Sometimes neighbours just don’t get on. With lots of people living in such close proximity, it’s not surprising that people get on each other’s nerves from time to time. However, there is a vast difference between having a tiff and someone stopping you from being able to transform your home into the way you’d like.
But, can your neighbour really prevent you from proceeding with a home extension?
As with anything, the first step is to educate yourself. Think about your extension and how it might be affecting the houses around you. The best way to avoid conflict later is by talking proposals through with your neighbour.
But first, let’s look at the basics;
Why would your neighbour protest to your new home extension plans?
There are quite a few reasons why neighbours might be less than happy about your new extension:
- If it’s going to be a substantial extension, then work is likely to take weeks. Therefore, there will be noise and destructive building for a fair amount of time. If this falls in the summer holidays, early on the weekend or in earshot of individuals enjoying their retirement days, they are going to feel their garden is not quite as relaxing as they want it to be.
- If your building is blocking their view or shading their property, they have a legitimate reason to protest. You are unlikely to agree with an extension if your once sunny garden suddenly plummets into the shade, or the sky is no longer visible.
- It might cause a loss of privacy. If your new building will have a window that overlooks the neighbour’s property in any way, they will see this as an invasion of privacy. This can include a frosted window too.
- Your neighbours might fear that your extension, especially ones close to their house might mean their house price drops. Often the price of homes depends on the location and proximity to other buildings.
You need to check whether or not your extension needs planning permission. Some of them will need it, and other, non-invasive ones don’t. If yours falls under the ones that do, then you need to familiarise yourself with the guidelines and applications.
Never go ahead without checking first. If you build an illegal house extension, no matter how much money you’ve spent on it, it will be pulled down. You can find all the details about planning permission on your local council’s website.
Always check it’s legal
To avoid having an illegal extension or one your neighbour would protest to, you’ve got to know the criteria. These are the following things that mean you need planning permission:
- The extension is more than half the area of the original property. This includes all the extensions that have been done in the past.
- Your plans mean building near public roads.
- The extension is higher than the highest part of the roof.
- It is more than one-story and aims to extend beyond the rear extension of the original house by more than three to four metres. This is the same for the height; you’ll need permission for anything more than four metres.
- Your extension is made of a different material than the original building.
Know your timings
Most applications take around eight weeks to reach a verdict. A major application is more likely to take approximately 13 weeks. You also need to be aware that you have three years from the date of permission granted to begin the development.
Once you’ve applied for an application, a letter will be sent to the neighbours, and a notice will go up outside. This will give the public a chance to make comments (objection or support) if they feel they are affected by the development. They can contact the council within 21 days of the notice, and make their comments. This is known as the public consultation period.
Can a neighbour stop your plans for an extension?
If your neighbours object to your plans, you can appeal and state your reasons appealing. Alternatively, you can amend the plans bearing in mind the reasons for rejection and resubmit the application.
Therefore, it’s unlikely a neighbour is going to be able to stop you from building your house extension completely. However, they can slow down the process or change the nature of your proposed development.
Where possible, try to reason with your neighbours and maintain a friendly and cooperative approach to ensure a peaceful neighbourhood and to give your home extension the best chance for success.