Wednesday, 17 July 2019

My neighbour’s extension will be 2ft from my house

My neighbour’s extension will be 2ft from my house

A WOMAN says she may have to sell her home after her next-door neighbour was given planning permission to build an extension just 24in away.

Sue Summerland is unhappy that South Oxfordshire District Council gave Helen Hanley consent for the two-storey side extension as well as a single-storey rear extension at her semi-detached house in Heathfield Avenue, Binfield Heath.

Construction work has not yet started but Mrs Summerland says that if and when it does she will be forced to move from her home of 18 years.

She claims the footings for the side extension, which is above a flat-roof garage, would encroach on to her land and could mean her detached house would need underpinning.

She also claims that it would devalue her property and would make it difficult to sell.

Mrs Summerland, who is a member of Binfield Heath Parish Council, said: “I had no objection to Helen having an extension, I’ve only ever objected to it being 24 inches from my house.

“It’s out to the boundary and along more or less the length of my house. It would just crowd me in. The footings would have to go partly on my land and I’m not prepared to allow that. I just don’t think it’s good planning to allow that sort of thing.”

Mrs Summerland said the majority of her neighbours had extended to the rear of their properties but Ms Hanley had chosen to extend her home at the side as well.

“It leaves no room to get down the side to do maintenance,” she said. “There’s a water pipe that runs down that side of my house as well. If I have a fire, or she has a fire, it’s just going to jump isn’t it? To my mind planning should take account of all these things.”

Mrs Summerland said the side extension would effectively make it a terrace and would reduce light to her garden.

She said: “Helen did bring her iPad round and showed me the plans and I said, ‘I don’t want a two-storey extension 24 inches away from my house. If you take 3ft I won’t object but otherwise, I will object’, which I’ve stuck to.

“I know it would devalue my property and I think it would make it difficult to sell.

“I think South Oxfordshire District Council are a load of idiots. There’s no common sense applied to planning decisions.

“I don’t understand where they think they have got the power from to upset one neighbour over another. It affects my sleep and all sorts of things. You just think ‘how am I going to deal with this?’

“I don’t want to move, I’ve been here since 2001. Why should I be forced out by a bad decision by the district council?”

Mrs Summerland has appointed a party wall surveyor and is considering taking legal advice.

She said: “I don’t want a house built 2ft from mine and the attendant problems that could arise.

“I’m sad to do this because she has got a boy and a girl growing up and they need space but it’s not a fair decision on me as the neighbour.

“I also don’t see why she should increase the value of her property at the expense of mine. If she had a two-storey extension on the back of her house I would not object.”

The district council granted planning permission last month.

Planning officer Marc Pullen said: “The two-storey extension would allow for a gap between this property and the neighbouring property.

“There is an existing stagger between both of these properties and as such there would be no noticeable ‘terracing’ effect caused.

“While no side access is proposed, this does not compromise the character and appearance of the properties within the area.

“A number of properties have been extended in a similar fashion; indeed the existing property has no existing side access. Furthermore, there is no policy requirement to ensure that a side access is retained or implemented.”

He said Mrs Summerland had a one side-facing bedroom window and it was important to ensure this was not “adversely compromised”.

Mr Pullen said: “Amendments were sought which required the development to be set further away from this bedroom window to avoid any oppressive harm which has resulted in the two-storey extension being reduced in scale.

“The height and siting of the extension would avoid any direct overbearing or oppressive harm. Furthermore, no loss of light or privacy is anticipated given the design and scale of the extension.”

Ms Hanley twice amended her application, first to reduce the height and depth of the rear extension and then to reduce height of the two-storey extension and introduce a rear-facing dormer.

Binfield Heath Parish Council objected to the original plans, saying the extensions would be overbearing, too close to Mrs Summerland’s home and unneighbourly.

Following the amendments it said it had no objection but added that allowing two houses to be so close to one another would mean it would be impossible to maintain the walls, foundations or soffits.

The Henley Standard was unable to contact Ms Hanley for comment.

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