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Neighbour Objects to Planning Application

(398 Posts)
HooraySunshine Fri 25-Aug-17 17:54:48

Hello All I am feeling stressed and very upset by the past few weeks, so just here to vent really and seek advice ( and commiserations: ) if possible.
Anyone have a neighbour object to a planning application?
How do you not take it personally? Our neighbour has completely refused to speak to us about our plans. As soon as we mentioned the words 'Planning Application' they interrupted us to immediately said 'We'll object' before any other words could come out of our mouths. confused We offered to show them the blueprints, talk to our architect, etc. But they have completely refused. Even now, they don't seem to fully understand the plans they apparently looked up online, but they have formally 'strongly objected' to them to the planning officer. It seems they don't like change as there is no legitimate reason for their objections and a lot of what they have written and said is just a personal attack (i.e. if you don't like this house why did you buy it? If you don't like this house, move!, etc). They involved their children and grandchildren getting them to go door to door to all of the houses on my road to encourage everyone to object. hmm The children (in their 60's) and grandchildren (in their 30's) live over an hour away and I've never met them before, but they too have now formally objected to my application. confused (Can you object if you live 50 miles away and will in no way, shape or form be affected by the planning application?) Now my neighbour has requested a private meeting with the planning officer to 'plead their case'. (Can a neighbour request a private meeting? Shouldn't I be allowed to attend/defend myself?) The neighbour's children/grandchildren have also been trying to look DH and me up online. They've found where DH works, etc which is easy enough to find I guess, but I find that really creepy. Why are they looking us up? Who cares where DH works? What are they looking for? Why look for anything? Then they take what they find (however small), add some untruthful things and LOTS of innuendo to it, and spread it around to my other neighbours, most of whom I don't know. sad Like I said, it's really hard not to take all of this personally. It feels like I'm being attacked by a group of people (neighbour and their large family) I don't even know and for no reason. It's as if this has become their purpose in life, to ensure my application is declined. They've organised meetings, started a petition, phone calls, flyers, etc. I am starting to feel like I don't even want to live here anymore which is crazy because most of my 'attackers' live 50+ miles away in another county. They come here at the weekend under the guise of visiting mum/dad/grandparents, but instead spend their time trying to persuade MY other neighbours to complain, then leave back to their own houses/lives miles away from all the drama. So come here, stir up trouble, then leave. We've had a few weeks of this now and it seems really unfair. The irony is that the elderly couple next door causing all this drama has had not one but TWO single story extensions, but they never got planning permission for either. Two months ago they mentioned they were looking to sell their house and move into an assisted living facility, which begs the question 'why are you fighting so hard against my planning application if you won't even live here??' I think this 'fight' against my application has given them a new lease on life. It's like my planning application has given them a reason to get up in the morning, and perhaps their children and grandchildren a reason to visit more frequently than they have ever done before? If anyone in the world can object to my application, can anyone in the world write in an offer of support? My friends and family around the globe think my plans are great, have taken the time to look at the plans, listen to why I'm wanting to extend and fully understand what the plans are about. At the end of the day, these people have completely refused to speak to us about the plans, they don't want to listen or work anything out with us, it's just a flat 'We don't want change so you can't do anything to your house.' They've even complained when I changed the old wallpaper and carpets in my home, and when I replanted a few shrubs in my garden, and when I put in a new kitchen in my home, etc. It's completely OTT!
Anyone else experience something similar? Did your neighbour's children and grandchildren become involved in trying to stop your application even though they don't know you and do not live nearby? How did you keep your sanity? Whether or not the planning permission is decline or agreed, I still have to live next door to this elderly couple which I imagine will be thoroughly unpleasant either way. Anyone experience life after planning application when a neighbour has complained?

WhatwouldOliviaPopedo Fri 25-Aug-17 18:01:46

The planning bods should only take into account the views of those living in your street and potentially affected by the proposed building work, not people living 50 miles away! I wonder if the NDN are so concerned because they realise what trouble they could be in if the council finds out they did their extension without planning permission? I would talk to the council's planning department to alleviate your fears about whose views they take into account.
Our neighbour kicked up a stink when we were having our loft done. Didn't talk to us about it, but wrote a lengthy post on our online planning application demanding we send a surveyor round to their property because they had removed their chimney breasts and our loft extension might make their house unstable. In the end I fronted them out and cleared the air, but it doesn't sound like that would work here. What have the other neighbours said, the ones they've been trying to get on side? Can't believe they've drummed up a petition! hmm

flapjackfairy Fri 25-Aug-17 18:04:14

They sound nuts frankly!
And surely their relatives cant object ! Hopefully the planning dept will see through all this nonsense and will only be interested in any legitimate issues.
So sorry for your upset ! It is horrible. I would carry on being nice to the rest of the neighbours and ignore the loonies next door. I bet everyone knows what they are like already and the other neighbours will probably take little notice !
Hope you get your approval and can enjoy your home in peace x

LIZS Fri 25-Aug-17 18:06:23

Anyone can object to a planning application but it will only be taken seriously if the basis of the objection is specific grounds such as loss of light, out of keeping with area, environmental, highways etc. Does your council publish related correspondence on its website?

