Will his objection be reasonable? ... and ... is this proposal likely to be accepted?

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Hi.

First time posting here; sorry if this is the wrong section; and sorry also for my terrible diagram - I'm still looking into something a bit more professional - suggestions welcome! (If you don't want to read my waffle, skip to the bold bits).

We've been throwing ideas around on ways to gain a dedicated office, and possibly a 2nd shower room. We have a double garage and half of that could be put to better use. It's not joint to the house though, and we'd like to integrate it somehow, if we're able to covert it.

Neighbour "One" saw me discussing with a builder friend whilst taking a few measurements and giving it some thought .. Of course, he asked what I was up to. We get on quite well so I talked to him a bit about it and said I would like to convert half the garage into an office space, but don't think there is enough of an "overlap" between the back of the garage and the front of the house to build a passageway, and I might have to resolve that by bringing out the front a bit as a single storey extension (if Planning Permission would allow it - I have no idea). He mentioned something about not being allowed to build out that way "due to an agreement" he had with the previous owner(s). I assumed he's talking about covenants. I've already checked mine, but couldn't find anything relevant.

Anyway, he made it quite clear he'd object if I were to put in a proposal for the potential extension, but wouldn't really give me any indication of exactly what his concerns are, except for this "agreement". I said, I'd be very interested to read it if he were able to find it. I've included the locations of the immediate 3 neighbours to give some context.

So, I guess my questions are :

A) This is building out the front (so I expect planning permission will be more picky) - but not up to the extent of the existing garage wall (I had considered that option to begin with, but can't work out how to make the roof work well and not look awful; plus I don't think we need to go that big to get what we need). We have a fair sized front garden (I haven't measured exactly) and we're only planning to extend over < 20% of it. The "road" passing the front of our house, isn't technically a public highway - it's Neighbour One's property (covenants state we have access to our front path by foot). I'm not sure if that's relevant, but I read somewhere there's certain rules that apply only if the house faces onto a public highway. I know I need a more detailed plan, but if / when I manage to get that, or pay a pro, Is it likely that these plans would be approved?

B) Neighbour One will clearly object to this. I doubt N2 or N3 will, but I would probably talk to them before I submit anything.... What (if any) grounds would N1 have to object? I really can't think of anything other than "I don't want you to". Of course, if there are valid restrictions / covenants stopping me, then I'll scrap the whole idea. If he objects the planning application - do you think it would hold any weight? If it's rejected on the grounds of his complaint, I'll probably have to move move (and rent out this house - I'm sure he won't like the sound of that ;)). But... I can't really see any valid points - it's not like this would block light, or access, or be detrimental to the environment, and his "view" at the moment is the back of my garage anyway - about 15 to 20 meters away.

As for the attached diagram, I shall try to explain : the light blue box is the proposed extension, the triangle on the left is my attempt to show how the roofs would join up. (cross gable). The dashed line is the existing rear garage wall (and planned location of the internal door). I'd much rather build the office on the "south" side (it's not actually south but you get what I mean) as 1. there is already a window on that side, 2. I can't put a window on the other side, as that's another neighbour's garden, 3. I still want to be able to access the remaining half of the garage from the back garden (there's already a door on "north" end of the rear wall). This would basically mean bringing out the front of the living room by 2m (There's already a ~1m bay window at present anyway, which would be removed), and allowing a side door to access the new office. There would still be ~1.5m of rear garage wall visible. The smaller part of the extension (sandwiched between the house and garage) would still be external - the roof more like a storm shelter, mostly for aesthetic reasons, so when looking at the back of the extension you don't just see tall slab sided brick wall, and it adds a bit of symmetry (hope that makes sense).

Sorry for the long post. Any thoughts welcome. Many thanks.


Untitled Diagram (3).jpg
 
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The facing the highway rule is for permitted development. It basically means you can't build under PD and must make a planning application.

Planners can be inconsistent with front extensions. I've had several approved and several refused (by the same council) because it is on the front. Good ole random decision making.

Your neighbour can moan and groan but planners should only consider valid objections. I don’t really see any valid objection here. Saying there is a covenant is not a valid objection. Planners don’t get involved in covenants or legal boundary issues.

On that matter you obviously need to check carefully. My advice is download the title registers and title plans for each house (it costs a couple of quid each) and see what they say? If there is nothing on the title then the so-called covenant is a figment of his imagination.

You can download from the link below. This is the direct Land Registry source. Beware that there are sites that charge fees for this – so don’t google and use another website.

 
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Thanks so much for replying jeds.

I've followed the link above, and wasn't that surprised when it said there's no documents available for neighbour no 1. These houses were built in c1980, before the land registry began or something (I'm not sure of the terminology) ... I remember now that we had to pay an additional fee when we bought 8 years ago, because we were the 2nd owners and it needed registration for the first time.

I guess this means that whatever "covenants" exist, only exist on typed out paper, and i won't have anyway of knowing, unless he digs out whatever he still has after buying his house 40 years ago! (he bought from new, hence thinks he owns the road).

I've since had another bash at a slightly more technical drawing, but I'm sure it's not detailed / accurate enough to submit an application... Unfortunately I'm not sure what is.

Having looked at some other applications in our local area, some seem incredibly detailed and professional, but some are drawn out by hand with a pen and ruler (and were approved!)
 
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For a simple application like yours it needn't be highly detailed, but it does need to be accurate to scale, and you must display it at 1:50 or 1:100.
You will need existing and proposed floor plans and also existing and proposed elevations. Plus a location plan at 1:1250 showing yours and the surrounding properties and a block plan at 1:200 showing your property and boundary in closer detail. If you make the application online you can normally download a location plan during the process. Your boundary should be edged in red. The planning dept will check the application before they register it. If they want any more detail they'll ask you for it.

