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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71153
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Dear Sir/Madam, We recently objected to our neighbour's planning

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Dear Sir/Madam,
We recently objected to our neighbour's planning application for a tree house, that had already been built and was right under our bathroom and bedroom window. Their garden overlaps our house. We had tried to discuss our concerns (these are new neighbours, our old neighbours were charming) but they were rude and aggressive, hence our decision to object through the council web-site. In our objection, we included a few photographs that we had taken from our bedroom window showing our garden and their tree house. The photographs had adults and children on them as we wanted to illustrate how their heights on top of the 6 foot structure, allowed them full view into our bedroom and bathroom. This morning I received a Solicitor's letter, written on behalf of our neighbours stating that we had done wrong by including children in our few photographs and they want a written letter to confirm we will never do it again and have destroyed the photographs. I was shocked. The photos were taken from our house and show our garden, with their as a background. What is our position. I feel these people are being intimidating. Thank you, ***** ***** L. Barber
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Have these photographs now gone just to the council?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Yes, they went to the council back in June and of course, only the council.
Thank you Jo so much for your help. Louise Barber.
This is just the usual paranoia. Innocent photographs taken for a specific purpose are taken completely out of context.
I think the next door neighbours are either paranoid or simply awkward under clutching at straws. If they didn't want people looking at their children, they should put them away in a box or keep them in the house and certainly not have them in a tree house where people are likely to look at them! The next thing, looking children is going to lead to some kind of court action!
Your photographs have obviously done their job because they have gone off to the council. There is no reason therefore why you should not confirm (not that you have destroyed the photographs) but that you have removed the images of the children from the photographs.
You can also confirm that you will not take any more photographs of the children.
If you want to, you can ask them to let you know when the children are not going to be there so that you can take more photographs without the children.
I would also tell them that you have no control over the photographs which are now with the local authority.
If you wish, you can make the point that this allows full view into your bedroom and bathroom and you want an undertaking from them that neither they nor their children will look into your bathroom or bedroom and that neither will take photographs that could possibly include you or any visitors to your propert.
I would not involve solicitors because I think it's a needless expense.
Quite frankly, unless these images are indecent ones, you have done absolutely nothing wrong and nobody is going to listen to their allegations.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Your reply is excellent and your feelings are shared by us. These neighbours are difficult and paranoid sadly. You have made some clear point and this helps with our reply to the solicitors. Do we even have to reply? If so, does it have to be within the ten days stated in the letter, as my husband is away for a week? They have made the letter sound like we are duty bound to do as they request, because we have committed a crime.
Thank you Jo, you have reassured me. Louise
No problem and all the best.
Remember that I am always available to help with your questions. Even if I am in Court I will usually pick up a question within 12 hours. For future information, please start your question with ‘For Jo C’.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you Jo, I am sure that I will speak to you again at some point.
May I just ask one more thing about this: do we even have to reply? If so, does it have to be within the ten days stated in the letter, as my husband is away for a week?
Thank you Jo.

Always acknowledge the letter.

You could do that and perhaps add in that these photographs were taken for a specific purpose and you can see no reason why you would have to take any more.

Tell them that they may want to take the issue up with the local authority who now have the images.

I would probably end by saying that you have no further comment to make. I would make it short and sharp and to the point.

If you didn't want to go that far, simply acknowledge the letter and say that you have no comment to make. Tell them their clients should take whatever action they feel appropriate.

Or, simply acknowledge it and say that you've noted the contents and leave it at that.

“We are in receipt of your letter of X the contents of which are noted. We have no comments to make. Yours faithfully.”

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