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  1.  
    Hi All,
    I hope I am not out of order asking for advice here as it is not a real green issue. It may be indirectly as my lights will be on more hence greater power consumption!
    The empty plot next door to mine is now being developed. The height diffenece between my rear garden and the next plots is around 2mtrs. I am building a retaining wall along the boundary as required just on my land to allow for a land drain behind with drainage stone. I then intend to either plant or fence at the top to give some privacy.
    My issue is though that the next door developer has, to level his plot, dragged earth from the high side and built his garden up on my side. This now means that I will need a wall at 1.5 mtrs, batter with drainage stone and plants,trees along the boundary as planned. As they have now built the garden up by 1mtr my trees will now need to be 3 mtrs tall to give me 2 mtrs height their side. What is allowed regarding height chasnges etc? Is their any legislation that says he should remove the earth rather than build up etc? I may not be explaining myself very well and if not I apologise in advance. I agree with my neighbour that leaving the earth on site saves on haulage fuel and tipping but I do not want what could be a 5mtrs tall boudary to give me some privacy in the garden as it could be 1.5 mtr wall+ .5 mtr batter+ 3mtr tree due to his level increase of 1 mtr to give me 2 mtrs hedge height his side. I am a little gutted and would normally loose my rag but I will remain sensible and discuss it as a mature adult (at least initially) to see if we can come to some sort of agreement. If not then I will just hide his body in the footings!!!!!!!
    :crazy::tooth:
    • CommentAuthorwindy lamb
    • CommentTimeJul 25th 2012
     
    Shouldn't the planning permission have approved plans which should also include landscaping or a planting scheme? Planners are very tetchy about overlooking issues - just look how JSHarris has been messed about by this issue. I'd look at the approved plans then at least you have a starting point.
    Cheers
    Windy
  2.  
    Posted By: gustyturbineI am building a retaining wall along the boundary as required just on my land to allow for a land drain behind with drainage stone.
    Why are you required to build a retaining wall? How is this requirement documented? Do you have plans showing levels?

    David
  3.  
    Windy/David,
    Thanks for the advice. I am not building a wall as a planning condition. I just want to deal with the cut in the bank between my house and their plot. I could look at alternatives but they would use too much land and restrict access to the rear of my property. If I build a retaining wall I can still get vehicles around to the rear. Do all plans have height detail on them? Mine did,
    Thanks again,
    Gusty.
    •  
      CommentAuthorJSHarris
    • CommentTimeJul 25th 2012
     
    The PP may or may not be specific about the boundary treatment, it depends whether or not it falls inside the landscaping requirements (if the PP has such a condition). There's no generic "right to light" in law AFAIK (except with regard to the placement of buildings and windows), and it can be a minefield dealing with boundaries that block light, as witnessed by all the leylandii hedge problems that pop up from time to time.

    First point of call might be to look at the PP conditions and see whether or not they included an approved landscaping scheme. If they do, then ask to see it (probably best to ask the planners, rather than the neighbour). If there isn't a landscaping scheme condition, or if the approved scheme isn't specific about the land height (and mine is, right down to the allowable height of the drive surface), then you're back to whether the higher boundary constitutes a nuisance or not. The arguments regarding nuisance are going to be similar to those in the wood burning thread, in that it will be your right to enjoyment of your property that may be threatened.

    Might get messy if the neighbour isn't cooperative.
  4.  
    JS many thanks. I had a bad gut feeling from the start. The reason the guy is not removing earth is to save a few £ and I am fine with that. The problem is that it impacts on me. I will have a chat with him again tonight and let him know that I will build my wall to the spec I had planned and no more. He had mentioned that he might at a later date pop a few courses of blocks on to retain his built up garden. I have 3 major issues with this-
    1- the wall will be on my land and not the boundary.
    2- If the wall was to move after he added height who would pay for repair.
    3- Working on the footing being a third of height of the wall then the footing would need to larger and the wall would also need to be larger at footing with more steel etc. A mtr height increase would be massive.
    I will check his planning though,
    Thanks again all,
    Gusty.
    •  
      CommentAuthorJSHarris
    • CommentTimeJul 25th 2012
     
    He has no right to add to your wall if it's on your side of the boundary, so you're secure on that point. If he does so, or attempts to do so, without your permission, then it's trespass, plain and simple.

    Sticking to the height you agreed to for the wall on your side of the boundary and no more is probably a very good tactic, as it presumably constrains what he can then do.

    Although awkward, it seem that you may have some leverage with regard to whatever agreement there exists for work on your land re: the boundary. If there's no legal agreement then you are in a fairly strong position, I'd have thought, as any retaining wall would then have to be on the neighbours land, so adding an expense for him that might outweigh the cost of spoil removal.
  5.  
    I agree with Jeremy. Build your retaining wall as originally planned & don't let him build it any higher.

