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Aston Lawyer
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10632
Experience:  LLB(HONS) 23 years of experience in dealing with Conveyancing and Property Law
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Can my neighbour errect decking at approximately 50cm from

Resolved Question:

Can my neighbour errect decking at approximately 50cm from ground level without planning permission, which furthermore, is directly up against the boundary fence and effectively gives them a viewing platform over my garden?
Kind regards,
James.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 3 years ago.
Hello and thanks for using Just Answer.

I am Al and am happy to assist you with your enquiry.

Planning permission is indeed required if The decking is more than 30cm above the ground.
Provided you are confident that the neighbour's decking is over this height, you should put a call into your Council's Planning department tomorrow to raise the issue.
Under planning law, Council's have 4 years to take enforcement action (to include asking the offending party to remove the decking), so the fact that the work appears to have been done does not hamper your situation.

I hope this answers your question.

Kind Regards
AL
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Dear Al,


Thank you for the initial reply. Having looked at the local council website I am aware of the 30 cm decking rule which, as you say, sounds encouraging from my perspective.


 


What I would appracite some further detailed guidance on however is the laws view on an individuals 'right to privacy' - I believe the 30 cm decking rule is partly designed to help police this issue?


 


Secondly I have been informed by friends who have had similar boundary disputes over the years that there is nothing to stop me planting a screen of trees on my side of the boundry line, and that furthermore there would be no height restriction on the trees provided that I maintain them well and ensure no branches overhang the boundary. My understanding of this is that an individual does have a right to privacy, but that a right to a view and light does not exist?


 


Please could you confirm my position re:


 


- right to privacy


- right to plant a tree screen (specifically height and the particular details re: right to a view and right to light).


 


Thanks in advance.


Jim.

Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jim,

Thanks for your reply.

The planning laws on decking were brought in to tend to issue you are experiencing. There are no other laws concerning privacy in the garden, other than those under planning law.

You are of course free to plant your own trees to block out any views of next door. (If branches overhang the boundary line, you neighbour would be entitled to cut off the branch length that overhangs, provided the branch was then returned to you).
As regards XXXXX XXXXX gardens generally, there is legislation in place- Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003 which covers leylandii and hedges, in that these need to be under 2 metres in height. This legislation does not however apply to "normal trees".

I hope this helps.

Kind Regards
AL
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jim,

Can I assist you with anything else?

Kind Regards
AL
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Al,


That is helpful, thank you. My final queries are as follows:


- The property erecting the decking is council owned (mine is not). Presumably in a way this is helpful as I can take the matter directly to them rather than needing to deal with the current tenants?


- Confirmation that the anti social behaviour act of 2003 only applies to hedging and leylandii, and not all evergreen trees?


- Presumably the 30cm decking height rule was specifically set so that even if it were erected next to a 6ft (180 cm) fence the effective height of the fence boundary would still be at least 150cm and therefore above the eye line of most adults?


- I cannot believe under any circumstances people would have a legal right to erect decking which then granted them a viewing platform over a private garden. To me, this is simply ludicrous and something I have never seen in any neighbouring/friends/family garden - please can I get you specific view on this.


- Finally what would you recommend as my next course of action? Clearly contacting the council and their planning department, but would it be worth making contact with either/both a local legal specialist and someone from the RICS (Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors). The RICS involvement was the advice from the citizens advice bureau but I wanted to understand if this was of value legally?


Thanks and kind regards,


Jim.

Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jim,

The fact that next door is Council owned should make it easier for you, as the Council will want to get it resolved quickly and the Tenant may well be in breach of their Tenancy Agreement by carrying out this work without Council's consent.

The 2003 Act covers an evergreen or semi-evergreen hedge of two or more trees or shrubs standing in a row
and the hedge is over two metres high.

The fact you have a 6ft fence does not alter the fact that planning permission is still required for any decking over 30cm above the ground. As regards XXXXX XXXXX issue, this is why planning permission is required- Councils look at all cases on their merits and if the raised decking is likely to intrude on a neighbour's privacy, planning permission won't be granted. From what you have told me, I doubt very much that planning permission would be granted to your neighbour.

I wouldn't waste your money on a Chartered Surveyor, just yet. Please see what the Council have to say and if you are not happy with their initial views, you should consult a suitably qualified Surveyor to assist you.

I hope this helps.

Kind Regards
AL


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