Planning Permission Objection

Just as life seems it can’t get any worse, I get a letter through the door advising me that my next door neighbour in a 1930’s residential area want to built a three story house in their back garden which is unheard of in my area and the style certainly out of keeping.

Anyone had any success in blocking a planning application - not sure where to start and how to tackle it in the best way.

My house is the one with the red circle

This is what it will look like

Hi Andy,

I’ve been involved in a couple of planning applications down the years, though I’m no expert.

Broadly speaking, the standard grounds to object can be summarised as :

  • Loss of light or overshadowing.
  • Overlooking/loss of privacy.
  • Visual amenity (but not loss of private view)
  • Adequacy of parking/loading/turning.
  • Highway safety.
  • Traffic generation.
  • Noise and disturbance resulting from use.
  • Hazardous materials.

From the outline plan above, I’m assuming that access to the proposed dwelling would be from what looks like a cul de sac at present, which would seem to address the Highway safety and parking issues.

The Overlooking / Visual amenity / Overlooking ones are more tricky, and often come down to the opinion of the individual planning officer involved.

Sadly, as I once discovered, we don’t actually have the right to protect our current private view, no matter how any new structure impinges upon it.

It looks like you might be up against it, but I think the best plan is to visit the planning department to discuss matters, as soon as you receive notification of any upcoming application.

Sorry I can’t be more positive, and am quite prepared to be corrected by anyone more knowledgeable in planning affairs.



Hi Andy, your privacy, being overlooked might be a worthwhile objection to use, but all the affected neighbours need to make the same objection.
Not in keeping with the building style of the neighbourhood has worked in a case I know about, but this was not quite the same as you as the adjoining properties were 18th century listed & another within view was 17th century with some notable history attached. But in your case it would be worth using the not in keeping angle.

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We had a similar application recently by our neighbours, for 4 homes. The sticking point has been the assumed developers right to be able to access across a small crescent of flats that have to pay for their own street lighting, indemnity insurance for the parking area etc, followed by highways saying access was inadequate. Its been withdrawn…for the time being while they try and legal their way through it. I did suggest to the residents committee that looked after the crescent, that they brought in a private parking contractor…as their was no way that they builders would not block their homes or be waiting to deliver materials, as the access was too tight. Best of luck, the building looks ugly.
The other game changer was an old Oak tree that takes up a lot of room/ light…it had to stay, this has reduced the scope for the number of houses possible. I was surprised by the environmental groups who just sent in tick the box letters that planners must just throw in the bin. These were ancient trees.

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The right to a view disappeared in the seventeenth century, but the comments overlooking etc are very valid.

Firstly contact the planning department and object. Where I live (Newbury) if there are over 10 objections it must go to the planning committee. Get everybody you know , friends, family , other neighbours to object and get them to do it on individual letters, not two people signing one letter.

Then approach your District Councillor, do it in a way that doesn’t come across an NIMBY

  • List item

stating it will become an oversized building disproportionate to the size of the original
loss of light

It is very important to take a professional approach and keep emotion out of it.
If the building you live in is more than 20 years old, your building has rights of light

Finally, get down to the planning office or at least telephone and as for the local planning guide to new buildings.

They should have one.

Basically this is what is known as a garden grab, you haven’t said whether you live in a AONB or a Conservation Area

If this building is given permission then you are in a good position to sell off part of your garden to develop it. If you are thinking of realising some cash from the property discuss with the neighbour a joint development perhaps of three properties at the bottom of both your gardens. The problems such a development might give could be sufficient to put off your neighbour from wishing to build the proposed house.

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Sorry Andy I replied to Dave instead, please, please forget about a right to a view, you can look up Aldred’s Law on Wikipedia

You can also look up rights to light on Wikipedia

Best wishes

Might be worth finding out who owns the land the cul de sac road is on, and whether they have given permission for access.


Thanks to everyone for the input, I’m garnering the support of the neighbours who are impacted as well.

Yes, I know, in this day and age it’s going to be an up hill battle.

Andy - this can be foreboding but underneath all this there is a process (generally considered biased towards the developer - sadly), the primary challenge is to understand the rules of the game (Planning Policy & Guidance), the lexicon of planning speak, and how one goes about making a valid objection (i.e. one which, as others have flagged above, is relevant in the context of local planning policy & controls). I would suggest:

1- For starters, is the letter you have a formal advice from the Council or just an advice from the property owner(s)? Or perhaps someone acting on their behalf - perhaps the plot is to be sold conditional on getting PP?

2- Assuming it’s an official letter, check the timeline for responses. As the construction of a dwelling in a rear garden, I strongly suspect the local Council will not regard as a ‘Permitted Development’ (one which doesn’t require formal PP via C’tee) and it will require a full Planning C’tee.

3- Contact other local residents and seek out their views. Let’s assume their thoughts are the same re precedent in the locality (being mindful of situation of the plot/access et al).

4- Contact your local Councillor and flag with them. FYI, in general, Councillors are Chinese-walled from Planning Dept’s to avoid conflict of interests amongst other things, so they may have only just have learned of this too.

