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What to do if you Think a Neighbour is Contravening Planning Regulations

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 9 Nov 2019 | comments*Discuss
 
Contravening Planning Penalties Planning

With all due respect to our neighbours, we all need to be aware of any planning permission they might want to submit if they’re intending on making any major structural additions to their property, or if they are planning on using their property for a purpose other than what it was originally intended for.

It doesn’t matter how well you get on with your neighbours, planning consent is something which, if obtained, can have a fundamental effect on your enjoyment of your own property. This might include things like the reduction of direct sunlight you receive as a result of new buildings, and there are also issues about your right to privacy.

Alternatively, they may be looking to convert their property in some way for business or commercial use which could have a direct effect on your home life. Assuming that planning permission has been granted, however, then you do have the right to object if you think that your neighbour has failed to comply with the terms of the planning permission agreement.

When Is Planning Permission Needed?

Planning permission is usually needed for the following, although this list is not exhaustive:

  • Building or adding an extension(s) to a property which will affect the external appearance of the building.
  • When you want to divide off part of a property to be used as a separate home, or you want to put a caravan on your land to be used as a home for somebody else.
  • When you want to use your home (or part of it) for business or commercial use.

How Will I Know if my Neighbour has Contravened Planning Regulations?

Firstly, any planning application which is submitted requires the planning department of your local authority to write to all the neighbouring residences which might be affected by the plans. You have the right to inspect those plans and to get copies for yourself. You can also appeal against a planning application, although that does not necessarily mean that your objections will be upheld.

However, assuming that planning permission has been granted, it’s important that you remain alert as to how any proposed development or use of the permission which has been granted is complied with. If you suspect that your neighbour may have failed to comply with everything contained within what was agreed, you should notify your local authority’s planning department at the earliest opportunity.

Obviously, some contravention of what was agreed might be more visibly obvious than other aspects, although the planning department themselves will also have a vested interest in ensuring that compliance is met with completely.

Failure to Comply with the Planning Permission

The council can enforce proceedings against people who have contravened the planning permission which they have been granted in the form of a Planning Contravention Notice. Severe financial penalties can also be imposed and your neighbour can be told to restore the property to its previous state at their own cost, even if that means demolishing a completely new building or structure if it does not comply with what was agreed to in the drawings of the plans.

It’s also important to remember that, in addition to the planning permission, any structural changes will also have to meet the Building Regulations which, although often interlinked with planning permission, are entirely separate regulations which must also be adhered to.

