We are looking at purchasing a house and have just discover there is a planning application for a new development in the fields at the back of the garden.

I have heard mention of a property not being able to be built within xx metres of an existing boundary but wondered if someone could give me some more information.

We like the house due to there being empty space at the back and not being overlooked but are now worried if the application goes through this may not be the case.

Thanks in advance

  • Rachel Haynes

    Hi Simon,

    There is no particular rule that can be applied to all developments that I am aware of. By law there are controls on the proximity of buildings under building regulations due to fire spread and the Party Wall Act can come into effect when a new building is to be built within 6 meters of another in some situations. There is a distance given in permitted development for residential extensions which may be what you’re thinking of.

    In your case, if you are really serious about the property you have viewed I would try and either have a look at the application drawings and documents for the new housing development on the Local Authority planning website or try to arrange a meeting with the Planning Officer who is dealing with the application and ask them to talk you through the design. The Planning Officer should already be raising any issues with loss of privacy, light and amenity to the property with the applicant but if you have any concerns regarding the design you can also raise it with the Planning Officer. From the drawings you will hopefully get a good idea of how close to your potential boundary the development will be and the height of the development and how much of your view you may lose. The drawings should include the positions and heights of surrounding building so you should be able to see an indication of the property somewhere if it is close enough and so see its relationship to the development. The Design Statement should hopefully also include a statement regarding how the development has been designed to minimise loss of light, privacy and amenity to existing properties. Do ensure you feel you have a full understanding of the new development so you can decide whether you can live next to it.

    Hope it goes well.

  • Geoff

    While I have read with interest the answer by Rachel I think you need to be aware that plans can change. There is no guarantee the proposed development will remain as the current application. A change could be for better or worse, so it seems to me you need to weigh up the risks as well.

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