Planning and building your extension is hard for your family when its being built, but spare a though for your neighbours!
At the end of the process you and your family will have a great new home. Your neighbours not so much.
There are duties and responsibilities when your extending and renovating your home. A decency you owe your neighbours even if they may not be so decent back to you.
Once you have some designs, especially if your Architect can produce 3D views of the front and rear. Visit with your neighbour show them the 3D views and where their house is. Typically most neighbours are reasonable if you are and if you show quite clear information. It defuses any anxiety on their part. Most issues arise when neighbours do not know or understand what will happen and when. So do share, and share when you are planning to submit, when you are planning to start on site. Give your neighbour a chance to express concerns, you can take those concerns back to your Architect, Builder etc. Also by giving your neighbour a chance to express their input, you will understand what most concerns them. It may surprise you that it is not what you think. Good communication overcomes lots of issues. You are neighbours after all.
Objections at Planning
By having a good dialogue, the idea is to avoid your neighbour objecting. If you have a design that follows your Local Authority guidelines, then the Planning Department will ignore the neighbours objection. But this does not help your relationship with your neighbour. It can gets awkward very quick.
So keep in touch, give them a printed set of information. Tell them when you are submitting.
Top Tip: When talking to neighbours do not express your extensions as things, objects. Express the extensions and remodelling by what it will do for your life, your children, your lifestyle, what it means to you.
People find it easy to object to a thing, an extension, after all its not you personally it the extension they do not like. But if make the extension emotionally linked to your family and positive lifestyle then, it is more unlikely that someone will object.
So best to avoid any objections where possible. Do ask them if they would like to object, be up front about it. You can take concerns back to your Architect. A process like this will make your neighbour feel their concerns are being heard. Sometimes concerns are irrational. But what if they object anyway?
Well if you have shared and discussed, there is only so much you can do. If the application is in and they object then thats on them. It is their right and it is the process. The case officer will take on board the objection and if valid, hopefully give you a chance to amend your scheme. If not valid then the scheme should progress.
So if you get planning and the planning officer ignored your neighbour? Well it gives you another chance to be nice. You now know about their concern. Maybe they did not want to tell you before, or another family member influenced them at the last moment. Sometime you just do not know. So give them the benefit of the doubt, you are neighbours after all.
You now have another chance to address their concerns. Ask how you can help, maybe your Architect can suggest something? Depends on the concern. This will go along way to getting over the awkward situation and repair any issues with your relationship. These small gestures go along way.
We have seen some neighbours object because they do not want the dust and or trucks in the road. The noise, disruption.
Good communication on when the build will start. Introduce your Builder to the neighbour, create a whatsapp group? Your Builder and your neighbour may interact more than you and your neighbour. So facilitate that relationship. It will take away any small issues that build and build and create confrontations between neighbours and Builders.
Keep an eye on boundary lines, is it clean and tidy? Is the builder or works leaving things in places that could cause issues for your neighbour? Where are builders and works parking? Is this causing an issue for your neighbour?
Review every week, as the build is always changing. Catchup with your neighbour and ask them if your builder is doing ok and clean and tidy. It shows your in change and in control of your Builder and that your on the neighbours side. They may want to have a look! Again the whatsup is a great tool, they can share photos and comments etc.
Top Tip: Good communications with neighbours, be proactive, ask them weekly if all is ok. Small favours you can do a neighbour, remove a rubbish item for your neighbour in your skip? rebuild a fence, repair a wall? How can you help make your community better?
Do you have something that worked well or another top tip? leave a comment below.
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