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Neighbours newly built dormer gutter has been redirected to run down my roof. Is this legal? In heavy rain the flow is too much and over flows the shared guttering. Anyone know?
SX - 9-Nov-19 @ 11:50 PM
I have a land and put some shipping containers in it.then decided to weld them up together and start a new business but planning permission didn’t approve the building but they were kind of ok to accept the business for me,but I withdraw from both.because they didn’t accept anything for the containers...now I have been asked to remove all the containers from my land.(I have to mention I have welded them into each other now,4,20ft containers!!) any idea how I can appeal against their decision ? Thanks in advance
Bob - 7-Nov-19 @ 2:47 PM
Our terraced neighbour has build a garden room in their 12m x 5m wide back garden with a fully glazed facade of folding doors that directly overlook our kitchen and back garden.The room is to be used for business. They say it is a class E outbuilding and allowed under permitted development.it is overbearing and intrusive Can we get planning enforcement to remove it ? Please advise.
DJ - 24-Oct-19 @ 9:35 PM
My neighbour has an extension that was granted in the early 90s. It consisted of a side wall than ran on the party wall boundary and has high windows all along the wall looking onto our demise. Assuming at the time it was a condition to allow light into our side through their obscured windows. Application is no longer on the website because of its age so probably in archives. In the last month they have internally renovated their house and have done no external works, however they have boarded the windows with insulation board against the windows finishing off with a plasterboard finish internally. We now have a view of 3m of kingspan insulation boards and battens running across the top half of the wall since they did not line the windows first with any film. It's a very undesirable look - like a permanent building site. They will not undo the work and are  ot willing to pay for film on the windows to put on the external side of the windows.  Do I have any rights in this matter. Its apparent that they did not want to go through planning a and building regs to demolish it and build a brick wall and so they did the cheaper option and just boarded the windows internally. Guidance will be greatly appreciated.
Mo - 15-Oct-19 @ 11:53 PM
My neighbour has an extension that was granted in the early 90s. It consisted of a side wall than ran on the party wall boundary and has high windows all along the wall looking onto our demise. Assuming at the time it was a condition to allow light into our side through their obscured windows. Application is no longer on the website because of its age so probably in archives. In the last month they have internally renovated their house and have done no external works, however they have boarded the windows with insulation board against the windows finishing off with a plasterboard finish internally. We now have a view of 3m of kingspan insulation boards and battens running across the top half of the wall since they did not line the windows first with any film. It's a very undesirable look - like a permanent building site. They will not undo the work and are  ot willing to pay for film on the windows to put on the external side of the windows.  Do I have any rights in this matter. Its apparent that they did not want to go through planning a and building regs to demolish it and build a brick wall and so they did the cheaper option and just boarded the windows internally. Guidance will be greatly appreciated.
Mo - 15-Oct-19 @ 11:53 PM
Our new neighbour has applied for planning permission under permitted development rules for a 3 m extension which has been approved. But what is actually happening is that he has knocked down a pitched roof of a small attached outbuilding (we share the same wall - terraced houses) and is planning to put in a flat roof. This has not been part of the planning permission or building regs. What is our next step? Do we contact planning and building regulations to tell them this of this unlawful change of structure??
Sarah - 21-Sep-19 @ 11:00 AM
My neighbour has build a shed on his drive which is not private property. It looks ok but he now parks in the way of incoming vehicles. There is another neighbour who has done the same but his shed is an eye sore and it is taking up an entire parking bay!!
Mrmotivation - 18-Sep-19 @ 2:03 PM
The article don't say what to do which was the title of the article.
Luis - 7-Sep-19 @ 9:21 AM
My neighbour has built a garden and put up paving slabs to create a wall in public right of way land. The paving slabs look hideous . I was always told if you want to do anything with no mans land you had to have permission from the land registry and they would write to all the neighbours. I have received no letter and I would objected
Skully - 21-Aug-19 @ 11:48 AM
There’s an extremely large house being built on Cunningham Drive Moss Nook Manchester M22. I live in Thorn Drive the road behind which is a private road, we all pay to maintain road ourselves. Just lately we’ve had wagons dropping stuff off via our road and lifting it over the fence . This is not except-able Also need the house in spec ting was not supposed to be see in Thorn Drive and it stands out ! Looks like a hotel , it’s huge. How do we get this looked into?
Tia - 23-Jul-19 @ 3:13 PM
Our neighbour has built a large extension running between our garden boundary at the back of the houses. Their existing house is a bungalow and the new roof to the large extension is much higher than the existing building, almost as high as a 2 storey build. the new roof has ruined the view of the fields we used to have from our bedroom window and I feel that this cannot possibly have been agreed in the initial planning. How can I get this checked before the build is finished please?
