yet another UNOFFICIAL roof terrace

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    yet another UNOFFICIAL roof terrace

    Yet another unofficial roof terrace!

    Hello everyone...I know this subject comes up a lot on these forums, and I've read a lot already regarding this matter, but this case does present some unusual problems and if anyone can take the time to read my post and offer me some advice I'd be very grateful.

    At the back of my property is a mews with a terrace of private properties - one of these properties occupies the whole of the top two floors - the leaseholder of this flat is also the freeholder of the building - there is another leaseholder on the ground floor. The freeholder has built a step ladder to the flat roof and has now begun to place very large rectangular plant pots around the perimeter which very shortly will be planted (im guessing with tall bamboo). He also has two large armchairs up there, and what looks like a hammock! He recently had the roof re tiled.

    Several neighbours has been in touch with this man and asked what his intentions are, but he denies he is creating a roof terrace. A few people have called the council, but they have told us they cannot prevent someone from walking on their roof. Officially his flat roof is not a roof terrace since there is no 'permanent' balustrade. It is not illegal for him to place plants up there, or walk on it.

    As far as I am aware, our borough does not permit new roof terraces for privacy and noise reasons. So, if my understanding is correct, you cannot get planning permission to put up railings, but you can create an 'unofficial' roof terrace using plant pots. This seems somewhat crazy. What is legal definition of a roof terrace?

    What has also recently come to light is that another neighbour a few doors down did the same thing not too long ago. No permanent balustrade was built but lots of plants were put up and the flat roof was used as a terrace. Neighbours objected and the council took them to court. The council lost! So has this set a precedent? Are we wasting our time complaining to the council about this new roof terrace ?

    We have a chap from the boroughs planning department coming in a few weeks to see the terrace himself, but after having spoken with him he seems reluctant to pursue the matter, and has re-iterated that we cannot prevent someone from walking around on their roof.

    Seems to me there is some kind of loophole in the law - before you know it, every freeholder in Kensington & Chelsea will be erecting roof gardens!

    Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers

    #2
    Go to the local council planning department and get their printed rules on roof terraces.

    Comment


      #3
      As it is across the road then it is a matter of planning enforcement or an injunction over any interruption or encroachment into your home. If it is screened and does not require planning then I am sorry but you might have to put up with it.

      Talk to your local councillor about this policy. It might be a reluctance borne out of cuts.
      Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

      Comment


        #4
        I fail to understand how this "roof terrace" interferes with your own property. Are you concerned about the noise of potential parties taking place on the roof or is there something else that concerns you?

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks for the replies - their property backs directly onto the back of our property - we have a purpose built terrace, as do my immediate neighbours, its been like this since we bought the place 50 years ago, we have never been overlooked or disturbed - the main reason that boroughs dont give planning to new terraces is because of privacy and noise - and yet now it seems there is a way round this, simply dont put up any permanent structures. So yes, my main concern is what was once a very quiet place to live is suddenly going to change. If this new terrace is allowed, everyone will start doing it

          Comment


            #6
            Well if you don't put up any structures and don't do any works to get a proper terrace, then effectively you are simply walking on your roof. Why can't people have the right to walk on their roof if they so wish? I agree with the council that they can't stop people walking on their own roof. If the council doesn't see the roof arrangement that you describe as one that requires planning permission, then you're going to have to get used to it and live with it I'm afraid. There is nothing you can do to stop your neighbours walking or sunbathing on their own roof.

            Comment


              #7
              have a look at this picture, and tell if you think this person is just planning on walking on his roof - this is the view from a neighbours window.

              picture of roof terrace

              does anyone here really think this is permitted development? In my view this person is building a roof terrace, without permission.

              Comment


                #8
                You can try and report to the council that you are concerned about the potential risk of vegetation planted in containers falling down and causing damage due to wind or other hazards. The consequences of this could be quite severe. This may give you a way to get the council involved and look into it.

                Comment


                  #9
                  But While I sympathise there are 3 or 4 otehr roof terraces in the photo. Your neighbours might be better than the one with two rusting BBQs and the rotting canvas deckchairs...
                  Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Thanks for the suggestions - definitely worth a try regarding the plants falling down - personally Im not against people creating outside space for themselves, i mean lets face it, who wouldn't want a nice roof terrace to use in the summer. What concerns me is that this terrace looks directly down onto my own outside space, so bang goes my privacy - also you just never know how considerate your neighbours are going to be, ie late parties, playing music outside etc

                    We have a chap from the council coming next week so will see what he says...

                    Comment


                      #11
                      If the screening that is eventually grown interferes with light into your property you could claim an easement for light and seek an injunction against him - http://www.mesenergyservices.co.uk/w...t-of-light.pdf

                      Probably clutching at straws unless this really is the case - and could be self defeating as presumably his screening will protect your privacy as well.

                      See what the council officer says, but you may be best just making contact with your neighbour and set out some ground rules to avoid tit for tat complaints about noise etc.
                      caveat emptor
                      If it sounds like I know what I am talking about........I don't.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by sdm038 View Post
                        Thanks for the suggestions - definitely worth a try regarding the plants falling down - personally Im not against people creating outside space for themselves, i mean lets face it, who wouldn't want a nice roof terrace to use in the summer. What concerns me is that this terrace looks directly down onto my own outside space, so bang goes my privacy - also you just never know how considerate your neighbours are going to be, ie late parties, playing music outside etc

                        We have a chap from the council coming next week so will see what he says...
                        You cannot stop people having a terrace because your privacy would be affected. It is up to you to put up whatever is necessary to maintain your privacy. Don't go down this route with the council, it won't work. In addition to the risk of plants falling down, as I suggested, you could also say that you are concerned about the weight put on that roof, hence another risk of accident. What you want is find ways of forcing these guys to formally apply for planning permission by getting the council to stop them putting up vegetation as they are doing and then object to the planning permission as directly affected by it (noise etc).

                        Comment

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