Ask them first by enquiry though, as if they are a member of the Planning C’tee, they may not be able to become involved and may nominate a proxy.

Assuming they can engage, get objecting local residents to engage with them individually.

5- Look up the local Council website (contact Planners as needed) and get a copy/print of the Local Plan or equivalent (note the noun), as this is highly likely to include all governing local development principles and controls. These can be quite broadly drafted - I think what you are looking at here is an in-fill site and there is sometimes specific guidance around these. The principles will often be written/expressed with guidance/instructional narrative (councils have to sign up to ‘Plain English’ too).

A word of warning - many local authorities (LAs) are under pressure to consent to new residential developments at the moment given pressure to build post the publishing of the National Planning Policy Framework in 2019. But - the latter doesn’t give carte blanche to developers.

6- Try and frame objections tested against local development controls i.e. as per the principles in the Plan document. The more local residents object the better.

– as a group, you may wish to engage a planning consultant (£’s not cheap) and a local councillor is usually the route to go, especially if you are in what sound like a ‘conservation area’ (with a very small ‘c’ - not a formal one?).

And be forensic, take photos to support contents & submissions - really think around & even outside the box. The (professional) skillsets of neighbours may help?

Around where I live, an opportunistic developer tried something on and the residents won!

Do ask more if you want.


Excellent many thanks for this it is really helpful. I’ve been on to points 1 - 4 already so glad I’m on the right track and yes it’s an official notification from the council planning office giving me until 18th May to raise objections.
I’ll look into your other points - thanks again.

Sorry I omitted the bit about printing off all relevant documents which accompany the submission - I’m sure you’re on to this too. They should all be on the Council’s 'site.

When I looked at the submission docs and many of the supporting submissions for my local application, I was incredulous at many of the contentions and statements therein, many of which were factually wanting (that’s being polite). This is where a developer gets an advantage.

Also, check out things like Fire Regs and needed access to residential dwellings and also refuse/recycling collection arrangements, plus need for drainage/sewer access.

The Council should do this as part of the Planner’s assessment.

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Great advice above. Also check your Council’s Local Plan especially with regard to minimum distances between new and existing buildings and gardens. Stick closely to relevant planning issues, i.e. contraventions of what the council says its planing policies are in the LP. The balconies are probably intrusive and overlooking and if they are not a feature of other houses locally certainly objectionable. Try and get support from your local councillors, they may be able to give you some inside info on the council’s attitude. Galvanise all affected neighbours to object. The planning system, thanks to Cameron & Pickles, is now heavily weighted in favour of developers - they can appeal an adverse decision you can’t. The council can impose conditions if granting permission this can be key to taming an oppressive development. Good luck.

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Hi… having been a parish councillor, I can absolutely recommend garnering local neighbour support, and raise at your town council or parish Council your objection. Your parish Council has to provide a view of recommendation of acceptance or rejection to the planning dept… although not binding, it seems to carry quite some weight, especially if multiple neighbours object on grounds as stated above.
The other major considerations are village envelope, wild life impact, and flooding however looking at your plan neither of these seems likely apply.

Don’t be too reliant on conditions… you have to be vigilant to have them enforced, however previously when I was councillor I was involved with having conditions enforced after they had been ignored. The property owner then had to remedy the situation to comply with the original planning conditions at their cost.


Watch out for the communication between the developer and planning department. We found letters that had to be posted…were on first name terms. We complained that it was too comfortable. Hoping it made the planners and our local councillor…uncomfortable.


Good point. We even had the situation where the council’s planners and the developer’s agents all, ultimately, worked for Capita PLC. Check the application website for updates from the developer.

does this proposed building meet existing code – setbacks, coverage ratios, height restrictions, etc. – or are they asking for any variances?

Andy, the images you posted appear to show the building from the cul de sac end, and nothing facing your property.
This would be useful to know in terms of privacy and overlooking your property.

Just a thought.
How are your relations with the neighbour?
If on good terms you might be able to have a reasonable discussion around reducing the size/extent of the development.
Either way, there’s a risk of future conflict however it turns out which could be upsetting to all parties and might be best avoided at an early stage by discussions.

In part in response (as part anecdote) to @Gazza and also for @AndyP 's info, in my area the Planning Dept. had been involved with the developer for ~10m’s before the formal submission was made for a block of apartments. Notwithstanding being > all the formal controls & guidance set down within their own governance, the Planners ‘supported’ the proposal - it seems they were being led by the need for more residential units in an area which has limited scope for material development. Put cynically (as I got to grips with things and the bigger picture emerged), there was a political game afoot, courtesy of the stupidity of the overall process.

The neighbourhood went ‘ballistic’ (I don’t use the term lightly), as did the councillors. But, and here’s the rub, the fresh Local Plan being worked up, might enable & support such an application.

Takeaway - don’t worry if you ascertain that local planners have already been consulted on this. The governance and authority sits with councillors via the Planning C’tee - and if you get a push-back on this, ask for your councillor to ensure the case is presented (I think it’s called ‘called in’). Of course, objectors & supporters can attend and make representations (s/t content).

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