Q: I have owned my village home for over 35 years. The house is detached, with a driveway and garage to one side. On the other side of the house is a metre wide footpath and then the hedge to a larger detached house with extensive grounds behind. Last year a developer bought the house next door and applied for planning permission to demolish it to make an access road to 24 houses he is going to build on the land behind. Despite my objections he has got his planning permission. I have spoken to three estate agents who all say it will devalue my house. Can I claim compensation from the developer for devaluation of my property and also nuisance of construction noise and eventual residents’ vehicles passing within 2 metres of my front door?
A: The valuation of a property takes into consideration the surroundings and the proximity of other buildings, so it is quite probable that this development will adversely affect the value of your property. In addition to that, you will be undoubtedly inconvenienced by the actual construction of the new development, particularly if sole access is immediately alongside your house. This could be classed as a ‘private nuisance’.
The fact that the developer has planning permission for the activity causing the nuisance is not a defence to a common law nuisance claim, even if they are compliant with an environmental permit. You could therefore take civil proceedings against the developer. Before taking any action, however, it would be worth finding out whether any other village property owners close to the development will be affected in the same ways as you. This would add weight to a successful outcome as the court will assess the nuisance on proven reason rather than the hypersensitivity of one claimant.
Article September 2021
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