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Feeling very anxious other neighbours reaction to our extension plans

(35 Posts)
AgathaQuiztee Fri 09-Oct-20 19:49:58

I suffer from anxiety and this is particularly related to a fear of upsetting other people.
DH and I are planning a single story extension to the side and rear of our property. It falls onto permitted development.
We have neighbours to the side of where we would like to extend. We are both end terrace properties with about 3 metres to the side of each house. Our front doors currently are situated on the side of the house. Our neighbours mainly use their back door which is further down the side of the house.
They like to park their car up the side near the back of the house. This has caused damage to paving slabs down our side of the boundary as occasionally they drive over them.
Most of the time we get in very well. We have never complained to them about anything despite the damage to our paving slabs.
We both used to have 2 dogs. They used to complain a lot about the dogs barking (it was both theirs and ours). We now only have one dog and it's mostly their dogs that bark now.
We have always tried to be conscientious and considerate neighbours. We told them we were applying for planning permission. We got the impression they were not very happy although they never said anything outright.
Today I stupidly looked online at the planning info and saw a lengthy objection from them. Saying it would reduce their light (the only window it overlooks is a small frosted window). There'll be noise and it will disrupt their dogs, they'll feel enclosed among other things.
Before we told them our plans they said they were considering building a wall along the boundary.
We really need this space for our family and can't afford to move.
Any confrontation causes high levels of anxiety for me and having read their objections I'm nearly in tears. At no point have they come and spoken to us about any concerns they have.
As it's permitted development I think the place will be approved. But I'm already feeling anxious about what will happen when we start to extend.
I feel like an awful person for upsetting them but if we don't extend it will negatively impact on our family.

OP’s posts: |
Fairymaryprincess Fri 09-Oct-20 20:00:29

Not that it's an answer but this sounds quite costly are you sure you can't afford to move to somewhere bigger? However if its permitted development your right in that it's pretty much a done deal, and you are within your rights to change your own property if you wish to, I'd just ignore them we have 2 dogs and so does the house back to back with us all 4 dogs bark but we both just move them away from the fence it's always fine.

mumwon Fri 09-Oct-20 20:08:51

you may have to pay for their surveyor to do an assessment as party wall
But that doesn't mean you won't get planning permission the laws on light are very specific & they are unlikely to be able to win on that account
ring up planning & ask for advice -they are quite amenable

Guymere Fri 09-Oct-20 20:12:18

Noise from building work is no grounds for objection, so that will be ignored. Loss of light with a ground floor extension is negligible. So that won’t run either. It’s permitted development so it’s likely to be approved.

However, I would move! Who wants to live next to these people?!

Guymere Fri 09-Oct-20 20:13:22

Planning Officers rarely talk to the public now! It’s Covid times don’t you know?!

AgathaQuiztee Fri 09-Oct-20 20:18:14

It's not getting the permission that worries me. It's upsetting my neighbours.

OP’s posts: |
Officebox Fri 09-Oct-20 20:20:36


I get the whole anxiety thing and not wanting to upset your neighbours. Maybe turn it around and look at how they don't seem to care if they upset you (their neighbours) who want to extend their home for family needs. From that angle it looks like your neighbours should be the ones anxious about you reading their comments and being upset (As you clearly seem to be in your response.

AgathaQuiztee Fri 09-Oct-20 20:46:25

Thank you @Officebox and for all your responses. I thought I was going to be flamed for being a terrible neighbour!
I do find it hard to understand how they can be so uncaring about something which has a relatively limited impact on them but would be a huge benefit to us. Which they know because we've told them.
My default is to feel guilty and terrible. I need perspective from others as I know my world view is often shaped by my anxiety.
I'd love to move. I also have a very strong flight response to stress and at the moment I just want to run away.
I know my feelings are out of proportion to reality but I have a life long struggle with anxiety. I often feel like I'm winning, but at the moment I feel like I'm drowning in it.

OP’s posts: |
Hufflepuff21 Fri 09-Oct-20 20:56:32

We've had almost the same issue with our neighbour for a very similar sounding extension. Our neighbour, however, decided to go round all the other neighbours trying to coerce them into also objecting. Our plans were approved and completely dismissed their objection. They're not really speaking to us and will probably try to make our lives a misery during the extension. However, their behaviour has been so bad that it's allowed me to reframe it in my own mind as a op suggested.

Africa2go Fri 09-Oct-20 20:56:42

Hope you're OK.

I don't think its about your neighbours being uncaring, they may also be very anxious. Also, don't think of this as personal. They'd have had the same reaction no doubt to anyone applying. You want more space, they want minimal disruption. Your needs are not more important than theirs, their needs are not more important that yours.

I would try to see it as the process. You apply, they are entitled to object. The Council will look at it and make a decision.

AgathaQuiztee Fri 09-Oct-20 21:11:57

@Africa2go that is a very good point. I don't want them to be anxious or unhappy.
I just wish they could have spoken to us about it. We're not unreasonable people, we would have listened. I guess it would not have changed our needs but at least face to face we could have let each other know how we feel and tried to help each other.
You're right it's in the hands of the planners now. It may turn out to be too expensive and we may need to look at other options anyway.
I'm going to read a book and try not to keep thinking about it.

OP’s posts: |
Rollercoaster1920 Fri 09-Oct-20 23:04:08

I'm amazed how often people seem surprised when neighbours object to a planning application. Lets face it - how does building work make their lives better?

