Plan ahead in disputes over extenstions

Lawyer Fiona McNulty explains the legal process of objecting to a neighbour's planning permission
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Question: Our neighbours have just been granted planning permission to build a two-storey extension on the side of their house. This will have quite an impact on our property.

My husband and I had no idea they had made an application and we would have objected had we known. Is there anything we can do now? We would like to appeal against the planning consent.

Answer: There is no right of appeal against someone else’s planning permission. However, your local council is required by law to publicise planning applications by doing such things as advertising in local papers, putting up a site notice and notifying neighbours in writing.

If you believe your council failed to do these things, you can complain to the council first and then to the Local Government Ombudsman.

If the planning application was approved without the proper publicity requirements and the council didn’t follow relevant guidance, the Ombudsman can award you modest compensation if you are directly affected - but can’t overturn the planning permission.

Another option is to challenge the planning permission by judicial review, which is complex and can be a very expensive procedure. If successful, the permission may be quashed but would probably also be sent back to the council for them to deal with properly. Do consult an experienced planning lawyer if you want to go down this route.

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If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

Fiona is a partner in the residential real estate team at Thring LLP www.thrings.com.

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