If a neighbour is granted planning permission for a development to which you object, you might think that there is nothing you can do about it. However, a case in which a garden house-building project was thwarted by a judge shows that this is not necessarily so, and illustrates the benefits that can be obtained through the use of expert legal advice.

A householder was granted planning consent to construct a bungalow in the garden of his home on a small housing estate, but faced objections from other residents who were concerned that their rural views would be jeopardised.

They pointed to a covenant in a conveyance which dated back to the 1970s, when the estate was built, which forbade residents from making any use of their properties which might cause an annoyance or nuisance to their neighbours.

Having viewed the site and computer-generated images of the proposed bungalow, the judge was quite satisfied that the owners of some of the other properties on the estate would be annoyed and aggrieved by the new building. Being so close to the boundary of the householder’s property, it would block the sunlight and detract from the views of one neighbour in particular. In those circumstances, the objectors were entitled to a declaration that the covenant was enforceable. Accordingly, despite planning consent having been granted, the bungalow could not be built.


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