Did you actually share your plans with the neighbours before, and listen to any concerns?

As a previous poster said - think of it as a process. They are entitled to object. You are entitled to apply for planning or permitted development.
I objected to my neighbour's plans! But we still get on ok. I think they are being a bit selfish with their plans, but recognise that they are allowed to do it, so what's the point of starting a feud? I'm certainly less friendly, but not unfriendly IYSWIM. It all depends on the people involved.

Sunshine1235 Fri 09-Oct-20 23:27:31

I would say (as someone who hates confrontation) that they’ve done you a favour by not speaking to you directly. You can just act like you’re not aware of their objections, be normal and friendly and crack on with your extension. You probably wouldn’t have changed anything if they’d have spoken to you so all that’s happened is you’ve avoided an unnecessarily awkward conversation

chukwe Fri 09-Oct-20 23:40:22

Please move move move!! You'll be happier ever after. The process may take up to 4 months+ with covid but you'll get there at last.

I was partly in your situation until we decided to move which was the best decision

chatterbugmegastar Fri 09-Oct-20 23:53:40

I just wish they could have spoken to us about it.

Maybe they are also anxious people and don't like to instigate what they would perceive as confrontation?

Houseplantmad Fri 09-Oct-20 23:56:01

It's perfectly reasonable for you to want to extend your home. Unfortunately this can cause inconvenience to neighbours during the process BUT it's a temporary inconvenience and one that goes on every day all over the country so I would really try to put them out of your mind and just enjoy the prospect of having more space in your home.

mumsy27 Sat 10-Oct-20 00:21:31

OP stay put and build your extension.
if as you are saying, side extension like everyone else on the street.
they will do the same if they need it or afford it.
mainly jealousy and selfish, they rather prefer that space stays empty.
I will bend backward for my neighbours and even help them to achieve their goals.
so what builders around and building work @Rollercoaster1920 live with it.
treat your neighbours with kindness, they are not your enemies.

HeddaGarbled Sat 10-Oct-20 02:23:21

Firstly, your paving slabs must have been faulty already if a car driving over them damaged them. You need to forget about that as it is irrelevant to the current issue.

It is worrying when a neighbour builds an extension. It’s natural to worry about loss of light, noise and disruption.

It’s a bit unreasonable to call them “uncaring”. You won’t die without your extension. It’s something you want. That’s OK. You’re allowed to want to improve your house. But try and step away from the over-emotional stuff.

Be practical. What would make this bearable for them? Show them the plans. Do everything you can to keep disruption to the minimum. Invite them over to see the work in progress and the finished result.

Everyone always says “I wish they could have spoken to us about it” but not everyone is confident or assertive enough to do that. As you say you suffer from anxiety and a fear of upsetting other people, surely you recognise that?

Lemonylemony Sat 10-Oct-20 05:42:31

When you say “both end terrace properties with about 3 metres to the side of each house” do you mean that your houses are 3m apart or 6m apart?

ivykaty44 Sat 10-Oct-20 05:49:10

They’ve had there say, the firm is for objections but they’ve not put in valid reasons for the planning not to go ahead so it’s unlikely that it’ll achieve anything

Dogs feeling included and kiss of light to a small window or noise whilst building work happens aren’t valid reasons for the extension not to go ahead

Jumpingkangeroo Sat 10-Oct-20 05:59:17

‘ Firstly, your paving slabs must have been faulty already if a car driving over them damaged them. You need to forget about that as it is irrelevant to the current issue’

I am not sure about that, a car continually driving over paving slabs designed for walking on will damage them.
My neighbour has done the same to mine over the past year and you can see the damage at a specific point where she turns the car.

Building work goes on all the time and the neighbours will have to accept it, they sound a bit strange to put in an objection on upsetting their dogs.

CiderJolly Sat 10-Oct-20 07:44:48

I would suggest counselling if you’re not having it already.

You haven’t said anything which suggests that they are particularly difficult neighbours.

You’re not doing anything wrong and neither are they. It’s a non-problem!

ScrapThatThen Sat 10-Oct-20 08:50:09

Agree, you have the right to do it, they have the right to object. Get tough and think about number 1, like they do. Take a 'they are ok 'I am ok' stance to life, get out of the stance that they/you are the persecutor/victim. (To mix my psychological model metaphors).

mountains76 Sat 10-Oct-20 09:05:38

To give you another perspective, we recently had next door extend in a similar way to you. We had a good relationship with them and before they started the application they shared there plans with us and asked us to get back to us with concerns.

As with any relationship, trust and communication are key. Long story shot their work seemed ok in plans but having builders next door for months on end was a real pain. The end result is a bit questionable also from our perspective as it does block a bit of light (nothing significant though). If you want my honest opinion, I would seriously consider moving instead, given your relationship with them.

sosotired1 Sat 10-Oct-20 09:17:07

My architect told me not to look at objections as it would just bother me so I never saw if my neighbours objected or not. In any case our plans were approved so clearly any objections didn't stand, and it meant relationships with neighbours (whether close or more distant) remained the same from my side.

However, you seem to be struggling to deal with the fact that not everyone wants for your what you want! They aren't uncaring, they are just objecting. Be honest with yourself, if they came to you directly and said we don't want this extension what would you do? Would you change plans? Probably not I am guessing.

Or would you just be in agonies and ultimately blame them for the way you feel rather than owning your own discomfort?

I think you need to think through your feelings and unpack them with more clarity than you are managing at the moment.

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