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No notification, neighbor's extension under construction, anything I can do?

(23 Posts)
JJJHeimerSchmidt Wed 18-May-16 11:17:20

Wondering if anyone has any advice here.

DH and I own a semi-detached house in Scotland. The neighbors that share the internal wall with us have started construction on an extension.

We received no notification whatsoever of their plans. Which, it turns out, are a top-and-bottom floor extension out the back (which will definitely overlook our garden), decking that goes right up to our property line, a garage, and a 6-foot fence between our back yards to "protect our privacy". There isn't a whole lot of land to build on - the yards are small suburban ones, and it's not as though there are acres of land and plenty of space around the houses. Can't help but think that once it's all done, the light coming into our garden and house is going to be a lot more blocked than it used to be.

Besides the privacy/sunlight concerns, we share clothesline poles with these neighbors, the rights to which are specified in our deed. So, when the neighbors finish their decking, 6-ft fence between the backyards, etc., the clothesline poles on their side of the line will surely have to come out. So, we'll lose outdoor drying space and be forced into paying for a project to fix that somehow.

Called my local council for information, and the assistant helpfully told me that we were surely notified last year, because it says so right there on her computer. confused We checked with our neighbors on the other side of the property in question, and they say they haven't received any notification either.

Do we have any rights here? sad Their extension plans were approved by the council, but even though the council says they notified us, we're certain they did not.

ChicRock Wed 18-May-16 11:19:44

I'm pretty sure when we converted our garage the notification to the neighbours was basically a letter sellotaped to the lamppost in our street and a notice in the local paper.

AlpacaLypse Wed 18-May-16 11:24:13

England here. We've had letters, through the post, about all the planning proposals within three or four buildings distance in the past 16 years.

I'd definitely pursue this, preferably in concert with your neighbours that also don't seem to have had any opportunity to raise any objections.

TondelayaDellaVentamiglia Wed 18-May-16 11:26:44

have you looked online for planning applications, or even phoned the planning dept?

Pretty certain they are obliged to notify you even if there is pretty much bugger all to be done about it if you don't like it.

NoSquirrels Wed 18-May-16 11:27:09

Surely there also needs to be a party-wall agreement? Or is it different in Scotland.

I think I would be getting together with the other neighbours and complaining VERY loudly to the council.

peggyundercrackers Wed 18-May-16 11:27:30

We are in Scotland and get told about development via a letter by post however there was one occasion where we didn't hear and the council admitted they didn't send out the letters, we were not going to oppose the develpment but that wasn't the point.

namechangedtoday15 Wed 18-May-16 11:56:09

They'd only need a party wall agreement in certain circumstances - have a look at the act online.

I think the fence is a non-issue, I think anyone is entitled to install a 6 foot fence (but not over 6 foot) - thats the case in England anyway as far as I'm aware. Also the decking is a non-issue too, they can do whatever they want with that as long as its on their land. Garage - presume this is not attached to your property?

So the issue is the extension? I'd put it in writing to the Council that you were not notified but I'd be surprised if they would withdraw (retrospectively) the permission.

LizzieMacQueen Wed 18-May-16 14:00:23

Pretty bad manners of your neighbours to do this without even informing you.

Have you looked at your local council planning portal? I'm familiar with the Stirlingshire one and it is really easy to navigate.

Good advice above to get other neighbours to complain. Looks like it has been an administration oversight if they were also not informed.

ElectroStallion Wed 18-May-16 14:22:57

Seems pretty weird of neighbours not to let you know informally of a two-storey extension!
Have you seen the plans now? I presume Scotland is the same as England with not allowing windows to overlook neighbours' house?

angelopal Wed 18-May-16 15:18:50

Is the clothesline poles marked as a shared area on the deeds? If so I would have thought they cannot build on it or fence it off. Our garden has a shared drying area marked on our deeds so it cannot be fenced off. Would call the council and check.

