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Loss of privacy

(44 Posts)
ZandathePanda Tue 12-Jun-18 09:38:03

We have the planner coming round tonight. We live on the edge of a town next to farmland (in England) so it's quiet and dark. The garden is private other than the neighbour's bedroom window looking over part. We have a bungalow at the bottom of the garden to us. The architect owner is going to build a 2 storey modern floor to ceiling windowed house. The windows/doors will totally look over our garden and the back of our house. It will have an open plan first floor living/kitchen/dining room and large garden terrace. Because our garden dips at the bottom no amount of screening will stop it as it would have to be at least 4m tall to hide. It's going to illuminate us at night and we are going to see their every move. He's the local award winning architect. All the councillors know him. Our house (which he designed a couple of decades ago) didn't even have a back door into the garden (until we put one in) and has velux windows upstairs so we don't overlook our garden (we have not got round to making one a dormer). A town councillor said we are 4m too long in distance building to building for our case for overlooking. They all know him.
We have no chance do we?

GaryBaldyBiscuit Tue 12-Jun-18 10:49:05

Wow I’m sorry, no advise but that sounds awful shock just bumping for you, garden law website might be worth a look?

bluesandtwo Tue 12-Jun-18 10:58:37

Plant some fast growing trees, now. Not much else you can do, highly unlikely that planning would be rejected for the reasons you describe, even if he wasn't pally with the planners.

ZandathePanda Tue 12-Jun-18 12:00:35

Thank you for your replies. I will look into garden law. It so upsetting. it's totally going to change our outlook but it's the total lack of privacy that's the thing. They could be sitting dining above us/watching tv etcand we'll see it all.

Seeline Tue 12-Jun-18 12:06:31

The distance referred to will be specific to your local council. You need to look on their website and find a document called something like the Local Plan or Development Plan. It will contain policies relating to new development.
Do oyu know what the distance between your rear wall and the new rear wall will be? Policies usually require at least 20m separation, but as I say it will vary.
However, if the rear is going to be totally glass, and your back garden is currently relatively private, you may still have a case for loss of privacy. Things like the difference in levels are also something that may make yours a special case.

Gottokondo Tue 12-Jun-18 12:10:26

Maybe you can start special yoga lessons in the garden for naturist elderly people?

ZandathePanda Tue 12-Jun-18 17:24:16

Thank you seeline and others. Like the idea of the yoga!
I will ask about specific distances and the planning policy. Thanks. The Planner should be here by now. Hope it's not a no-show.

TheMagnoliaTree Tue 12-Jun-18 18:08:57

I would hire a planning consultant, you case sounds quite unique.

Arewehomeyet Tue 12-Jun-18 20:16:33

Any update?

GaryBaldyBiscuit Tue 12-Jun-18 20:53:16

I hope the planner turned up and was able to help?

Rollercoaster1920 Tue 12-Jun-18 21:09:09

20m is a guideline, but beware inner city councils thinking much less is acceptable. Plant trees now!

If your house has no windows facing that way then your house privacy isn't affected, that has more weight than garden privacy it seems.

I wonder if the architect designed your house that way intentionally because he planned to develop the bungalow in future.

ZandathePanda Tue 12-Jun-18 22:57:45

Hi yes planner turned up late then tea, putting kids to bed etc so only just seen replies. Seeing as our back garden didn't even used to have a door into it (the architect has had the land for decades) it's fairly obvious to deduce this has been his plan. What I didn't expect was the 8m of plain glass at first floor level directly our way since they have designed lots of glazing also to the clear countryside western views to the back. (Bungalow is at right angles to us). Their southern (side) views are up our garden to our house. And there is also their 25m2 first floor garden terrace. With dining table. Facing our way. Alas we are over 20m. The planner was good and sympathetic but it appears if you are 19m away then your privacy is protected but 20m and the Shard can be built next to you. I love interesting architecture but it's one of those times I want a bog standard estate house with the obscure little side windows at first floor level.
Obviously that extra bit of southern light is worth all this agro. It's a 'concept design' and probably going to win lots of awards. sad

Rollercoaster1920 Tue 12-Jun-18 23:43:49

Have a read of this blog:

Roof terraces are a very contentious thing, certainly arguable for unreasonable loss of privacy.