hazie - 21-Jul-19 @ 2:04 PM
I asked our neighbours if they would object if we put an electric gate in the boundary fence giving us access off a lane into a communal area the drive would also cross a strip of grass which had been maintained by myself for 9 yrs.This strip ran along the boundary and the side of neighbours garage we knew part of this strip would be owned by us and the rest by the neighbour they had no objection so we applied and received planning permission and both neighbours are on the planning stating they had no objections.after spending £11,000 on the gate and drive 2 years later we receive a solicitors letter stating that as the gate is partly on their land they want us to remove it.regardless of who’s land the gate is on once they say they have no objections surely they can’t change this after we have spent all that money .
Go - 13-Jul-19 @ 1:59 PM
I live in a conservation area the road outside is very narrow with no pavement on my side and a very narrow one on the other. The neighbour next to me on same side has erected a very large wooden fence with spikes on This goes to the edged of the road making my entry by car very difficult and exit even more so as it's blind until halfway on to road The people in the house are very private and keep the gates fence etc closed not making it easy to approach them Any advice on what to do, don't want to fall out with someone I've never met Regards Anne
anne - 6-Jul-19 @ 1:57 PM
There is a private road running behind my house. This runs adjacent to a large plot of land that is split - in terms of ownership - between 4 of the properties. We all have right of access to the road to access the backs of our houses / our designated private land. One of our neighbours has children. Their house was extended removing the majority of the garden immediately adjacent to their house. They do, however, have a reasonable sized plot of land on the opposite side of the private road that they use to park their vehicle and house a medium sized shed. The children are being told, by their mother, to play on a plot of land that they do not own. This is causing ball damage to fences and constant landing of balls on cars. On at least one occasion significant damage has been done to another neighbour’s van which was fixed, and paid for, by our “problem neighbours”. They are also constantly parking on other plots of land. There have been several verbal and written requests to stop both activities. The neighbour has now stated in writing that she will continue to use the land as her children’s playground despite the requests. What can we do? It’s causing untold stress and anxiety.
Funnel - 29-Jun-19 @ 12:18 PM
My neighbour had plans passed to build a 2 storey extension with no encroachment onto neighbouring property as a stipulation the extension had to be stepped in 15 cm from the boundary. The neighbour didn’t want it stepping in so built on the boundary and now roofing overhangs onto my property. During building work the garden was raised substantially which has caused massive flooding problems in my garden. The council are not interested in the breaches of planning or the continuous flooding of my garden what can I do. No party wall agreement in place either.
Flo - 28-Jun-19 @ 9:16 AM
I am a resident of a DDA society in dwarka living on the 1st floor of a 4 story apartment building. After many years of living in this apartment My down stairs neighbours finally moved in and indoing so also built up their ground floor verandah into rooms. When doing their co instruction they had confirmed that if and when. We want to build atop the same they would have no problem and even extended the pillars they placed in a way to accommodate what was promised to us. All this was done with appropriate consideration to paid at the time of construction. Now that I am ready to build they wont let us build which seems to be coming from an ego fit that they are having as they have encroached a much larger space than they had originally suggested. I am of the firm belief that the society president will affirm. Our request to build but I would like to know what options I have just incase it doesn't work out with requests and amicable solutions thereof. Thanks AB
A.BHARAT - 14-Jun-19 @ 3:24 AM
The planning failed to notifiy us that an application was repositioned 16 metres closer to our house. The planning said at first it was a processing error. Then second reason stated 'as it was only 16 metres closer it was not necessary for neighbour notification'. The ombudsman's investigation found it was a conscious decision not to notifiy us. The planning admitted failures in administration and applogised. Then to add insult to injury the applicant continues to build the house and built it higher than allowed. The applicant applied for retrospective application and got it passed. I have contacted several solicitors and disappointed as cannot guarantee we would win the case and could costs alot of money. Where do we go from here?
Roma - 11-Jun-19 @ 3:04 AM
My new neighbor is turning the house into a HMO He did not place the required notice of proposals in our street and therefore nobody had any ideas of his converting this mid terraced of 4 house into a HMO. Once we were aware of his proposal 48 of the 50neighbours signed a petition against this.He is the 49th and the 50th decided to stay on the fence. Does anyone have any ideas?Know what my rights are?Please if you can Help me,I am 68 years of age.
Fuzzball 68 - 25-May-19 @ 12:24 AM
My neighbour has built a large patio on level with his house which is situated at a higher level than our property this looks straight into my house and when they stand on the patio they are at our head height.Surely this can't be right. What can we do
Smithie - 19-May-19 @ 8:23 AM
My neighbour has built a metre higher than submitted plans and 400mm wider, I addition have damaged my property, is this legal
Barbsie - 7-May-19 @ 3:34 PM