Teabag2 Wed 18-May-16 15:32:20

Very Strange - we are with West Lothian council. Our neighbours were informed of a garage conversion we did on our previous house and we got notification of garden alterations of a neighbour as the decking would have overlooked our house. Something that big can't just go under the radar, think someone at the council has forgotten to inform neighbours!

JJJHeimerSchmidt Wed 18-May-16 16:14:12

I starting to think someone at the council ticked a box saying they informed the neighbors but did not. The assistant I spoke to on the phone said I should "get in touch with Royal Mail". Give me a break.

The neighbors who are extending definitely did not inform us themselves, even informally. They bought the house from a relative. I spoke to one of the owners once a couple years ago - he informed me that he and his partner lived several miles away, and that he'd be doing up the house inside, so to expect some renovation noise here and there. Nothing about extension plans.

My DH and I are going to try talking to some more neighbors tonight.

All of the plans and planning permission letter are available online, but the council have kind of gone and determined no issue with regards to our house, without even talking to us.

lalalonglegs Wed 18-May-16 16:24:54

In England, as soon as you put an application in, you can expect your neighbours to be plagued by surveyors offering to act on their behalf in any party wall agreement - does that happen in Scotland too? If so, it's strange that neither you nor your neighbour were informed and no surveyors contacted you.

Again in England, there are rules about raising the height of a garden through decking so if they are essentially building a platform which will just over a slope, you may be able to protest (it is unlikely that they will have included this in any planning application) and there are also rules about how much garden is allowed to be covered in decking see here.

peggyundercrackers Wed 18-May-16 17:20:54

I wonder if they are doing this under permitted development as its under a certain size, is it 30sq mtrs? If it's under permitted development they might not need to apply for planning. If they have applied for planning it will be on the councils planning portal with details of the plans etc.

i don't think they need to tell the council they are putting a fence up or putting decking down

namechangedtoday15 Wed 18-May-16 19:40:09

I might be wrong but I don't think a double storey extension can count as permitted development? ?

peggyundercrackers Wed 18-May-16 20:27:39

Name change I think they can since the law changed a couple of years ago.

namechangedtoday15 Wed 18-May-16 21:04:17

I stand corrected blush

Eminado Wed 18-May-16 21:51:32

OP do you just not like them? Rallying up the neighbours over a washing line seems very mean to me.

JJJHeimerSchmidt Wed 18-May-16 22:18:08

I barely know them, but I'm sure they'll appreciate your concern. No, my main issue is there is a huge two-story extension being built in my neighbor's tiny suburban garden, which is going to overlook and overshadow my equally tiny suburban garden, as well as several other neighbors' tiny suburban gardens, and they have not bothered to notify any of us themselves, and the council have cocked up with notifying us properly too.

Spoke to the neighbors the council climate it contacted. None of us received notice about this. Kinda fishy that several letters the council insisted it posted could simultaneously be "lost in the mail".

JJJHeimerSchmidt Wed 18-May-16 22:19:03

Claims it contacted. Climate has nothing to do with it...

JJJHeimerSchmidt Wed 18-May-16 22:21:29

They have been granted planning permission from the council for this but they were absolutely supposed to inform us. Otherwise the council wouldn't try fobbing me off with saying "of course we contacted you and 20-odd other neighbors about it, yours must have gotten lost".

ElectroStallion Thu 19-May-16 08:36:12

Eminado- did you read the thread? This isn't about a washing line! A two-storey extension in a small garden, where houses are already v close together, is really upsetting.
I just cannot understand the mindset of people extending and not informing neighbours. Surely they need to warn of noise and disruption, builder's vans, deliveries etc. It's just so inconsiderate.

Eminado Fri 20-May-16 04:36:53

I have read the thread thank you Electro.

Like the OP, I am surprised that a whole bunch of letters could just go missing. If we put aside the rude neighbours, I am surprised at a Council blatantly disregarding procedure in this way if the proposed development is as significant as described.

OP, and Stallion, - I am not sure why you are having a go at me confused. I just asked a question -
mainly to ascertain if there was history or something. I don't have a dog in this fight so no need for the sarcasm - I have no "concern" for your rude neighbours!

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