FaFoutis Fri 25-Aug-17 18:07:41

Having building work going on next door is awful. Even worse if you are elderly and stuck with the noise all day.
You might be excited about your blueprints but it's just misery for neighbours.

flapjackfairy Fri 25-Aug-17 18:11:04

Well presumably they made a noise and disrupted the neighbours when they built their 2 extensions so can hardly object on those grounds !

FaFoutis Fri 25-Aug-17 18:16:47

It depends on what the OP is planning to do,
I bought my house from an older couple who could no longer stand to live in it after enduring double story extensions being built front and back next door.

user1471531631 Fri 25-Aug-17 18:18:36

Have a look on your Council's website. There is likely to be information on what does and doesn't constitute a valid objection to a planning application. It doesn't matter if hundreds write in if they aren't raising valid issues. It's not the number of objections that count but whether they refer to relevant planning considerations. If you have an architect or planning agent working for you, get them to send the Council a letter explaining why any of the objections are not relevant. Good luck.

Carmichaela Fri 25-Aug-17 18:21:37

It sounds horrible. We've got a ghastly woman near us who objects to everything and campaigns personally with every neighbour when a planning application goes in, whether it affects her or not.

BarbaraOcumbungles Fri 25-Aug-17 18:22:23

I'd be telling everyone who would listen about your lunatic neighbours and their lunatic family members.

And then I'd call the planners for a chat about their behaviour and drop in to conversation about their extensions not having PP.

And then I'd cheerfully tell the neighbours to fuck off.

Gingernaut Fri 25-Aug-17 18:28:27

Is there no way you can quietly object to their extension retrospectively?

If anyone from the planning department has to visit, claim, with wide eyed innocence, that you couldn't find any planning applications made by your neighbours for their extensions but you're not very good with technology and you're not sure what you're meant to put in the search bar and you're sure they're 'legal'.....

Ginorchoc Fri 25-Aug-17 18:28:52

The PO as others have said will only consider valid objections relating to their policies. You should be able to see the objection online and can submit a statement answering points raised for consideration. What are you planning on doing?

flumpybear Fri 25-Aug-17 18:37:01

I'd make an appointment with a planning officer too - if they are stupid objections they'll probably ignore anyway but worth a call and making connections with the local authority planning department

Tatlerer Fri 25-Aug-17 18:38:35

What Barbara said! Nutters.

ArbitraryName Fri 25-Aug-17 18:44:18

TBH, what they are doing sounds like some kind of harassment. Getting their grandchildren involved in stalking you online and trying to stir up the neighbours against you personally is a really shit thing to do.

They've probably got form for this kind of crap though and the other neighbours are probably thinking 'it's them again' rather than listening to anything they have to say.

Once you get permission (and 'we don't want change is not a legitimate objection in planning terms), make sure that you also put up a lovely big fence.

fluffygal Fri 25-Aug-17 18:44:22

I wouldn't want worry, councils allow anything these days and they can't take into account objections like devaluing your neighbours property, building works causing disruptions or mess or any objections from anyone who doesn't live next door. My neighbour just got planning permission which will devalue my house by 30k (turning it from a semi to a terraced) with a house that is NOT in keeping with the rest of the street, I objected and they did not give a fuck. They are shitty neighbours as it is so I will be telling anyone that views the house not to buy if they value their sleep!

Just ignore them if they aren't willing to listen to you- you are doing things legally so they can't complain.

PissedOffNeighbour Fri 25-Aug-17 18:45:22

If your neighbours' extensions have been there for more than four years without complaint, then planning enforcement are unlikely/able to take any enforcement action. It sounds like they are barking though and their objections will have no grounds.

Boredboredboredboredbored Fri 25-Aug-17 18:45:50

Your council will have planning rules which you need to abide to when submitting plans for an extension. If those plans do not breach the rules it will be passed despite the objections.

A neighbour did similar to his neighbour even got the local councillor involved to throw weight behind getting it rejected. Planners came out, assessed it and passed it as it didn't breach the rules.

