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Neighbours challenging LDC

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by upnorthnow, 11 Sep 2018.

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  1. upnorthnow

    upnorthnow

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    Hi all,
    Yet another PD thread/question that I am looking for some piece of mind on please.

    We had an approved Lawful Development Certificate from our local council to confirm our development ideas. The highways department wanted this LDC from us as we are in a conservation area (i.e. confirms no Article 4 on us and no PD Restrictions for the Classes our development falls under).
    We then went ahead and completed the works. We are very confident that what we have is all lawful under PD law - i.e. our choice of materials and construction process are all within the law and government guidelines/policies.
    (our side of the development falls under Part 1 Class F so easily observed and accessed from the public pavement)

    Some of our neighbours are not happy about us having this. What could they do about this to stop our progress* or revert our development work?

    [* progress being the next bit by highways, which our LDC covered too (Part 2 Class B of the PD laws) and highways department have inspected our completed works, approved (in writing) and we have paid up their fee to construct the kerb.]

    My understanding is they could complain to the planning department that what we have is unlawful, i.e. by trying to claim we are in violation of some technical aspect of the PD laws or we haven't stuck to the original drawings down to a T.

    But then what - Would planning contact us to ask questions, to which we can reply with our evidence, or is the onus on the neighbours to complete their own evidence gathering?
    Or something else?

    Regardless of our original drawings - it's now an even better design, after consulting with different builders, in terms of permeability etc. - we are still all within the PD law as the completed works stand right now.

    Absolute worst case we will entirely rebuild based on any suggestions the council provide us after the negotiation stage of their enforcement process, but I can't for the life of me find any area that the neighbours have any grounds to get their way (which is to block us from exercising our PD rights).

    Please suggest what I could be missing.

    TIA
     
  2. noseall

    noseall

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    What, you have built something different to what was approved?
     
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  3. upnorthnow

    upnorthnow

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    We have built on the same specified surface area and for the same purpose (which is: a hard standing). The difference is that what is built now in terms of the materials used is we have a greater area of permeability (99%) compared to the drawings which only covered about 66%.
     
    Last edited: 11 Sep 2018
  4. noseall

    noseall

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    Your neighbours are bumping their gums about a parking space?
     
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  5. upnorthnow

    upnorthnow

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    Effectively - yes.
    We have no objective information about what the specific complaints are - just rumors from others about any type of complaint that achieves a block on our progress. I am just trying to think ahead about how we would need to defend ourselves assuming it goes down the council's complaints process.

    We are very confident that we are all within PD laws (and have the highways approval in writing for the kerb bit - just that physical work has not yet been completed by them).
     
    Last edited: 11 Sep 2018
  6. tony1851

    tony1851

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    As I understand it, you have increased the area of hard standing by 50% above that agreed by the LDC? Although the work you have done goes technically beyond that agreed by the LDC, it does not mean that the work is unlawful.

    Block paving does not require planning permission as long as it is either permeable or drains entirely within the curtilage (eg to a soakaway), which of course you know.

    Therefore it is still PD, though for peace of mind you would be best re-applying for an LDC for the enlarged area - which the council WILL give you, as long as the paving complies with the conditions stipulated in F2.

    The neighbours can huff and puff and collect any evidence they want, but it is up to the council alone as to whether or not to take any action, which in this case they won't.
     
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  7. upnorthnow

    upnorthnow

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    Thanks for your reply.

    To try and provide a more accurate idea: we don't think it's an increase, just now a replacement. The original had an area of old slab tiles (covering about 30-40% of the entire total area) and our LDC showed to keep that and only replace most of the grassed area with a permeable surface (keeping a small part of the grassed area for the old slab tiles to drain into). But after talking to different builders it was actually the same price (and better for drainage) to remove it all and cover the lot in a permeable material - the extra blocks did not cost much more and actually the labour cost was less as they then had no need to ensure stable separations between the different areas.

    If the council does receive a complaint then would they ask us for a response or just take no action anyway (as the development is all legal)?
    To what extent would planning and highways talk to each other? i.e. Highways have already visited, taken photos and approved our hard standing (which initiated the dropped kerb construction process on their side).
    Do we proactively contact the planning department's complaints team with our evidence, or just shut up and wait?

    If we have to submit another LDC by force then we will, but I don't want to by choice as it's further cost after all the effort we have already put in.

    Plus - on principle - I feel any neighbours need to accept what they have and live with their decisions, which is: moving into a house where their only access to car parking is the public road and all the risks of available space that the road comes with.
     
  8. jonbey

    jonbey

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    Want to share a photo? Might be handy to see what the neighbours are complaining about.
     
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  9. upnorthnow

    upnorthnow

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    Some of the neighbours basically don't want the dropped kerb construction to happen, and so trying to find any reason to block that - i.e. if my hard standing is illegal (which seems validated here that it isn't), then they assume it can block the kerb being dropped. The reason can be anything: "it looks terrible", "not enough plants or grass", "no drainage channels", "loss of public parking", etc.

    Being a potential live case I am being cautious about providing a photo out in the public.
     
  10. jonbey

    jonbey

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    Fair enough. Hope you win. Do any neighbours have dropped kerbs? Seems odd to not want people making driveways, usually there are problems with too many cars parked on roads these days.
     
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  11. upnorthnow

    upnorthnow

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    Thanks. We'd prefer a win-win for all. However, others' choice to be irrational. Yes, some others have driveways.
    The complaints seems to stem from a view of "if we can't have one, you can't have one either", which is an attitude we have zero interest in.
     
    Last edited: 11 Sep 2018
  12. Ian H

    Ian H

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    Sounds like they want to park outside your house but the dropped curb will stop them doing that?

    I hope you win too.
     
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  13. upnorthnow

    upnorthnow

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    Thanks. I'm glad I sought validation from the experienced people here.

    I guess so, or more likely the general concern of loss of road parking. Which is irrational: one public road space will allow our 3 cars to come off the road and comfortably onto our own driveway.

    PD law is the law.
    More work on this whole project is decreasing our enjoyment, but if it has to be done then would be interesting to learn what to expect from the council's complaints process to prepare our response.
     
  14. Footsoldier888

    Footsoldier888

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    Not a planning expert here but my understanding of it is that the Highways Agency is the be all and end all as regards the lawfulness of your development, so long as you own the land you are creating the access on.

    I don't see how the surface of the drive relates to it so long as it is permeable and won't be displacing water onto the road. After all, you don't have to have vehicle access in order to hard surface your front garden, you could do it for any other purpose as long as your building isn't listed or covenanted in some way.

    I don't see how the two are related, it is perfectly possible to have a hard standing drive without vehicle access for example.

    The Council are always in contact with the HA, so it sounds like you have nothing to do as regards complaints.
     
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  15. upnorthnow

    upnorthnow

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    Thanks - that's useful as Highways have, in writing, approved. They came more than once - before, during and after the build - and we even hosed water around and the guy was happy.

    Could the following be a legal relation via PD rights, i.e. the legislation document states:

    PART 2
    Class B – means of access to a highway
    Permitted development
    B. The formation, laying out and construction of a means of access to a highway which is not a trunk road or a classified road, where that access is required in connection with development permitted by any Class in this Schedule (other than by Class A of this Part).

    (source: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/596/schedule/2/made )

    ..and this Part 2, Class B is specifically mentioned in our LDC letter from planning.

    Great news. I hope Highways just reach out and ask us the further answers they need (after the neighbours' inevitable 'official' complaining) rather than delay the construction we have paid for.
     
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