission being granted.

londonian Wed 09-Mar-16 04:31:40

Hi AgathaF, we do need planning permission because there's another bit of our proposed extension (that doesn't affect these neighbours) that is strictly speaking outside of permitted development. But the bit that affects our neighbours is within permitted development. So, just as you say, they can make objections - and they are welcome to - but their objections are unlikely to prevent permission being granted.

It's hard though. They're elderly and have lived in the house for donkeys years. They're very unhappy. And he's a retired architect and no doubt knows how to make our lives difficult with party wall agreements etc etc.

If we get permission, we'd still have to decide - do we build, or not build, or try to alter our plans slightly. As people are pointing out, if we alter our plans, we might regret it in the future if our neighbours move on etc. And frankly it wouldn't take much of an alteration for us to think it's not worth building.

GiraffesAndButterflies Wed 09-Mar-16 05:42:56

They're elderly and have lived in the house for donkeys years. They're very unhappy.

You are kind to consider that but it's not really the right factor. The rules are there to give a reasonable amount of allowed development and then a cutoff beyond which you have to apply for pp. Yours is allowed under the rules, so do it. Second guessing it for the sake of a 'bit of' garden shade is the way madness lies IMO.

icklekid Wed 09-Mar-16 06:04:21

As someone whose extension went through planning permission without objection only to then have a nightmare dispute with party wall act I would advise you meet with them and see if you can come to a mutual agreement - not compromising the most important thing but trying to at least get them on side. It can be very expensive and drag out a long time otherwise!

Pooka Wed 09-Mar-16 06:50:08

Can you do the planning permission separate to the permitted development? If proposing the permitted development as part of a larger development, then the council will apply their policies about impact on residential amenity and while there might be a fall-back position that you could argue if you go to appeal, doesn't mean that it's a dead cert. this is why quite often people build something unpalatable as permitted development, then apply for planning permission for the non controversial, separate element.

Example - we built a loft extension years ago that our local council wee not keen on. Did that as permitted development. And then applied for planning permission for the non controversial extension at the back.

Alternatively, is there a way you could have a dual pitched roof with a central ridge, so the height of the extension on either side is only slightly above a 2m high fence, rising to a central, higher ridge in the middle of the back of your house?

Ireallydontseewhy Wed 09-Mar-16 06:58:41

Icklekid can you say more about your party wall act nightmare? I thought that as the party wall act doesn't enable anyone to prevent you doing what you've got ppermission for (just how you do it), it couldn't really give rise to too much acrimony. Wrong?

superram Wed 09-Mar-16 07:03:24

As someone whose neighbour is still try to use the party wall act as a stick to beat us with 2 years after the work is done-don't be fooled! They will make the agreement as ridiculous as possible-they can't stop you doing anything, they can just make life difficult.

Honeyandfizz Wed 09-Mar-16 07:03:56

We are currently going through the very same thing. Moved into a 1930s semi 20 months ago and are proposing a 3m deep extension. Neighbours adjoining us are in their 70s and have been there for 40 odd years. The woman has never spoken a word to us and the man is on hello terms only. We thought long and hard about it as they have a conservatory which has all clear glass panels and as we are east facing our extension will block some of their light into it at certain times of the day. We have stepped it in 1m from the boundary and have gone for a flat roof to try and keep the pitch as low as possible.

He has already consulted a solicitor and will appoint a party wall surveyor at our cost (dh has already spoken to him about it). We will get the planning notice next week which should be passed as we have kept within the planning rules (45 degree angle, design etc) but its made me feel very guilty about the whole thing. I do not want to upset them but the house is simply too small. Many others have extended in the same way around here and its not an overly large extension. We are white rendering it too so its brighter than a brick wall. I think you have to go ahead and just accept that they will not like it, or probably talk to you again !

icklekid Wed 09-Mar-16 08:24:09

So property is rented so owner appointed representative. This individual has demanded detailed drawings and additional surveys above and beyond what was required for planning permission or building regs. His words when met with my builder and us were "I don't care if it meets building regs I want it done to my satisfaction." It is so frustrating but think we are finally getting there. Need him to put in writing when he wants to inspect on site. Legally I'm not sure how much say he really has but making life as difficult as possible so far!

ABetaDad1 Wed 09-Mar-16 08:34:40

londonian - the bottom line here is that if your elderly neighbours sell - guess what the buyer of their property will do?

The elderly neighbour will be only too happy to bump up the asking price to take account of the 'potential' for building a large extension on their house.

Just tell them to go and take a running jump. Stick to he planning rules and they no doubt will soon start thinking about how much they could add to the value of their house, especially if he is a retired architect.

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