Ignore your nuts neighbours and pray the move!

wowfudge Fri 25-Aug-17 18:47:57

They may be looking to sell now and are worried that planning permission next door could jeopardise a sale. This sounds like a campaign of harassment and I wonder if there is a neighbourhood policing team you could mention your concerns to? If it is pointed out to them that if they carry on in that vein that could end up with neighbour dispute they'll have to declare when they come to sell they may see things differently.

HooraySunshine Fri 25-Aug-17 19:51:03

Thank you so much for your support. I have literally cried myself to sleep these past few nights. Then wake up worried about it all and can't get back to sleep. They are trying to make me feel like I'm doing something wrong. They keep saying things like 'How could you do this to us?? We're in our 80's!'. I think you're right, they are nuts and their kids have inherited the nut genes.
To answer your question, we bought this house about 3 months ago. My DH owns a building company and so we bought this house with eyes wide open in knowing that it needs a LOT of work. We had looked for ages and this was in (what we thought) was a nice neighbourhood, great schools, good size, decent garden and most importantly -Affordable! The road is a mix of house styles, some from the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and as recent as 6 years ago. (so not a road of all matchy matchy houses) All privately owned houses-no tenants and no council. The trend now is buying one of the older homes, knocking it down and rebuilding the taj mahal which barely fits within millimetres of the boundaries of your plot. There is a LOT of building work going on at the moment with people extending, getting new drives, new kitchens, new windows, etc. so people around here are keen to 'do up' their houses. We are completely stripping out the inside of our house and having to replace wiring, plumbing, etc. as this house hasn't had anything new in 50 years. We were looking for a more modest 'extension'. The previous owners built (without planning permission) a sort of lean to on my house. It looks awful and wasn't built well. As there was no planning permission the council has no record of this lean to being here, but still insists that we have to apply to have it knocked down before we can rebuilt it back to the same size/height but properly built and to comply with today's building codes. (so single story rear extension which is what is already here anyways) We also want to knock down the HUGE garage in the back of our garden and rebuild it were the carport currently is at the side of my house which, the way the carport was designed is too small for a car to fit under. The space itself would be wide enough for a car if the car port polls were not so close to the house. This would be a better use of space and it would make the back garden double in size. (I'm a very keen gardener, so I am very excited about having more space to play in! grin ) The attached, single story, 1 car garage will be on the opposite side of the elderly couple who have complained. We have also applied to move our front door which will be necessary after we move the garage. At the moment, the front door is awkwardly on the side of the house. It was originally at the front of the house but it was moved at some point in the 80's, so basically we want to move it back in front which will look better and make more sense. The door will face to the street--not into a neighbouring property or anything. It will look like 90% of the other front doors on this and the surrounding streets. So none of the work will have windows that will look into anyone's properties, or go up to the boundary lines or interfere in any way with any of the neighbours. We will be using the same materials that are currently on the house and hopefully it will look like the new stuff was always there.
I believe the garage and rear extension fall under permitted development, but the door does not. We were advised in the pre-planning meeting with the council to do one application for full planning to cover everything. I knew the neighbour next door would complain, but I honestly never thought they'd get their children and grandchildren to complain/campaign. The neighbour has every right to complain and we completely accept that, especially being a next door neighbour. But their family who lives 50 miles away? That is definitely overstepping a mark.
We have spoken with the neighbour on our other side (where new garage will be). They were happy to listen, discuss their concerns and seemed ok after we chatted. They said they were ok, but I know people often say that and then go on to complain. None of the other neighbours have expressed concern or upset to me. However, the elderly couple and their family are regularly (daily) going round to their houses and pushing for complaints. The grandchildren and a daughter were going around the houses again last night. I swear I have rarely seen them visiting and this week they've been every day. (I have to take some pleasure in knowing I've brought a family together even if it's at my own expense! grin ) The children/grandchildren have never spoken to me. They act as if I do not exist when I've seen them outside. No attempt what so ever to speak to me, my DH, ask about the plans, discuss their concerns with us, etc.
The elderly man saw me outside last weekend and started yelling 'I've found out your DH owns a construction company! That's right isn't it? Isn't it?? Ha!! I've got you now!! You won't win this!!' and then he walked off. WTH was that about?? I stood there for a good solid minute completely perplexed. Told my DH, he couldn't figure it out either.
My DH owning the biz was a plus for our other neighbour because it's not as if any random builders will be turning up. They will be working at the boss's house and even worse, the boss' wife will be there monitoring their every move! I told the neighbours, 'if you need us to stop working at 3pm on Wed or not start working until 9:30am on Fri, fine just tell me and we can stop at 3pm on Wed or start at 9:30am. We want to be as flexible as possible because we want to get along with our neighbours. Similarly, we want to get this job done ASAP. As inconvenient as it is for the neighbours, it's even more so for us because we'll be living here. So I can totally sympathise with not wanting noise/mess for months/years. We also have plenty of off street parking, but I offered to give my neighbours my phone number in case there were any problems and they could phone me at any time to resolve anything ASAP. I'll be home managing the work, so I can fix problems quick if needed.
I even offered the use of our guys for the elderly neighbour's work. They are always wanting things done at their house but complain that they are too old or don't have any money, etc. They keep mentioning they want a new boiler and I said that I could have my plumber go round--whilst he's 'on the clock' at my house--to fix or replace their boiler. My DH gets lot of trade discounts and free things from suppliers, so we thought we could probably get them a new boiler (for free) and do it for them as a sort of 'apologies for the inconvenience, thanks for putting up with our building work' gift. They gladly accepted, but then went on to 'strongly object' and start their campaign. Sod their bloody free boiler/plumber now!! They also wanted DH and I to pay for/build THEM a fence and then plant roses along their side of the fence line. Again, I told them this was something we could potentially do, but I won't be doing it now after their complaint.
I know building work is horrible and believe me, if my neighbour was wanting to build a sun blocking two story extension with windows looking into my bedroom, I would not be happy. But I think our plans are rather modest, we've tried to compromise and be flexible and accommodating and considerate to our neighbours. I actually want to get along, we have to live next to each other so at least need to make an effort.

