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

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 26 Oct 2021 | 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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Neighbour has built a rear extension quite some time ago, and it’s only recently been realised this comes on to our land by around 15cm and is a terraced house. As the extension was constructed over 10 years ago, can we still challenge the fact they have built on our land and dug into our foundations?
Natalie - 26-Oct-21 @ 5:49 PM
My son owns his home and is doing a loft extension with permitted planning, all within the correct limits, he had also built his shed again within the correct height etc, his neighbours have reported him to the council planning and trying to cause so much trouble which is causing lots of stress and loss if sleep as doesnt know what to expect next, tbey constantly watch my son and his young family even when kids in garden, we feel this harrassment of somekind
Licious - 25-Oct-21 @ 9:34 PM
One of my neighbors has built a very large building right on the border of my property it stretches from one side to the other on his garden we allowed him to cut down some trees to make it easier for them to do the work but they left all the trees and broken down bits of fence and lumps of concrete also the building on our side is not finished we complained to them and they promised to tidy it up several times but no action is there anything I can do I’m 79 years old and can do without the work but my garden is real mess
Jassinda - 13-Oct-21 @ 8:52 AM
At the bottom of our garden which is not far 12 mtrs the now neighbour built a massive 5 bedroom house across our boundary wall. So he ripped up the planning conditions and free styled.. to the tune of change the colour of the build & roof tiles, changed the FFL by 300mm and raise the land by 700mm higher than planned and changed windows for a Juliette balcony . Building control signed off not knowing the FFl were too high and subsequently all the highlighted blips were passed as non material changes. The planning department have knowingly removed all our privacy... they tested it themselves... these people are now chest high above our wall in their viewing tower at the bottom of our property and refuse to put any privacy screening in place. They have also knowingly used our retaining wall to hold their backfilled land. I now live with a live peeping tom who keeps the garden lights out so we don't know he standing there... and finds it acceptable to use our property retaining wall to support his land. Totally disgusted at the Planning Officer who takes no blame for his incompetent action and now live in a property that planning have granted the neighbour the right to remove all privacy from our own home and garden... our kitchen, family room and lounge all face onto the garden. This individual also uses the wall as a storing place which I presume is to antagonize. I have nightmares about what he is going to do to us next and laywers don't seem to want to touch the issue...
Johnny - 8-Oct-21 @ 3:28 PM
Our neighbours adjacent to our property have erected 2 large bright floodlights at the front of their property and now also a large gold arabic sign on the apex of the property. As the regs are 0.3 sq Mrs this is in excess of this. I had asked what the purpose of this was and they replied its their home and it says beautiful in arabic. Since erecting this sign and lights our narrow avenue has been inundated with cars at all times of the day and evening and parked cars.
SHELLEY - 5-Oct-21 @ 12:07 PM
Our neighbour has put in large skylight windows on our side when no planning permissionfor windows was granted at the time of building. This has blocked us from seeing the night sky because the windows have lights in them all the time even at night. It is causing us a lot of distress. A lot of light pollution. We can also hear them in their toilets.we can smell it to. When we sit in our patio. What can we do. The council do nothing.
Lobo - 3-Sep-21 @ 10:21 PM
Next door neighbours applied for planning permission and showed me elevation with existing flat roof height/ eaves retained. We were OK about it being extended forward for porch. Drop to our side = 2650mm . Looking at drawing shows 2450mm door sill at front up to eaves at end of flat roof. They now wish to increase height to eaves which will reduce light through glazed back door and side panel. But have not revised planning application.1.5m gap between their wall and my back door and 2.5m high above my door sill.
AngusNE - 25-Aug-21 @ 4:57 PM
We are exactly the same. No notification of planning yet we are the most significantly affected. Get know where with the Council and don’t even go near CAB! I’m just paying a lawyer to look into it. £7k is nothing in comparison to a substantial devaluation of property due to incompetence of someone else. Even with a lawyer on board it’s complex. The notification it’s self is not grounds but worth checking planning reports against the councils procedure. I’ve found several errors which I’m hoping helps. I’ve also arranged a boundary surveyor to visit my property and to install metal polls marking boundaries for future reference. These problems only go away if challenged. The Councils know most neighbours will moan and just go away! What a way to spend holiday funds?? all I want is a GT by the pool. Will keep posted on my progression??
