In this case, our client faced a planning enforcement investigation for a side infill extension to the side return (the area beside the outrigger) behind their house.
They had obtained planning permission for an extension with a height of 2.5m, but it had been constructed to a height of 2.9m. Newham decided that this additional height would cause harm to the neighbour on the other side of the fence and refused a retrospective planning application.
The client faced enforcement action and the possibility that he would have to demolish the extension or reduce its height (a challenge given the nature of the steelwork that had been installed).
These kinds of side infill extensions are very common – they allow homeowners to open out the narrow areas to the rear of traditional Victorian houses, creating a more modern and usable family reception space. The difficulty is that, if the neighbour has not extended in the same way, the new extension can overshadow the side return on their side of the fence.
Different councils take different approaches to these extensions. Some are quite flexible, others tend to refuse them as a matter of course. Some say that the extensions should rise no more than 2m along the boundary, with a sloping roof from there.
In this case, we argued that the modest increase in the height of the extension would not cause any real harm to the neighbour. We pointed out that the neighbour’s side return was already enclosed on three sides and was not used as outside amenity space. There were no habitable windows in close proximity. We quoted other, similar appeal decisions in support of our arguments.
We were delighted when the appeal inspector agreed and granted full planning permission for the extension.
If you have been refused planning permission for an extension or are facing a planning enforcement investigation, get in touch with us for help and advice.