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What is Overlooking and what is Overdevelopment?


If the planners consider that your design could seriously compromise your neighbours’ privacy, it may well be sent back to the drawing board. It is for this reason that balconies, roof gardens, upstairs conservatories and side facing windows are often resisted. The trouble in London is, for most urban and suburban houses it can be difficult to come up with a design where the windows don’t in some way overlook a neighbour’s house or garden. One solution is to design the extension with fashionably low roof slopes so that the upstairs bedrooms are in affect ‘loft rooms’ with skylight windows that gaze harmlessly out into space. Another option is to use obscured glazing for bathrooms. It is still important to allow sunlight in while at the same time preventing the occupants from easily seeing out.


In built up urban areas around London, plot sizes may be fairly small, so extending the house could seriously eat into the available garden space. The planners will therefore want be satisfied that your plans provide sufficient remaining amenity space; otherwise the project may be construed as ‘overdevelopment’. If this looks like it could be a problem, providing evidence of similar local developments that have previously been approved should help your case.

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