Pom-poms - 18-Aug-21 @ 2:44 AM
We have new neighbours next door ,we are semi detached 2 bed bungalows ,the problem is they have built a very large smart kitchen / living areaat the back of their property,they now have three bedrooms .they have converted one of the original bedrooms into a utility room and a bathroom they installed roof velux type windows in the roof these two rooms are back to back with our main bedroom the problem is we can hear people using the toiletduring the night which I find distressing and it disturbs my sleep pattern ,the utility room we can hear a washing machinealthough not through the night we often hear it early morning and other times throughout the day.My questions is would they have got planning permission for this type of conversion.The gentleman came to our door when he bought the property with plans and explained what he was planning to do I thought it looked a good conversion,the way he held tightly onto the papersand his thumb must of covered the the bathroom .
Concerned - 3-Aug-21 @ 3:54 PM
William Osborne, the same thing happened to me regarding my neighbours extension. He knew I had objections regarding the loss of light and that when given the opportunity I would oppose the application but I never received the letter to do so and thus the application was passed. I spent 6 months emailing complaints to the local council, our local MP and also involving the ombudsman all to no avail. The council's evidence was to show a copy of the letter that was allegedly sent out and therefore the ombudsman ruled that they'd complied with the correct procedures but it doesn't prove that it was actually sent. Its not a coincidence that out of 6 neighbours who were sent the letter, the only one that was going to object didn't receive it.
Karen - 25-Jul-21 @ 7:04 PM
My neighbour wants to convert a bedroom into 2, but wants to knock a door through the boundary wall below my kitchen and living room where I have gas pipes we live in a block of maisonettes. The builder is limited to work evenings and weekends and I'm concerned about the structural damage this door could leave to my property, her's is leasehold and we are in the debate whether to we should right to buy our property but this is causing medeep concerns 1st who works evenings and weekends and 2nd why would she want to knock into a boundary wall many builders have walked away from the job and now shes found this builder whose limited time
Chelle - 2-Jul-21 @ 7:52 AM
@DontPutUpWithIt! - Your first step is to figure out where the boundary lies, through the Land registry (check the documents very carefully and use copies to provide to the builders). I would then have a fence erected to the permitted height (double check with your council first as it can vary especially if you live in these special zones), which is legal and does not require planning permission as long as it is built on your private land. Install CCTV ensuring you shade out any neighbouring gardens or properties, and you can also get one of those Ring video doorbells - they are relatively cheap as you can also pay monthly with no interest. Add stickers to warn you have CCTV, and use your cameras to gather evidence your neighbour is acting in a threatening manner. If your neighbour begins the works without planning permission (you will know if he has requested this because you would receive a letter in the post/you can also check on your council's website by inputting his address in case you are worried you didn't receive a letter for whatever reason), then contact your council immediately. Make sure you protect your boundaries before taking any action. If your neighbour is violent then you can also alert the non-emergency police and ask for advice. You could also get a dog if you don't already have one, to keep each other company and bark at intruders including your horrible neighbour. By the way if you want to drown out noise, always think ' water '. It's a water feature you need. It might be worthwhile investing in a good one. As for when you're indoors and need to focus on an activity like working, studying, reading or just any quiet activity, you can get a white noise machine that has water sounds. You will be so surprised. When I had a psychopath neighbour many years ago, I used this little gadget and never heard him again. Lets continue to share any good advice we get and not let these nasty people ruin our lives. Hope anyone reading this can use this advice too. We DO have rights. Don't be afraid and don't let anyone bully you.