I wouldn't worry about something the neighbour signed when he purchased. If there is a covenant on your property it will be listed in your title register.
 
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Thanks again, that's really useful.

I might be able to do the plans myself... maybe. At the moment though I haven't taken into account wall thicknesses and cavities etc (it's like all my walls are made from paper at the moment!).

I'm reluctant to pay someone at this stage, plus the application fee, just for the council to say "Nope! Not out the front mate, no chance, on yer bike!" (which they could say without technical or highly detailed plans, so that might just be money down the drain).

I'll have to dig out the pack I got when I bought the house, but if I remember correctly, what i have in mind doesn't contravene any of the covenants.

I'd be interested to know what software the pros are using (and if its available to a layman like me)... but whether I'm capable of using it is another matter....

Normally my council has a preplanning advice service, which sounds exactly what I need, but it's still suspended right now cos of the pandemic.

Thanks
 
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Have you looked at the council website to see how others have gotten on with front extensions. Sometimes i find that handy.

Autocad is pretty much standard what most use. I use autodesk revit which is 3d. You can probably download a trial version of the software.

But i would put a bit of effort in to the drawings. If they reject it then you normally get a free re-try.

But by the looks of it he probably doesn't have a valid reason but he may complain that its out of keeping with the local area.
 
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As far I'm concerned an Agreement is not a Covernant. Unless written into the deeds it ended when you bought the property. If it continued with change of ownership your solicitor should have made you aware.
 
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Thanks @Designs.3DR .

Yes, I've had a bit of a look, and a big range of drawings, from rough sketches to very detailed tech drawings... They all appear to have been accepted though, but most of the front extensions are small porches.

I'll probably give autocad / autodesk a try but i haven't yet as i assume it's a month free trial and I'm not sure i have the time to dedicate to it right now.

Good to know you normally get a retry, but from what I've read / understand, handing over some crap and saying "how can i improve this?" isn't going to go down too well .. Sounds like i have some learning to do.

And thanks @Diver Fred , yes i agree. I read the covs again today (well, tried) but the agreement is clearly between the builder and the very first buyer... I think neighbour is just telling me what he wants to believe! Although our solicitor was worse than useless, so wouldn't surprise me if there was something he didn't tell me.


Going back to plans.... If i were to push my luck, and bring out the extension to be inline with the existing garage wall, then as a "compromise" i could offer to bring it back? Or if that not really something you do?

Thanks again.
 
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Ask yourself if the boot was on the other foot how much notice would he take of your concerns?

Then check your covenants and apply for the extension/building you want not something that gets approval from the neighbour.

You wont be happy with it, if its some sort of halfway house compromise.
 
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Thanks @Old Salt

To be honest I couldn't give two hoots if it bothers him or not. The fact he told me what I can and can't do, then walked off.. pretty much brushing his hands together, probably thinking "well that's him told, silly boy".. just made me more determined! He's going to object even if I just installed a catflap.

If it helps I've attached a couple more pics that might help explain what I've got / what I'd like.

The main thing stopping me from just bringing the wall out right up to in line with the garage is a) I'm concerned about lack of light into the living room, and b) not sure how the roof would work. The eaves can't go up too high due to bottom of the upstairs window, and the further out i extend, the shallower the pitch would be (not sure if there's a minimum) - and it wouldn't match the pitch of the back half of the roof (not sure if that's a problem though really).

Apologies again for my crappy drawings (I'm going to use proper software and get better soon, i promise)

I think it would be clearer if I'd put the tile lines the other way around!

ETA : on the title register diagram, the red line is our house/gardens/garage, the blue line is our driveway (and some grass alongside). Not sure why it's been drawn that way... But i think the covenants (which probably no longer apply anyway) state that nothing can be built in the blue outline - but i wouldn't be anyway.

Maybe it would be easier to move house

Thx
 

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Front extension would look better and probably more in keeping all way across the front, with a small pitched roof hipped at each end and the centre of the roof built around that odd window appropriately.

Garage bring it forward with a standard pitched roof and have a guttering setup deigned to take both the garage rain off the right side and off the covering walkway opposite down the length of the roof to disperse at the rear, bit like a long shallow valley.

Cost more money but I think it would definitely look better, sure someone did something similar on here not so long ago
 
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Interesting idea! Hmm...

I'd dismissed extending out the entire length of the house because of the stupid window half way up the wall. I thought whatever we do with the roof there might look like a bodge.

Also the stairs run up the wall there where that window is, so i guess moving that wall would leave the stairs without a wall. I can't really imagine or explain how we'd work around that.

One possibility is to build the roof all the way along but have the half over the front door just a roof, perhaps a pillar in the corner, like storm shelter or... Ah, as I write this I've realised, maybe it could be a porch, somewhere to keep the pram(s) and shoes.

The builder that had a look a while back was all about making the new roof either as a normal gable (same direction as garage) , or a monopitch adding a hip at the either end. Either way involved a box gutter. An architect (only discussed on phone) said that sounds like a horrible idea! So I don't know now.

Photos of the house would probably help but a) i was trying to remain anonymous, b) don't really have a good one and I'd have to stand right outside his front window to get one of the right angle but I'm a coward c) can't use google street view cos they didn't go up the private driveway!

Thanks for the idea, you've got me thinking now!
 
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If you haven't got the minerals to go take photos now just call the job off, it's your house your entitled to take whatever pictures you wish
I'm joking. I will take some soon (y) - I want to avoid conflict if I can help it (but, I'm not sure I care about that anymore)
 
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Autocad is quite a difficult animal until you get used to it. There are about 25 different ways to do the same thing. I've been using it for 25 years and a couple of times a month I find out a quicker/better way of doing something. Have a go but you might end up with pencil and paper.
 

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