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News in Focus: Neighbours set to vote for planning permission

Proposed legislation will see planning permission scrapped in favour of a ‘street vote’.

Home » Tradesman Insights » News in Focus: Neighbours set to vote for planning permission

Changes in how home extensions are approved are being proposed by the government and could see neighbours deciding if building work can go ahead.

Proposed reforms would include ‘street votes’ replacing planning permission, putting the power in the hands of the people you’re likely to see everyday.

In his proposal, Michael Gove will allow residents to hold referendums on the style and size of extensions. These changes also include removing the need for planning permission for loft conversions and conservatories.

However, the news has not pleased everyone.

Current extension regulations and procedures

Property owners currently don’t need planning permission to build an extension, as long as the proposed work falls within permitted developments rights. This usually covers the rear of the building.

The property owner will need to seek permission from the local authorities, if work is planned at the front or the side of the property. There maybe further restrictions if the building is listed.

If you’re hired to build an extension, it’s worth checking that your client has informed their neighbours.

Under the Party Wall Act the customer is required to give notice if:

  • Work is being carried out near the neighbour’s boundary
  • Work is being carried out on a wall that separates both the customer and neighbour’s property.

When projects go wrong

Disputes with people next door have often been a nightmare for homeowners who make alterations to their property.

In one example, the Pecks, who own a £1.5 million house in central London, are in a legal battle with their neighbours who built a loft extension against their wall.

The Pecks have complained that the extension crosses their properties boundary and has resulted in cracks appearing in the walls.

In another extension disaster, a 74-year-old pensioner has been waiting five years for the property opposite to complete work.

Mr. Smith has woken up each morning to a building site since the development was given planning permission back in 2017. However, he reports that the site has been deserted and he rarely sees tradespeople carrying out work.

Construction has halted on the rear extension, front extension, and roof extension, leaving Mr. Smith stressed about leaving his house.

To date, there has been no enforcement notice issued and a planning contravention notice concluded that the development posed no risk.

Tradesman Talk

So what do you think? Will waiting for neighbour’s to give the green light on projects make contacts easier to get? Or will it cause more disputes?

Have you ever had to deal with homeowner complaints or legal challenges on proposed or completed work?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below. And share this story with someone you know on social.

Until next time, make sure it’s Tradesman Saver.

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