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Back garden developments and material considerations

We were asked recently to help a client challenge their neighbour’s planning application for a back garden development. The neighbour’s plan was to build a large ‘bungalow’ – we use the term ‘bungalow’ with some caution as in reality this was a two storey property utilising a mezzanine floor for bedrooms and bathrooms. Before any planning challenge it is critical to understand the ‘Material Considerations’ on which the Local Planning Authority (LPA) bases its decision.

The difference between some of the considerations that will and will not be recognised by the LPA really comes down to linguistics. In this case, where a neighbour is building in their own back garden, a party has no ‘right to light’ or ‘right to retain a view.’ However, according to the planning rules ‘overshadowing’ does count as a material consideration that must be acknowledged by the authority. As an example I encourage clients to measure the extent of the shadow the new development will create on their land, rather than discussing the impact on light and the view.

Whether or not a particular consideration counts as a material consideration has already been decided by the Courts as each issue we advise on has been litigated at some point in the past. However, it is up to the LPA to decide the weight that should be given to a particular material consideration. So, in cases such as these, although the LPA could still find against you it will still have to provide a carefully considered response where you raise proven material considerations.  

For more information on planning challenges, please contact Rebecca Beswick at Lawson-West on 0116 212 1000.

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