Post Planning Advice Please?

We have just returned from holiday to find our neighbours, next door but one, have built an extension with a long side window that looks directly over the fences into our once very private patio area.  We live in a conservation area and was not consulted by either the local council, or by the conservation management scheme.  The conservation rules state that they do not usually allow houseowners to build more than 30 metres from the wall of the building , and we were told exactly this when we built our extension three years ago.  However, this house has somehow managed to wangle being able to  build out approx 60 metres from the back wall and, to add insult to injury, have got permission to fit the long window on the boundary which overlooks our garden (and the garden directly next door).  The structure has ruined our outlook and, more importantly, our privacy on the patio. 
Does anyone know whether we should have been consulted, even though we do not live directly next door, given that we have been so negatively affected? 
Thanks in anticipation.  :)
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  • grumbler
    grumbler Posts: 58,629 Forumite
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    eloisa said:
    However, this house has somehow managed to wangle being able to  build out approx 60 metres from the back wall and, to add insult to injury, have got permission to fit the long window on the boundary which overlooks our garden (and the garden directly next door).
    60 metres?!
    Are you sure they've got the permission for the window?

  • eloisa
    eloisa Posts: 11 Forumite
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    Apologies grumbler, I had a senior moment!  :o The conservation rule is THREE metres from the back of the house, and they have built out approx. five metres (just measured with a measuring tape). 
    They have got permission for the window.  Sorry again for the confusion.  :)
  • grumbler
    grumbler Posts: 58,629 Forumite
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    Well, I think the only option now is to build a 2m fence (and then to grow a 3m hedge if you wish)
  • Doozergirl
    Doozergirl Posts: 33,796 Forumite
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    edited 4 June 2022 at 9:35AM
    How tall is the extension?  Double storey?  

    There are rules on side windows above the ground floor that they either need to be 1.7m high inside the room or opaque glass and non-opening to maintain the neighbours' privacy.  

    Rules in conservation areas can be unique to the specific area but they can change.  Some properties can build at the rear under permitted development, others might need planning permission, but limiting extensions to 3m sounds like an old national PD rule which has been replaced.  
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
  • Section62
    Section62 Posts: 7,737 Forumite
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    eloisa said:

    Does anyone know whether we should have been consulted, even though we do not live directly next door, given that we have been so negatively affected? 

    You probably should have been consulted, but it depends on the process the council followed to give consent.

    Did the property owners make a full planning application for the extension? If you aren't sure, check the council's planning applications site and search for that property.

    The applications (if any) which are shown will give details of the type of application, and each one should include details of who was consulted, any responses, and also a report giving the planning officer's reasons for giving consent.

    Check the officer report very carefully to make sure they have taken everything into account, and not included 'immaterial' issues in their decision making process.  This won't get a planning consent overturned, but you will be able to check what is built is exactly what was consented, and if the planning officer has made an error you may be able to make a complaint regarding the adverse effect this decision has had on you.

    Bear in mind councils often send out consultation letters which residents bin as junk mail... are you sure you didn't get anything?
  • Doozergirl
    Doozergirl Posts: 33,796 Forumite
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    Section62 said:
    eloisa said:

    Does anyone know whether we should have been consulted, even though we do not live directly next door, given that we have been so negatively affected? 

    You probably should have been consulted, but it depends on the process the council followed to give consent.

    Did the property owners make a full planning application for the extension? If you aren't sure, check the council's planning applications site and search for that property.

    The applications (if any) which are shown will give details of the type of application, and each one should include details of who was consulted, any responses, and also a report giving the planning officer's reasons for giving consent.

    Check the officer report very carefully to make sure they have taken everything into account, and not included 'immaterial' issues in their decision making process.  This won't get a planning consent overturned, but you will be able to check what is built is exactly what was consented, and if the planning officer has made an error you may be able to make a complaint regarding the adverse effect this decision has had on you.

    Bear in mind councils often send out consultation letters which residents bin as junk mail... are you sure you didn't get anything?
    All of this, but bear in mind that this is next door but one, they won't get a consultation letter.  
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
  • TELLIT01
    TELLIT01 Posts: 16,433 Forumite
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    Once you've read all the relevant material, call the local Conservation Officer and speak to them about it.  They may be able to give you a quick explanation of the situation and whether everything has been complied with.
  • eloisa
    eloisa Posts: 11 Forumite
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    How tall is the extension?  Double storey?  

    There are rules on side windows above the ground floor that they either need to be 1.7m high inside the room or opaque glass and non-opening to maintain the neighbours' privacy.  

    Rules in conservation areas can be unique to the specific area but they can change.  Some properties can build at the rear under permitted development, others might need planning permission, but limiting extensions to 3m sounds like an old national PD rule which has been replaced.  
    Thank-you for your reply.  It is a single storey extension.  
  • eloisa
    eloisa Posts: 11 Forumite
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    Section62 said:
    eloisa said:

    Does anyone know whether we should have been consulted, even though we do not live directly next door, given that we have been so negatively affected? 

    You probably should have been consulted, but it depends on the process the council followed to give consent.

    Did the property owners make a full planning application for the extension? If you aren't sure, check the council's planning applications site and search for that property.

    The applications (if any) which are shown will give details of the type of application, and each one should include details of who was consulted, any responses, and also a report giving the planning officer's reasons for giving consent.

    Check the officer report very carefully to make sure they have taken everything into account, and not included 'immaterial' issues in their decision making process.  This won't get a planning consent overturned, but you will be able to check what is built is exactly what was consented, and if the planning officer has made an error you may be able to make a complaint regarding the adverse effect this decision has had on you.

    Bear in mind councils often send out consultation letters which residents bin as junk mail... are you sure you didn't get anything?
    Thank you for your reply.  We definitely didn't get a consultation letter from either the council or conservation office.  Apparently only three were consulted:  The houses either side and the house at the rear of the long garden (which is affected much less than we are).  It was such a shock to return from holiday to find our once private garden now has a big building and window looming over it and we didn't know anything about it.  Surely all households affected should be consulted - it seems very unjust.  

    We will double check the plans etc but we are not optimistic - Councils seem to pass anything nowadays.  We are more annoyed with the conservation management office, they come down on everyone with such petty rules (e.g. you shouldn't hang your washing up outside during certain times, or paint your house certain colours) but they have passed this without any consideration to how it affects us.  It is very frustrating.  
  • eloisa
    eloisa Posts: 11 Forumite
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    TELLIT01 said:
    Once you've read all the relevant material, call the local Conservation Officer and speak to them about it.  They may be able to give you a quick explanation of the situation and whether everything has been complied with.
    I called them on Wednesday, as soon as we saw the build, and was told by an administrator that there is not a condition on the agreement to screen the building.  She said she was surprised and was going to email the owner to ask if they can put screening up.  As the owners have been given permission to build it without screening, we are not at all confident they will agree (they haven't moved in yet so we can't speak to them directly).  Plus, There isn't anywhere for them to attach screening to as far as we can see - and it would have to be a very big screen!  The extension is almost touching next door's fence. 
    It was only a quick telephone conversation so we have put all our concerns in an email and have asked for answers.  We feel let down by the conservation office, everyone usually has to ask permission to do every little thing, abide by tons of rules and jump through hoops but this has just been waved through without any consideration for our loss of privacy / outlook.  
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