I'd plant trees now. Sounds like it wouldn't affect your light because you are south of the plot.

Rollercoaster1920 Tue 12-Jun-18 23:46:08

4 metres is quite a small tree BTW.

ZandathePanda Wed 13-Jun-18 01:08:05

Thanks rollercoaster that link is good! Can't sleep as it's all going round my head. Argh.

Thatsnotmycat Wed 13-Jun-18 07:05:44

From what you describe it does sound that there will be overlooking or at least perceived overlooking which the planner should take in to account. Whilst I know that there are minimal distances the planner has to take in to account the actual circumstances of the site. Would that be your only private garden area or is there somewhere else you could sit where there would be more privacy? I’m wondering if there are other circumstances which allow the architect/planner to believe there won’t be an unacceptable level of overlooking?

Gaspodethetalkingdog Wed 13-Jun-18 07:10:40

Oh dear, a similar thing happened here, locals are furious, but it is not close enough to us to affect us. Apart from being annoyed by its out of keeping for a rural area and ugliness. Huge house for the situation built on the site of a small old bungalow.

Drive now filled with Range Rovers - money talks I am afraid!

GaryBaldyBiscuit Wed 13-Jun-18 07:11:45

I’m sorry it wasn’t better news, still try to fight it but I’d get some semi mature fast growing trees planted ASAP too, make sure you get TPO’s placed on them as soon as they are planted too if you can, I believe you’re able to request this for any tree?

ZandathePanda Wed 13-Jun-18 11:13:37

Thanks. The town council supported the application - even though they declared an interest in knowing him because he is so well known. It is really difficult to get your head round the plans as the first storey is at an angle to the bottom storey. I wish I had known I could put some drawings up to show them at the meeting because they didn't seem to have looked at the email I sent. They did ask for a councillor to decide on a 'call-in' though. However the councillor who does the call-in (still unsure what this really is but I think it means the borough council have to look at the application in more detail) declared he is friends with the architect. So doubt we will get one of those.
If anyone could have seen me I must have looked a loon last night as I was sitting in our pitch black garden imagining what 8m across x 2m high glazing would look like facing us at first floor height. And the bloody 25m squared garden terrace. Sob.
The planner said if they refused it it would go to appeal and him being an architect it would be difficult.

sundowners Wed 13-Jun-18 13:36:32

Has the architect even been round to discuss this with you? I am livid on your behalf, he sounds incredibly selfish. Agree though- invest in some huge trees NOW. Get a crane to bring them in if needed. He might think twice about his glass block then...

Arewehomeyet Wed 13-Jun-18 14:41:09

I am also in complete shock that this can happen flowers

Chickencellar Wed 13-Jun-18 15:20:02

I guess it can happen because councils need to find a reason to say no , if it's in the rules then I guess it will be a yes. The government are far behind house building targets and so there is pressure on councils to allow houses to be built.

Seeline Wed 13-Jun-18 15:26:21

The Borough Council will always have to determine the application in the first place - Town Councils can only submit their views.
Him being an architect won't have any impact at appeal. The appeal is determined by an independent Inspector, nothing to do with the Council. They will look at the application purely on the planning merits.
I would take photos of the view from the garden at the moment - can the bungalow be seen at all? If it can, do you think you might be able to sketch on the new house? The plans submitted may have a superimposed view of the two as a comparison which you could use to help. Send it in with your objection letter.

ZandathePanda Wed 13-Jun-18 15:30:35

Thanks for the replies - yes superimposed the bungalow (we can see the roof) on the south view in our objection. Looks awful. No one is taking any notice though. 🙁

ZandathePanda Wed 13-Jun-18 15:31:32

We can see the bungalow roof - about where we will see their feet in their full length windows.

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