Conservation area demolition work/party wall

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    Conservation area demolition work/party wall

    Apologies for length of post.

    In March 2011 we gained planning approval (conservation area) for the erection of 2 detached houses. Plot 1 had existing buildings on for which we gained conservation area approval for their demolition, the only condition being that the work was completed within 3 years.

    One of the barns to be demolished was attached to a converted residential barn by two walls. The north wall forms the boundary between the two properties (garden area) and is being retained, the southern wall (in breezeblock and not the original wall) has been removed as has the western wall. This has exposed the rear wall of the residential conversion. This is partly but not insubstantially covered in white painted cement/concrete as it formed an inside wall to the former building which was being used as a saddlery shop. Is this regarded as a party wall. There are a few places above the cement that require minor attention where the roof met the “party wall”.

    In November 2012 a prospective purchaser of the plot applied for planning permission for a different house style on the plot. This was approx 6 weeks before the demolition was undertaken and conditions have been imposed on the planning approval. The demolition was completed before the approval was given. The purchaser is not happy that Planning are asking for a schedule of works for this “party wall” and neither am I. The original demolition work and construction of the houses were on 2 planning application numbers. I have undertaken what was required on my planning approval and have absolutely no idea whose responsibility any repair to this wall is. The converted residential barn has new owners and one would have expected their surveyor to pick up the possibility of any problems before they purchased the property. I think it may be unwise to touch this wall as it may make us liable for any future work and surely we would need the owners permission.

    The prospective purchaser is getting fed up with all the red tape and to be honest I don’t understand how Planning can impose conditions when the demolition took place before approval was granted.

    Any help much appreciated.

    If by knocking down the existing structure you have exposed weaknesses in next door's party wall, I think it is fair enough that the council ask you to at least pay for making it good. Wouldn't you wish that, if you were the one living next door?


      The Council did not ask me to do anything. Demolition done by us as required within time limit. My questions are: As the demolition took place prior to new planning approval being granted, why have new conditions been imposed on new application by prospective purchaser of plot.

      Also if we carry out minor repairs does this bring in future obligations. It's not really about just being a good neighbour (I would happily do minor making good) - it's about the consequences of undertaking this. For example, what if the Council says we have to remove the concrete coating, which would be very expensive in itself, this action may then make the wall damp and so on and so on.

      I can't see how either us, or the prospective purchaser are actually responsible for any remedial works. We undertook what was requested in a satisfactory manner and I would like to know if the Planning Authority are within their rights to impose these further conditions under the circumstances outlined.

      Thanks for any advice.


        The problem is that you have gone some way in your exsiting planning permission, by knocking the place down, but then your buyer wants to change the plans. In view of this, the council can impose any condition they like.

        Presumably, you still have the option to develop the site as per the 2011 plans without restoring the wall.


          I had seen the Planning Officer on another matter in November 2012. The original application had a tree to be taken down and he asked if this had been done. I said it would be done on December 13th. He later confirmed this in writing so that he did not have to ask for a further tree survey on the new application he had received. I also gave him a copy letter at the mtg sent by my architect prior to my original approval stating we would keep the boundary wall in situ when the barn was demolished. Why didn't he ask me at the mtg whether the demolition work had been done, or was to be done, so that this could also be excluded from the new application. We were making arrangements for the work to be done over Christmas. Unfortunately I didn't realise this could impact on the new application but obviously he did. Surely he should have checked on the status of the demolition before approving the new application. The new planning approval gave conditions relating to the site with the buildings still in position ie they wanted a schedule of the demolition work etc. I can understand your assertion that they can impose any conditions they want had they been to inspect the site with knowledge that demolition work had been completed and therefore having a clean slate so to speak but the conditions were imposed on an unchanged site (which it wasn't).

          Planning have been so contradictory all the way through eg have agreed reconstituted stone for the house on the other plot but are now insisting on natural stone for the house on Plot 1 even though they are next door to each other. Nothing makes any sense so perhaps you can understand my frustrations.

          I am just trying to establish my rights and hope you have further comment please.


            Is it possible the neighbour pointed out the damage to the wall when he received notice of the second planning application? (I think I would if I was him.)


              Any wall that is shared is a party wall. You should have sent a party wall notice to your neighbours and had a party wall survey done. It is your responsibility to fix the wall but does not make you liable for the upkeep of their wall.


                Thank you for your response. The final response is outside the planning application question. No one else has suggested that we should have had a party wall survey done for this particular part of the 'job'. I have read up on party walls and am conversant with the need to do this when construction works start if the new wall lies within a certain distance and depth to their house. So thank you for that information.

                I intend to ask a contractor to "tidy up" their wall as previously stated. What I am trying to avoid is becoming embroiled with planning conditions.

                Thank you very much for your help.


                  Any demolition work which could potentially damage and weaken the party wall should have had consent,not just the construction of a new wall. If I were the neighbours I would be creating a big fuss and not be happy with a mere "tidy up".

                  Any new applications for planning consent start the process from scratch and the onus was on you to submit new drawings with the demolition already done.


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