    Then he'll need to weigh up the relative costs of building his own retaining wall & removing the muck.

    David
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeJul 25th 2012
     
    When travellers raised a site near our village by six feet I was told that any change of level over six inches needed planning permission BUT the planning officer said they couldn't take action because the land owner had not submitted a level survey with the planning application so there was nothing to prove what the level was before!
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeJul 25th 2012
     
    2- If the wall was to move after he added height who would pay for repair.

    If someone piles up soil against your wall and damages it then they are liable. However these days you can win in court and still not get paid what you are due.
  6.  
    we had a problem where a neighbour lifted the levels of land next to our top fields so much that we were worried about water run off down across our fields. this dragged on for ages and really is still not resolved, the problem talking to the planners was as already mentioned you need to know and prove the original height, not always easy. For what it is worth I would definitely resolve it now rather than let it get more complicated and nasty down the line. Good luck and I guess if they have not finished work they will not want a dispute put before the planners at this stage so strike whilst the iron is hot!
    • CommentAuthorsnyggapa
    • CommentTimeJul 25th 2012
     
    Posted By: CWattersthe planning officer said they couldn't take action because the land owner had not submitted a level survey with the planning application so there was nothing to prove what the level was before!


    do you have any "before" pictures?
    •  
      CommentAuthorJSHarris
    • CommentTimeJul 25th 2012
     
    Better than before pictures would be the topographical survey from the planning file. Many (most?) applications now require a topo survey to establish levels, especially if the ground isn't flat, as seems to be the case here. A quick look at the online planning file will probably turn up the original, pre-build survey, which may well establish the levels.

    I used the one for my plot to build the 3D terrain model base for the scale models I've made to help with the application. I just downloaded it from the planning website.
  7.  
    Thanks for the information all. More importantly the developer has now moved the property from 2250mm from the boundary to 1750mm. Can he do that?
    Gusty.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeJul 25th 2012
     
    Can get altitude data from Google Earth, not sure how accurate it is though.
    3D Laser scanning and Lidar are not that expensive as most of the the world has been done several times.
  8.  
    Posted By: gustyturbineMore importantly the developer has now moved the property from 2250mm from the boundary to 1750mm. Can he do that?

    No I don't think he can without applying for a modification to the PP

    Apart from the PP paperwork moving the building closer to the boundary could have impacts on soil loading if the site slopes and is in the area you are going to build the retaining wall. Probably time to talk to the planning dept.
    •  
      CommentAuthorJSHarris
    • CommentTimeJul 26th 2012
     
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: gustyturbine</cite>Thanks for the information all. More importantly the developer has now moved the property from 2250mm from the boundary to 1750mm. Can he do that?
    Gusty.</blockquote>

    Yes, but only if he obtained revised planning permission to do so. 1750 mm is still OK in terms of allowable spacing from a boundary, so there probably wouldn't be an issue with getting PP, even retrospectively, unless moving the building has caused a breach of something like the 45 degree rule (which concerns light to neighbouring windows). The position of the house on the plot is a part of the PP, so if it was moved without gaining permission it's a breach of PP.
    • CommentAuthorRoger
    • CommentTimeJul 26th 2012
     
    Hi. If your neighbour is shifting more than 30 cubic metres of material, even within the site, then it becomes an engineering operation and would require planning permission in its own right. If he has moved the building and it is no longer in accordance with the approved plans then that would be a 'material amendment' and fresh plans, plus, fresh round of consultations would be required.
    • CommentAuthorwindy lamb
    • CommentTimeJul 26th 2012
     
    If he's moved the house from the approved position - it will need a planning amendment, probably a formality but needed all the same.

    The change in levels will not be a statutory nuisance UNLESS the works leave a situation where "the premises are in such a condition so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance". This usually applies to a building which is in a state of disrepair and, for example, slates keep falling off the roof into the neighbours garden. So if the higher land slipped into your garden then you could argue that it was a nuisance. I would try not to go down this road - too tenuous. Best sticking to the planning side of things.

    I would definitely try to stop this before he moves too much stuff around - I made the mistake of not saying something when my neighbour messed around with the old quarry face at the end of his garden. Should of said it was a bad idea as it was that which was keeping my farm out of his garden. Needless to say 2 years later, after some heavy rain, he had a landslip. Some of my field is now in his garden. No landslips in 70 years until he started buggering about.
    • CommentAuthorRobinB
    • CommentTimeJul 26th 2012
     
    Seems a bit mad if they can build that close to a 1.5m. drop and rely on YOUR retaining wall to hold THEIR house up. Have you been changing your levels too, e.g. digging out a bit more flat space adjacent to them?