teaandbiscuitsforme Fri 25-Aug-17 19:54:11

Our neighbours objected - planning was still granted! Their grounds for objection weren't upheld by the planners so there was no issue. We haven't gone any further forward with it though so I'm not sure how relations will proceed!

flapjackfairy Fri 25-Aug-17 19:59:58

You have been more than reasonable and have done absolutely nothing wrong here.
He sounds a bit unhinged ( maybe senile even ) but that is not your fault. They sound awful neighbours but hopefully may move on soon .
Dont let it destroy your peace of mind and i so hope it is resolved v soon xx

Couchpotato3 Fri 25-Aug-17 20:03:04

I'm sure their harassment of the other neighbours will do nothing to advance their cause. Would you write and object just because another neighbour knocked on your door to complain about it, several times? I think I would be polite the first time but tell them in no uncertain terms to back off if they kept coming back.

HooraySunshine Fri 25-Aug-17 20:58:41

I'm so glad someone mentioned that! harassment I am feeling harassed, but I thought maybe it was just me being emotional with all the drama going on. I wondered if this continues if it is something that I could report to the police...and if they would actually do anything about it. hmm If nothing else, just tell these people how irrational they are being. Maybe they'll listen if it comes from someone in authority??
I am planning to phone the planning officer Monday to discuss my application and point out one of the two objections is the son who lives 50 miles away, and perhaps casually mention their relentless campaign to get everyone on board with them and the non planning approved extensions at their own house. wink
I completely agree that harassing the neighbours will not win them any favours. Apparently this elderly couple have argued with just about everyone on the road at some point or other and they love to gossip. They do not get along with the people behind me, nor the people on the other side of them, nor a guy 2 doors down from me. All have made comments at one point or another (so I'm not so alone if I think about it). This couple always seem to think everyone is out to get them. They told me all their neighbours have tried to steal their garden by moving their fences. I can't see any evidence of that. They've also insisted I need to do something in my garden to block out the flood light (from the people behind me) shining into their house. A: it's really nothing to do with me to prevent light going into their house and B: there is NO floodlight at the people behind me.
She's also told me she can't drive, but I've seen her several times driving her car. She told me she never goes out, so I've offered to take her/them out to coffee/lunch a few times and we even talked of me driving them to the coast (hours away) for the day so they could 'get out for a bit'. Fat chance of that happening again!
I think the thing that really pissed me off was when he said 'You'll thank me later for putting a stop to all this non-sense. You'll regret doing all this damage to the house (he can't bring himself to say 'your house', it's 'the' house). I'm doing you a favour and you'll be thanking me later.' The bloody cheek!! shock

RiverTam Fri 25-Aug-17 21:03:39

Whilst they sound completely over-the-top, I tend to side with objectors, having suffered two extensions with owners of next door. It is bloody miserable living next door to it and what do you have at the end of suffering through months of building work? Nothing. They have a swan my new whatever, which you just have to suck up.

From what you say there's been a lot of building work done on your road in recent times which has no doubt impacted negatively on this elderly couple. They are probably scared shitless about months of building work next door.

Personally, I would add compensation to NDNs for any build taking more than a month! It really is miserable.

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