Sandy - 30-Jun-21 @ 6:15 PM
Hi We bought a beautiful and well constructed new home last year. At the time of conveyancing we understood that Taylor Wimpey had plans to build more properties at rear of the property . According to the plans these houses were to be at the same level as ours so would not have impeded our privacy . Fast forward 12 months and I am now looking at what I can only describe as a three story monstrosity. The ground floor looks into the bedrooms, the second floor in to the kitchen and now a third roof window in to the garden . Whilst I am aware developers are encouraged to reduce the transfer of waste materials (rubble/broken brick etc) from site to waste or landfill, We realised very quickly that Taylor Wimpey ethos was to dump all building waste into the foundations of the house that had been built at the back of our garden . Therefore the 3 story house is much higher than the plans suggested . Though I don’t have any evidence of the original topography of the building plot which Taylor had obtained planning consent with I am sure the land levels have been interfered with prior to footing being dug. I have written to Taylor Wimpey numerous times asking as a minimum for some screening and I have lodged a complaint with our local planning office . No reply ! I am at a complete loss and it has destroyed our forever home . Is there anything I can do .....???
Lou - 12-Jun-21 @ 7:58 AM
Hi We bought a beautiful and well constructed new home last year. At the time of conveyancing we understood that Taylor Wimpey had plans to build more properties at rear of the property . According to the plans these houses were to be at the same level as ours so would not have impeded our privacy . Fast forward 12 months and I am now looking at what I can only describe as a three story monstrosity. The ground floor looks into the bedrooms, the second floor in to the kitchen and now a third roof window in to the garden . Whilst I am aware developers are encouraged to reduce the transfer of waste materials (rubble/broken brick etc) from site to waste or landfill, We realised very quickly that Taylor Wimpey ethos was to dump all building waste into the foundations of the house that had been built at the back of our garden . Therefore the 3 story house is much higher than the plans suggested . Though I don’t have any evidence of the original topography of the building plot which Taylor had obtained planning consent with I am sure the land levels have been interfered with prior to footing being dug. I have written to Taylor Wimpey numerous times asking as a minimum for some screening and I have lodged a complaint with our local planning office . No reply ! I am at a complete loss and it has destroyed our forever home . Is there anything I can do .....???
Lou - 12-Jun-21 @ 7:56 AM
50 years ago builder bought land at bottom of long gardens where my house was built side on to his. Since then I have enjoyed a private and peaceful small garden. New neighbour is building large family room/workshop up to my fence. He has replace 5foot fence with 6foot one and building makes it about 8 foot. This is what I now look out on to from my window. It runs the length of my garden, about 22 foot. Building is furthest away possible from his house but as near to mine as it could be. He is building to the max without planning permission. Do I have any privacy rights.
Freckles - 11-Jun-21 @ 12:38 AM
My neighbour has started dealing in cars having people viewing them all hours of the day and night is this legal he has 12 cars on his garden at the moment fumes come in my windows when I have them open and they have jet wash running all the time sick of it now please advise me what I can do
Vonnie - 10-Jun-21 @ 2:13 PM
Hi, my neighbour who has everything in the garden except a fence now wants permission to build an extension next to my bedroom, this person is extremely loud, has made threats against me and my home and has been caught peeping into my windows from his property, there is no privacy inside my home and there is no peace and quiet in my home... any thoughts or advice is welcome, thank you in advance. lots of love to everyone suffering at the hands of other selfish people.
DontPutUpWithIt! - 7-Jun-21 @ 6:20 PM
Property 2 bed bungalow New neighbours applied for planning permission for rear extension single storey no problem there took measurements same height as our conservatory although slightly deeper. The building has now exceeded height when challenged at first argued point saying it hadn't then had to apologise blamed builders said he was speaking to planning dept ?Bank Holiday Tuesday came with builders continuing who are also installing warm roof? So building is just growing and growing all dust etc from chipboard and insulation coming into my garden We are now looking at brick wall from conservatory and lounge have to keep blinds drawn.quality of life diminished husband poorly doesn't need this I do not want a war with new neighbours but at same time can't believe what they say.
