Nuisance neighbours can cause misery for anyone living nearby. At Slater and Gordon we have seen a rise in the number of clients looking for help in resolving disputes with their neighbours.
To discover just how widespread conflict with neighbours is and find out what the common causes are we have commissioned research. As a part of that project we are also examining how the law can be used to resolve disputes or even prevent conflict in the first place.
Some of the more high-profile cases of neighbour disputes which have hit the headlines include Gordon Ramsay’s garden house, the child prodigies who won the right to play the piano, the crackdown on mega basements in London and the house which was painted in white and red stripes in protest against refused planning permission.
Earlier this month, Gordon Ramsay won an eight-month long property planning dispute with his neighbours in Cornwall.
Most of the complaints from his neighbours in the picturesque village of Rock were over his plans to build a second house at the bottom of his garden.
It was claimed that the plans to knock down the 4.4m traditional 1920s house and replace it with a modern style development would create an eyesore and change the look of the coastline.
A noise dispute over piano practice went all the way to court for two families in Kensington.
Eventually, the judge ruled that the musical prodigies, who studied at the nearby Royal College of Music, should be allowed to continue their practice with a few restrictions in place.
The Carrabino family’s sons, James, 18 and Stephen, 14, can now practice for up to five hours a day 9am – 9pm Monday to Saturday, up to three hours before 5pm on a Sunday, and hold six concerts a year for relatives up until 10:30pm.
The need for more space in London has sparked a trend for ‘mega basements’ – building multi-storey basements underneath properties.
Whether or not you need planning permission for a basement will depend on which local authority your property falls under, but in 2015 Westminster Council followed the lead of Kensington and Chelsea and started to crackdown on mega basements.
Problems associated with the installation of mega basements include subjecting neighbours to noise from construction work and the dust which is created. Plus neighbours could get annoyed if builder’s vehicles are left blocking parking spaces or if any accidental damage is done to their property.
A resident of the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea painted her house in apparent protest against the local authority refusing her planning permission to build a mega basement.
Mrs Lisle-Mainwaring, 67, put in requests to knock down the house in South End in order to construct a replacement house with mega basement excavated underneath including a leisure complex.
Neighbours were unhappy about the stripy house, calling the bold red stripes an eyesore and The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea took action by serving a section 215 notice under the Town and Country Planning Act. This meant that Mrs Lisle-Mainwaring was required to repaint the house back to its original white.
Gary Jackson is a residential property lawyer at Slater and Gordon Lawyers real estate team in Manchester.