    We had to ensure we supported the neighbours current levels with a retaining wall when we dug out for our house. They have said they might also dig out certain sections in the back garden - if they do it will be their turn to ensure our levels do not change.
  9.  
    Many, many thanks for all of the advice. I think my best way forward is to ask that the garden level is reduced and then not argue over the house position. At the end of the day the guy is going to be my neighbour and I want to avoid any ill feeling if possible. I am hacked off if I am honest but what do you do? Highlight the issue with planning and he has to stop work and jump through hoops or say nothing and live with it. If I mention the house position then at least I have a polite lever to request the garden height reduction.
    Fun, fun, fun,:cry:
    •  
      CommentAuthorJSHarris
    • CommentTimeJul 26th 2012
     
    Always much better to reach a negotiated settlement rather than invoke planning regulations etc if you can, in my view.

    I'm taking a similar approach in trying to get my future neighbours onside before I resubmit my plans, in the hope that I can avoid any unpleasantness later.

    It pays to negotiate knowing where you stand with regulations etc, though. As you say, having a bit of leverage should help a fair bit.
    • CommentAuthorSteveZ
    • CommentTimeJul 26th 2012
     
    Hi Gusty - If you have not changed your ground level to give the original height difference you have described, then your neighbour will be responsible for keeping his garden out of yours. The onus is on him to shore up the boundary and to have a retaining wall built on his land at his expense. The prospect of that may persuade him to cart the soil away from the site rather than annoy you and have to pay a lot of money for a retaining wall. I understand your wanting a wall for your own convenience to make space for access, but you would have even more space if the wall was on his land............. :bigsmile:
    • CommentAuthorwindy lamb
    • CommentTimeJul 26th 2012
     
    Sounds like the bloke ain't gonna spend any money on a wall as he's not prepared to spend any on a muck shift.
    I didn't realise the developer was also the neighbour but it doesn't hurt to stand up for yourself. If you politely stand up to him then at least he's not going to think he can get away with anything and really start taking the micky. I'm sure once he realises you are firm but fair then he will think about the consequences of his actions - he might not have even thought about the levels and once it's pointed out to him, then do the right thing.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeJul 26th 2012
     
    Posted By: snyggapa
    Posted By: CWattersthe planning officer said they couldn't take action because the land owner had not submitted a level survey with the planning application so there was nothing to prove what the level was before!


    do you have any "before" pictures?


    Sadly not.
    • CommentAuthorPugliese
    • CommentTimeJul 26th 2012
     
    Just a small suggestion. Meet with your neighbour on your land so that he can see the issue from your side.

    Having just put in retaining walls because I raised the level on our plot and didn't want my garden in the neighbours land, I would never have dared suggest, putting it on their land, nor leaving it unsupported. He is really taking the P***! Just tell him you want it retained and on his land otherwise you will have to get 'another opinion'
  10.  
    Posted By: gustyturbineI am hacked off if I am honest but what do you do? Highlight the issue with planning and he has to stop work and jump through hoops or say nothing and live with it. If I mention the house position then at least I have a polite lever to request the garden height reduction.

    It will only need a halfway attentive BCO to notice the incorrect position of the house and if the BC think he is trying to 'get one over' on them then they will have a tendency to dig their heels in and your neighbour could be in all sorts of trouble (like being required move the foundations to the right place!) So a discussion with him might be in order - but at the end of the day his development should not cause you any expense.

    Posted By: windy lambSounds like the bloke ain't gonna spend any money on a wall as he's not prepared to spend any on a muck shift.
    I didn't realise the developer was also the neighbour but it doesn't hurt to stand up for yourself. If you politely stand up to him then at least he's not going to think he can get away with anything and really start taking the micky. I'm sure once he realises you are firm but fair then he will think about the consequences of his actions

    Wot WL said
    • CommentAuthorborpin
    • CommentTimeJul 26th 2012
     
    I know this is not much help, but never assume (makes an ass out of u and me). If anyone is faced with a planning application then always think worst case and make your points in response. This will often result in specific conditions on the approval (such as max boundary height change). Just because it is shown on a plan does not make it definitive. Planning application/approval are often taken as indicative rather than absolute.
  11.  
    Plan showing levels in relation to existing ground levels should be approved as part of the application or as part of the discharge of conditions application, especially for a new house. This is to stop you building a huge mound then your house on top. The house would be built in accordance with the plans but only in relation to the ground level (that you have created)
    I have seen it in real life. Right mess, especially in the middle of a housing estate!

    Check the application documents and the discharge of condition documents.

    Permitted Development Legislation requires planning permission for a "raised platform" above 300mm.
    usually applied to ramps/decking but I can see how it would apply to levels in the interests of privacy.
  12.  
    Posted By: borpinPlanning application/approval are often taken as indicative rather than absolute.


    The approved plans are thee approved plans. Any variation is just tolerated up to the degree where enforcement is not considered to be expedient. If privacy is compromised then even a small variation may be expedient to pursue enforcement action against.
   
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