Lynn - 5-Jun-21 @ 1:34 PM
Hi everyone I have a question is my neighbour allowed to erect a trellis panel against my 3ft fence in the front garden without permission I an in a council house and have not been informed in anyway that they were going to do it , when I open my front door I'm faced with a 6ft trellis that looks monstrous and discussionis with the neighbour is not possible as they can prove to be very sociableThankyou for any advise you can give
Sandy boy - 18-Apr-21 @ 11:25 AM
I’ve just found out that my neighbour wants to building a block of flats in their garden. Which will block the sun in the garden and my other neighbours gardens will overlook my small daughters bedroom. This is all news to me as I never received a letter from the council but my other neighbours received 2 letters over the past few months. I work for Royal Mail and did not once receive any letter about planning Application, So now I’ve missed the chance to object! What can I do now? Who do I blame for not receiving either letters? can I take level action?
william osborne - 9-Apr-21 @ 8:39 AM
I live in a terraced house. My next door neighbour had an extension built to the rear of his house 7-8 years ago or maybe even earlier. There is a strange thing that I've noticed recently about the width of this building. It is not the same along the depth of the extension. The depth of the extension is about 2 meters, and the last 2-3 feet of it the width is about a third of the brick (approx 3 inch) wider than the rest of the extension.I have already contacted my City Councill but their response was 'If an extension was erected 4 years ago it becomes lawful due to the passage of time.' Is it true that nothing can be done after 4 years? How could he get a planning permissionto built over the boundary?Or maybe it's not so obvious, and i am wrong, and he is right?
Nat - 19-Mar-21 @ 1:44 PM
we have just found out one of our neighbours i changing his rented house into two flats is planning permission needed
MOUSE - 12-Mar-21 @ 7:02 AM
The guy whose garden is on our road had permission granted to build a garage at the top of his garden. This garage is opposite our house. I objected as it is a double garage and it meant taking away too many spaces on an already difficult to park road. He has got the permission,but with conditions. He is supposed to park his wifes car in the garage and out his in front. This he does not do. He brought a kit car to play with and keeps that in the garage, meaning his wifes car is still on the road. He also does not have a dropped kurb and uses a traffic cone to block the road when he is not in. The planning for the garage also states that it is to be used as a garage for the enjoyment of the family as anything else would have an impact on the areas parking. To make matters worse the wife has now opened a dog grooming business in a separate room in the garage, which means we are going to end up with clients coming and going making parking even worse. Do I have a case to put to the council and who do I send it to?
Jl - 5-Mar-21 @ 9:39 PM
Hi, My neighbour has built an extension and in the planning permission it stated that first the demolition of the garage before commencing with erection of extension which he has not done as just taken door off.This is affecting the light into my garden. Does he have to knock it down as planning stated? Also I have a detached house and his property is now 2ft away from mine and they play loud music day and night. Where do I stand? I appreciate your help. Kindest regards Stuart Johnson
Stu76 - 5-Mar-21 @ 3:29 PM
Hello i would like some advice if you here deceived about some one taking away trees from your property and not told it was for line of sight to get planning permission for a factory said it was just tidy the road up can i stop this going ahead thanks
Damian - 21-Feb-21 @ 10:24 PM
Hi. My neighbour has a history of neglecting her property which is attached to mine (semi detached). We have had to seek help from Environmental health and social services in the past. she has now asked the council for a dropped kerb. It is the siting of the dropped kerb that worries me as the driveway would then be literally on our border with her property. She has a shed which would have to be demolished in order to facilitate the driveway but this shed is attached to our shed. We paid a lot of money last year to have our shed restored and we are worried that she won't make good any damage she causes and that removing her shed will cause the party wall to let in water. We won't be allowed on her property to do any remedial work and she sure won't do any herself. Also she would have to demolish the wall that is between her garden and the street. I fear that our wall may be damaged where it meets hers. I wonder if I have any rights to object or if there is any legal letter I can send her in advance to guarantee compensation if she either doesn't finish the work and makes it look even worse than the tip it is already. Also, she has a perimeter of about 100ft so it is very annoying that she has chosen to park all 4 of her cars right next to the boundary wall. Additionally, she will have to either excavate or build higher for the driveway as the houses are lower than the road. Is she allowed to lower or raise the level of her garden alongside the (garden) party wall. I'm sure it would make the brick wall unstable if it was lowered.
