Enforcement FAQs

Please note: the following information is provided as a guide only, and is not an explicit interpretation of the planning legislation.

In what circumstances is planning permission required?

Planning permission is required for most visible external building works and changes of use on private land. There are a number of types of building works and changes of use that do not require planning permission, falling into two main categories:

  • Works which are not defined as 'development' and therefore do not require permission.
  • Works that already have permission, or 'deemed consent'.

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 automatically grants deemed consent for a wide range of works by virtue of 'permitted development rights'

Can my neighbour erect a wall or fence on the boundary without planning permission?

Unless their property is a Listed Building, your neighbour can erect a 'means of enclosure' (gate, wall, fence, etc.) up to one metre in height where it is adjacent to a highway, or up to two metres in height on any other boundary.

If an existing means of enclosure is altered or repaired, it can extend to its former height.

Can my neighbour build an extension or conservatory without planning permission?

In most cases, if the property is a single dwelling house (and not flats) then your neighbour may erect an extension (including a conservatory) without planning permission, within certain restrictions and limitations.

Although some of the limitations are explained below, there are a number of other restrictions and conditions. Given the complexity of the legislation.

  • Extensions may not be more than 4m for single storey extensions on detached houses or 3m deep in any other case.
  • The eaves of the extension must not be higher than those of the existing house. However, if the extension is within 2m of the boundary, the eaves of the extension may not be more than 3m. In a conservation area, extensions may not be more than one storey.
  • Extensions of more than one storey may not be closer than 7m to the rear boundary.
  • Side extensions may only be single storey and no more than 50% of the width of the original house. However, no side extensions are permitted in Conservation Areas.
  • Works to provide verandas, balconies or raised platforms are not permitted.

Can my neighbour build a roof extension without planning permission?

In most cases, if the property is a single dwelling house (and not flats) and not in a Conservation Area, then your neighbour may erect a roof extension without planning permission, within certain size restrictions and conditions, so long as it is not on the principle elevation that fronts a highway.

There are a number of restrictions and limitations, and although some of the limitations are explained below, given the complexity of the legislation, you should seek confirmation by contacting the Town Planning Advice Centre or visiting the Planning Portal website for more comprehensive details or specific advice.

The total volume of the resulting roof space must not exceed the original roof space by 40 cubic metres, in the case of a terraced house or, 50 cubic metres in any other case, and may not exceed the highest part of the existing roof.

Internal loft conversions that do not extend beyond the existing roof may not require planning permission.

Works to provide verandas, balconies or raised platforms are not permitted.

 

Can my neighbour install uPVC windows in their house without planning permission, even in a conservation area?

If the property is a single family dwelling house your neighbour can replace windows or insert a new window in the building without planning permission, as long as the materials used are similar in appearance to those used in the existing building.

Some individual properties within Conservation Areas benefit from greater protection and windows cannot be inserted without planning permission. These properties are subject to an Article 4 Direction. For more information on properties subject to Article 4 Directions, please see the Conservation Areas pages or contact the Town Planning Advice Centre.

Can my neighbour erect buildings or structures in their garden?

In most cases, if the property is a single dwelling house (and not flats or a Listed Building) then your neighbour may erect buildings and structures without planning permission, within certain restrictions and limitations.

Although some of the limitations are explained below, there are a number of other restrictions and conditions. Given the complexity of the legislation, you should seek confirmation by contacting the Town Planning Advice Centre or visiting the Planning Portal website for more details or specific advice.

No buildings or structures are permitted forward of the principal elevation of the property.

All structures are restricted to one storey in height and the eaves may not exceed 2.5m. Where the building or structure is within 2m of the boundary, the total height may not exceed 2.5m.

Works to provide verandas, balconies or raised platforms are not permitted.

Can my neighbour change their shop to a café without planning permission?

If a property has a lawful use as a retail shop (use class A1) and changes to a restaurant, takeaway or café serving hot food (use Class A3), planning permission is likely to be required.

However, if the café is only serving cold food with little or no seating provision for consumption on the premises, planning permission may not be required. Similarly, permission may not be required if the majority of the premises still remain in a shop (Class A1) use. The specific considerations will have to be assessed on a case by case basis.

For more detailed advice contact the Town Planning Advice Centre.

Can my neighbour cut down a tree on their property?

Your neighbour cannot carry out works without prior consent to a tree that is protected. A tree is protected if it is in a designated conservation area and/or if it is subject to a tree preservation order. To find out if a tree has a tree preservation order on it, you should contact the Town Planning Advice Centre. You can also refer to the free leaflet Tree Preservation Orders: A guide to the law and good practice.

Your neighbour can cut down, or carry out works to any unprotected tree on private land.

Can my neighbour run a business from their house?

Your neighbour does not necessarily need planning permission to run a business from their home. Each case has to be assessed on a case by case basis, but the main test is whether the overall character of the dwelling has changed as a result.

If the house is still mainly being used as a private residence, then planning permission may not be required.

Can my neighbour erect a satellite dish on the front of their property, even if it is in a conservation area?

  • In most cases, satellite dishes can be erected on a building subject to various constraints.
  • However if the property is within a conservation area, the dish must not front a highway.

For detailed advice on the siting of dishes you can visit the Planning Portal website or the Department for Communities and Local Government (formerly the ODPM) planning web pages for details of the legislation.

How do I find out if my neighbour has planning permission for the development being carried out?

If you have the address of where the works are being carried out, we can find out whether there are any planning permissions which relate to the address.

You can contact the Town Planning Advice Centre to find out this information.

How do I find out who owns my neighbour's property or any plot of land, fence or wall?

Amber Valley Planning division does not retain this information. You can obtain it by contacting the Land Registry.

What can I do if my neighbour is building an extension or wall and part of it will be on my land?

If your neighbour is carrying out building works that are on your land, you should seek legal advice from a solicitor or the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Land disputes are a civil matter in which the Planning section cannot intervene, unless the works themselves require planning permission (see Question 1).ry - the government department which holds records of who owns land and property in England and Wales.

Who can help me if my neighbour is carrying out works to a party wall?

Works to party walls are purely a civil matter controlled by the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 and the council has no enforcement power to intervene. You should contact a party wall surveyor for advice in this matter; alternatively, the Building Control team may be able to offer assistance.

You can download advice and guidance on this matter from the Department for Communities and Local Government (formerly the ODPM) planning website

Who can help me if my neighbour's builders are working on Sundays and early or late during the week?

If building works are occurring on the site outside of normal working hours (8am-6pm Monday to Friday and 8am -1pm on Saturdays) and are causing a noise nuisance, you should contact the council's Noise Control team..

Who can help me if there is a use operating outside its licensed hours or without a full licence?

The Planning division does not control licences. However, some properties may have their opening hours controlled by a condition on their planning permission. If you want to find out if there are any conditions restricting hours of operation, you should contact the Town Planning Advice Centre.

Who can help me if there is excessive noise, smell or other forms of pollution being caused by activities at my neighbour's property?

If activities at your neighbour's property are resulting in an unacceptable level of noise, smell or other forms of pollution, you should contact the council's Noise and Pollution Control team.

The Planning service cannot intervene in this instance unless an unauthorised change of use has occurred. If a change of use has occurred, then we can only address the use itself, and not any resulting forms of pollution.

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