Should I talk to my neighbour?
We always encourage people to talk to their neighbours whether this is to inform them about a project or to raise queries. Whilst this may be daunting if you don’t know them, talking to your neighbour can avoid issues arising in the future particularly at the build stage. A chat with your neighbour may also highlight other matters which planning does not cover. For instance, if you share a drive will the works cause any problems with access? Or if you have builders, will they be able to park without obstructing your neighbour’s drive?
I think my neighbour’s extension will impact me. Will you assess this?
When we assess planning applications and their impact upon a neighbouring property, we look at three areas: overbearing, loss of light and overlooking.
Loss of light: The effect of a development or building on the amount of natural light presently enjoyed by a neighbouring property, resulting in a shadow being cast over that neighbouring property. Further information can be found in the Borough Design Guide on our planning policy page.
Overbearing means: A term used to describe the impact of a development or building on its surroundings, particularly a neighbouring property, in terms of its scale, massing and general dominating effect.
Overlooking means: A term used to describe the effect when a development or building affords an outlook over adjoining land or property, often causing loss of privacy.
What about my right to light or the loss of my view?
Whilst these aspects may be legally defined, they are not a ‘material planning consideration’. This means that case law (cases determined by the courts) have said they are covered by legislation other than planning and therefore they cannot be taken into account for a planning application. We would advise you to seek the advice of a solicitor on these matters.
What if my neighbour’s extension encroaches onto my land?
The Council does not keep records of land ownership and if you are concerned that your neighbour’s extension might be encroaching onto your property you should raise this with your neighbour as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the Council is unable to help you with encroachment or trespass issues as they are civil matter.
What about the impact of construction?
Aspects like noise, dust, construction vehicles or hours of working are not considered to be a ‘material planning consideration’ as the effects of construction are temporary and these are typically covered by other ‘control of pollution’ legislation. However, if you have concerns over noise then please talk to your neighbour. If you are building an extension, please be considerate of others and avoid works at unsociable hours.
Can an extension be changed after it has been approved?
It is possible to make changes to an application that has been approved. This might be by a small change as a ‘non-material amendment’ application or a larger change by a ‘variation of conditions’ application. You can read more information about this on our amendments to applications page. If you are considering making changes to your approved scheme, we recommend informing your neighbour first.
I think my neighbour is building something they don’t have permission for. How do I inform you?
We rely on our residents to inform us if something is being built without permission. We can then investigate and see if a planning permission is required. Your name will never be disclosed and we will inform you of the outcome of our investigation. To find out more about this and to inform us using our online form, visit our planning enforcement request page.