Deb - 18-Feb-21 @ 12:34 AM
Having just checked the planning permission for our loft conversation done back in 2004 online via planning portal I was curious to see if our neighbour had permission for his built in 1997 as at the time he said he had not finished and not had the inspector in. Were the applications put on line after a certain year?or should they be showing as far back as 1997?
snow - 16-Feb-21 @ 12:09 PM
To Whom it May Concern, My new neighbours from 2017 had their semi detached house renovated for over a year with a loft conversion, rear extension and garage converted to living room. They didn't want to pay for a party wall agreement and I felt too intimidated to insist.The neighbour instead looked around the house.He has harassed me a few times asking to buy my house saying I'd be better in a flat.I've said I've no intention of moving.They haven't spoken to me for 3 months.Since the works have been completed, their slamming of doors and such is a lot worse and can hear them clearly in their rear extension which I didn't expect to as its outside our house and chairs scraping across the floor.Is there anyone from the council who can check their planning application was carried out accurately as I can't help thinking things have been built to create maximum disturbance to try to make me move house.The neighbour occasionally parks in our garden but police are powerless and he was hostile when I complained once. However the slamming problem is what is making me lose sleep.
Becka - 14-Feb-21 @ 12:36 PM
To whom it may concern I’m writing for your advice.about the conversion I’ve done in the rear part of the garden but it is owned by the housing association. I was told that I could feel a chill out room with an outside bathroom from the surveyor And planning from the council that long as I keep the building 2.5 metres.I would not need any planning even though it’s a concrete building is to build with in it’s borderline and not overseeing any neighbours.I have followed all the regulations they asked me to do plus me the only thing they asked me once it has been finished is to provide them with the necessary certificates one for the plumbing and one for the electrics.Which I will do once a year has been completed or plant plumbing has been done and all pictures have been sent plus email we have followed the guidelines step-by-step it also provided them with the pictures and the company we get our building supply from.Now once all that has been done it’s not fully completed fully completed concerning the splash room they want to say is right even though we followed the guidelines I think this is a right action and threaten me with my home and cook procedure of demolishing the building I would like to know my legal right of action.I don’t understand What has going on you can’t tell the tenant that they can and then after a while because I’ve got a case against you I’ve been backtracking of what we agreed even though it was verbally agreed but not done in writing and now all the plumbing work has been done you want the tenant to pull up everything even though it has been done to A high standard you want the tenant to pull everything out at that“ or you demolish the building even go follow your guidelines I need to know where I stand because it’s not an authorised if it was an alright I would not have email concerning the building would appreciate for any information that you can provide me with any Information and legal right to stop them harassing me and to keep my outside building thank you Miss Rm Larmond
Xenos1 - 6-Feb-21 @ 9:46 AM
To whom it may concern I’m writing for your advice.about the conversion I’ve done in the rear part of the garden but it is owned by the housing association. I was told that I could feel a chill out room with an outside bathroom from the surveyor And planning from the council that long as I keep the building 2.5 metres.I would not need any planning even though it’s a concrete building is to build with in it’s borderline and not overseeing any neighbours.I have followed all the regulations they asked me to do plus me the only thing they asked me once it has been finished is to provide them with the necessary certificates one for the plumbing and one for the electrics.Which I will do once a year has been completed or plant plumbing has been done and all pictures have been sent plus email we have followed the guidelines step-by-step it also provided them with the pictures and the company we get our building supply from.Now once all that has been done it’s not fully completed fully completed concerning the splash room they want to say is right even though we followed the guidelines I think this is a right action and threaten me with my home and cook procedure of demolishing the building I would like to know my legal right of action.I don’t understand What has going on you can’t tell the tenant that they can and then after a while because I’ve got a case against you I’ve been backtracking of what we agreed even though it was verbally agreed but not done in writing and now all the plumbing work has been done you want the tenant to pull up everything even though it has been done to A high standard you want the tenant to pull everything out at that“ or you demolish the building even go follow your guidelines I need to know where I stand because it’s not an authorised if it was an alright I would not have email concerning the building would appreciate for any information that you can provide me with any Information and legal right to stop them harassing me and to keep my outside building thank you Miss Rm Larmond
Xenos1 - 6-Feb-21 @ 8:11 AM
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