We live on a main road and have a side driveway.. on which we have two cars parked. Behind which is access to our garden and an annex which we have converted into an wheelchair adaptable living space for my Mother who suffers from a severe form of MS. When we have both cars parked, at the moment there is an 'open space' on the neighbours side in which you can walk through and take a wheelchair comfortably through..... However, my neighbour who currently uses their property as an office is planning on changing the property into 4 different sections/flats.. Their plans include extending the current fence/gate further forward to the front of the property... thus taking away from the open space currently used by my mother to go in and out of her annex. If they were to do this... it would mean there would be minimal space for her wheelchair and pretty much no space to get in and out of the car from the neighbour side either.... So is there anything we can do to? So my mother can maintain her wheelchair access area?
Jay06 - 20-Mar-19 @ 11:59 AM
My mum has been living in her house a yr. it has a very small garden.A neighbour has a stable door which used to access the back garden when the buildings belonged to him.He is now to only come into her garden if he needs access to that side of the roof. He however insists of having the stable door wide open into my mothers garden as he says birds come in and out. My mum wants the door shut as it infringes on her space and is quite ugly. How does she stand. I would say that because it is basically a stone building that is on her boundary and is uninhabited, that she can just close the door and keep it shut. Any thoughts???
mad dog woman - 12-Jan-19 @ 9:19 AM
I live in a mansion converted to flats and the owners self manage, so no Management company involved. It was converted in the 80’s. A new owner has decided he will use another flat’s flat roof as a roof terrace. The owner of the flat roof is very concerned about the flat roof not able to bear the weight of people walking on it as a tenant a few years ago damaged the roof and it leaked when it rained. We’ve asked him not to use it but he’s ignored us. We don’t think it’s got planning permission or building regs but I don’t know how to find, anyone got any ideas?
Mags60 - 16-Nov-18 @ 1:30 PM
I have a vacant plot of land adjacent to my 200 year old house in the Chiltern District Council area, Bucks. Planning was rejected two years ago, the same farmer is planning to put a temporary building in order to claim residence. Does he have the right to do this? Please advise.
Ann - 29-Oct-18 @ 9:52 AM
I suspect the neighbour breached building regulations in the building of his extension (some years ago) I've checked on the Council Website and there is no record for any applications for planning permission for his address. How would I be able to find out (if possible) if my neighbour followed Building regulations. Is there any time limit on Building regulations or is a hypothetical failure to follow building regulations lasting?
BLL - 8-Oct-18 @ 7:46 PM
My neighbor who is 20yearsolder thanmy grandson who is now 18 came overand came over and punched him or try to and then his wife came over with the dog ate it slapped him they said that he flipped her off in the morning and my grandson did not know anything about it at the time or side so are they alive then they press harassment charges onhim what can I do
Cathy - 6-Oct-18 @ 12:53 PM
My neighbour has built a kitchen extension but his builder has built up our kitchen wall over roof level as he said this was the only way he could seal it. They haven't put on the pitched roof yet but I think they are trying to rest one side on top of the raised wall on our flat roof. Also the wooden beam laid on the other side looks like it would overhang my property. I think I need to consult the council planning department because if ever I build a kitchen extension I'd be restricted by my neighbours work.
Jazzy - 3-Oct-18 @ 7:12 PM
We build a garage at our back garden less than 30m2 and 4meters hight with piched roof 6meters from our house. Without planning permission. Couple time chek it before we don't need permition to this size building. But our neighbours don't like how hight It is now. They inform about us to government. And told us to wait when some one will came to check It. Do I need to worried about It? Is there is any chance that we will need destroy it after.
Brigete - 3-Oct-18 @ 4:18 AM
SY - Your Question:
We are thinking about doing a double storey extension in the back garden basically extending the current kitchen and a bedroom on top. Our problem is the neighbours brick shed which is attached to our shed both in our garden. we are willing to pay the neighbour or move the back of our garden. they don't have big garden that's why I think we have their shed. All our street is similar one garden has both shed. what or who has the right to those shed because we want to remove ours for extension purpose please advice. we are desperately in need of a fourth bedroom but unable to make loft as restricted for height issues in our loft. - many thanks

Our Response:
Your title deeds may explain about the brick outhouses/sheds, we can't really comment without much more information.
ProblemNeighbours - 10-Sep-18 @ 11:58 AM
My mother who is 84 has been subjected to an entire summer of building works on one side the noise is so extreme that she has not been able to sit in her garden at all. The dust is extreme and is affecting her eyes. She is afraid to complain and cause a rift. But now it gas gone too far and the neighbour is avoiding her. The dust Is in side and outside the house. Where should she go for advice? The worst scene is the attached side where a beam has been removed which is part of a major structural supporting beam in her house. She’s really desperate. Can anyone advise?
Karina - 4-Sep-18 @ 9:46 PM
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