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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8445
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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My neig-hbour has submitted plans large 2 storey extension,

Resolved Question:

My neig-hbour has submitted plans for a large 2 storey extension, which will not only block much of the light coming into my house but which will also be built right up against the wall in between his property and the stretch of road leading to my and my other neighbours' houses, which wall apparently belongs to me according to my deeds. I am not at all happy about this, but what are my rights regarding this proposed intrusion?
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

Is the proposed building immediately adjacent to your land or are you suggesting that he is building on your land? Is it just right up to the boundary?

Have you object into the application for planning permission?

Would this block 50% or more of your light into the rooms of your house? That is a lot of light to lose.

How old is your house and have you checked the deeds to see whether the right to light is excluded?

Would it affect your view?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
My house is 6 years old, and has been built on land behind this house, which formerly was part of its back garden. Under a restrictive covenant, I have a right to light, and the light I enjoy presently illuminates my kitchen and breakfast room, which face east. My garden extends around the side of my neighbour's plot, in between that and the road, until it reaches vanishing point, but my wall carries on until it is level with the front of his house. It looks from the plans as if this extension is going to be built right up to the wall. It is not only 2 storey, but also extends behind my neighbour's house and therefore closer to my own. I fear that a fine conifer growing behind his house may have to go, giving me a view of continuous buildings, whereas at present I see the sky, sun and trees. I am just wondering what the regulations are regarding buildings, and what my rights are. I have notified the planning officer of my concerns. Another of my neighbours has suggested that a hipped roof might alleviate my view. None of my neighbours has been officially informed about this development, which could mar the appearance of our little close by its sheer size and dominance.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I would add that the house on the opposite side of the close to where this extension is planned has a hipped roof.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

If your house has only been built for 6 years then it is not yet acquired the right to light and hence, you have no claim if the neighbour blocks out your light. The light would have to be reduced by 50% before its actionable anyway. You would not acquire the right to light until the property had been built for at least 20 years.

Regardless, it is a consideration for the planning authorities if they believe that the property would be overbearing against yours, whether it blocks any light or not that is regardless of whether you have acquired the right to light or not.

It is the overbearing nature of the property which would be of concern for the planning authorities, and considering the effect upon your house, not the fact that it is built right up to the boundary. He is allowed to build right up to the boundary provided, and depending on the proximity of any buildings on your property, he serves you a Party Wall Act Notice.

Unfortunately, whilst properties can acquire the right to light there is no right to a view. There is case law on that.

It’s important that if this goes to a public meeting, you attend the meeting do not just send a letter in otherwise, the chairman of the committee can decide that it is not sufficiently important to you otherwise, you would have attended.

I’m assuming that you’ve already put your formal objection in the local planning authority. You may also want to use a planning consultant to put together your objection in the most objectionable way. You may find it money well spent.

Can I clarify anything for you?

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Best wishes.


F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8445
Experience: I have been practising for 30 years.
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