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Can My neighbour construct a dwelling in his back yard with huge windows overlooking my garden wall and one metre behind my wall?
The Garden Wall belongs to me and one metre behind it Three wide windows my neighbour is building into a new construction of a dwelling house in his back garden.These windows overlook my garden and will prevent me from growing my fruit on my own side as it will then block out the new windows. I have lived here for 40 years
asked in planning

cairina.moschata answers:

Presumably we are talking UK here? Any habitable dwelling must have the approval of the local planning dept and carried out under the inspection by building control officers.

From what you have described, I am surprised that they have granted permission for a building that overlooks your property but the only way to tell is to visit the planning dept and ask to see the file.

Supplement from 12/30/2006 09:19am:

This may or may not be of use to you ...


Basic Information

A Right of Light is protected in England and Wales under common law, adverse possession or by the Prescription Act 1832. Unlike right to freedom from smell and noise, a Right of Light has to be acquired before it can be enforced.

Natural light is a commodity that can be bought, sold or even transferred between parties. Rights can be registered, granted by deed or simply acquired by having a minimum of 20 years enjoyment of light through a window or opening. Once a window has received over 20 years of unobstructed daylight, it automatically earns itself a Right of Light. Such rights are, for Land Registration purposes, overriding interests. They are valid whether or not they are registered on the title deeds to the property which claims the right.

A development may be prevented due to a Right of Light, even if Planning Permission has been granted by the Local Authority.

If a new building limits the amount of light coming in through a window and the level of light inside falls below the accepted level, then this constitutes an obstruction. Unless the owner of the affected window waives his rights he would be entitled to take legal action against the landowner if he considered that his light is being blocked.

To complicate matters further, the law recognises that some loss of light is acceptable and the fact that there is less light does not necessarily give a land owner a right to complain.

The general rules are:

1) The reduction in light must make the property less fit than it was for its purpose.
2) The amount of "appropriate" light may vary depending upon building, use and even region.
3) The amount of light considered to be sufficient will tend to increase as standards of living and expectations increase.

Any kind of 'development' can potentially block light. For instance:

A new shed
Garden walls
Part of a new housing or commercial development.
This may prevent a proposal from the erection


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rasputin1309 answers:

As CM says - visit your local planning office and ask to see the plans/planning approval. It is possible your neighbour is going to end up applying for retrospective planning permission after he has constructed his edifice - it seems to be an increasingly common tactic as people seem to think they will not be asked to knock something down once it is constructed, (the idle rich seem to get away with this all the time), so get down to the local planning dept asap

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Reactionary answers:

Check first the relationship between the council department and the person applying for permission to build - they are all corrupt.

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Logicalawyer answers:

Judging from the photo, i looks essentially like an outbuilding and so its not legally a dwelling, because there seems to be a similar structure to the left in the picture.

How much light do you think you will lose? thats the question! You should raise this matter with the owner and just say amicably that he should give a notice to the local planning authority, if he doesn't then you should.

I would recommend quick action, if you really are concerned and the person is uncoperative then you may wish to apply for an interim injunction until the planning authority has responded. Please take as many photos as you can and send copies with a detailed letter outlining your objections.

Or perhaps you could get legal help if you are unsure.

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