Topic: property law – planning permission

This is an advice letter to a client – word count is 750
Sections to complete – our advice and moving forward

Scenario –
Our client moved to York five years ago and bought a house with a large garden as she saw potential to develop and build on the land. In October 2017 she submitted a planning application to build a double garage and granny annex in her back garden.  Planning permission was granted 8 weeks later on 11th December 2017, subject to standard conditions. Our client spent the next few years saving money in order to fund the building project. Unfortunately, due to Covid and lockdown restrictions, our client had trouble securing builders to do the work and for a while she decided to put her plans on hold.  She is now keen to make a start on the building work and has made a few enquiries for quotes from local builders. They are concerned her planning permission is no longer valid and she would like advice on her options.
Our client has also wondered (since spending so much time working from home) whether she would prefer to build a small studio office in her garden instead of a double garage and granny annex. Her neighbour, Margaret Smith, moved next door last Summer and has repeatedly told our client that she hates the idea of any new building in the garden. Margaret is also the chair of York City Council’s planning committee and is very influential with her fellow councillors. Our client is worried any new application for planning permission to build a studio office will be rejected, and she would like to know if she can take her neighbour to court to overturn the decision.

Concerns and things to address in advice section
Planning permission gained in 2017 – how long does it last until work has to be done or until it has to be renewed?
Can she take her neighbour to court to overturn any rejection for planning permission? On what basis would this be? What are the planning stipulations for York City Council in terms of  any new building in garden areas? This would be crucial rather than how much Margaret Smith likes it or not.

Our advice –
First concern – how long does planning permission last, is there an extension due to covid? If not, what options do they have.
Second concern – what issues would arise from now building a small studio office instead of a granny annex? Would she have to get a new planning permission? Any restrictions on sizing, any other issues? Would a new application to build a studio office be rejected? Anything that York city council suggests?
Third concerns – what can client do that her neighbour hates the idea that a new building will be built in her garden? Is there a chance that Margaret can influence York City Council’s planning committee as she is the chair? Is that legal – what can the client do? Can she take the neighbour to court to overturn the decision?
Moving forwards – 100 words
Based on the advise you gave above, what should the client do

Initial reading –

Planning permission – GOV.UK (
Make a neighbourhood plan – GOV.UK (

How to object to a planning application – blog
-Advice to client referral to York Planning guidance to ensure her building meets all valid criteria
-Make sure the client is directed to information about neighbours rights with planning permissions i.e meeting other criteria through the client’s building plan like ensuring that her building doesn’t block any sunlight, obstruct any trees or any other natural aspect that can be used by ole Maggie. Also, making sure the building is not compromising anything with regard to the natural environment shared with ole Mags.

City of York Council: Supplementary Planning Doc: House Extensions and Alterations (Draft Nov 2011)
Advice to clients is to determine whether her planned studio office would fall into the category of a rear single story extension  or a type of outbuilding. In the case of rear single story extensions, which extend beyond 3-4 meters in length, the council will need to consider other factors such as the building’s impact upon sunlight, the building’s height and its windows. 
Client needs to ensure that neighbours cannot claim that any of their rooms are affected based on function/layout. Advice is also provided in relation to whether the extension could affect the neighbours’ view, due to its prominence. Furthermore, if neighbours have gardens, the extension is not permitted to block the sunlight getting to said gardens. 
In the case of outbuildings, these cannot have any adverse impact upon the residential amenity of neighbours 

Type of assignment: Academic paper writing
Type of assignment: Critical essay
Subject: Law
Pages/words: 3/750
Number of sources: 5
Academic level: Bachelor
Paper format: OSCOLA
Line spacing: Double
Language style: UK English

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