Neighbors loft conversion and party wall

14 Jun 2010
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United Kingdom

I own a terraced house and my neighbor has an end of terrace. The neighbor recently applied for lawful loft conversion planning permission and got a permission. We share a party wall, but the the council did not write to us before arriving at a decision. Is this usual?

Now when I checked my neighbors application on the council web-page, the loft extension diagram shows that the loft conversion shall be done within the boundaries of the the walls around. The diagram clearly shows no walls for loft conversion are on top of existing walls, the loft walls are inside and touch the chimney walls. Where as my neighbor has actually built the loft on the party wall, till the center of party wall and taking half of the chimney on their side. So my question is:

1) If I were to do a loft conversion tomorrow, how does this impact me?
2) Is it allowed to get planning permission on a low scale specifications and then change the specs? The original diagrams submitted to secure planning permission are different to what has been actually built
3) I do not want to be a pain, but if this impacts my future extensions, then while construction is still underway, what should I be doing?

Thanks for your responses.
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Certificate of Lawful Developments are different to Planning Permission. The council do not need to consult the neighbours in such an application.

Are you also aware of the differences of Planning and Building Control?

Read the following:

Certificate of Lawfulness of Proposed Use or Development.

This is where you wish to confirm that what you are proposing would be lawful i.e. it would not require express planning permission. For example you may need to establish that what you have proposed does not constitute development, is ‘permitted development’, or already has planning permission.

What are the benefits of a Certificate of Lawful Development?

There are benefits in gaining a Certificate of Lawful Use or Development. It is a determination that has legal status providing certainty to prospective developers and purchasers of land and buildings. Certificates of Lawful Use or Development will be particularly beneficial to those participating in the housing market. Solicitors representing purchasers of, for example, extended dwellings, will usually require documentary evidence that extensions such as conservatories are lawful. This evidence may assist with the sale of property. Certificates of Lawful Use or Development also provide the necessary evidence that any works being undertaken are lawful if, for example, a neighbour were to make an enquiry or complaint about the work.

With respect to the work carried out thus far, the owner can do what they like provided the conversion still comes under Permitted Development. Here are the rules for PD for loft conversions:

With respect to exactly what structural works they have carried out already on the Party Wall, technically they should have served you with a Party Wall Notice, however as this has not happened it is too late to worry about the merits of such a document. It would be helpful though if you post exactly what your neighbour has done and what you wish to do, it s hard to advise without knowing this. One assumes that they are carrying out the conversion under the nose of Building Control in which case there should be little to worry about.

Having said all that, many loft conversions are carried out and Party Wall Notices not served and adjoining owners go on to complete their own conversions in years to follow without any problems. So unless they've done something particularly mad there's probably nothing to worry about.

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