Site Specific Considerations

The Site

The design of any property, but particularly an extension, should consider the whole of the land within the boundaries, or ‘curtilage’ of the property, which includes side, back and front gardens. In particular think about:

a) Characteristics of the site

Take account of any changes in ground level, especially in relation to neighbouring properties. Likewise check what effect your extension will have on important features of the local landscape, like hedges and trees, some of which – especially in Conservation Areas - may be subject to TPO’s (Tree Preservation Orders).

To check out if your site is affected, talk to your local authorities Tree Officer.

Avoid building too close to trees and consider the effect on neighbours

Avoid building too close to trees

b) Orientation

Take care to avoid your building extension interfering with the sunlight and overshadowing any part of your neighbours – or your own – existing property. If you are on the South side of your neighbour this will be particularly important. This overshadowing will be related to the height, dimensions and plan area of your proposals, together with ground level differences and how it is oriented. Also make sure that you don’t adversely affect you own garden by creating awkward corners or heavily shaded, dark zones which become unusable, thereby affecting not only your enjoyment, but also the resale value of your home.

consider effect on neighbours

Consider the effect on neighbours

c) Boundaries

Achieving these requirements will mean keeping your home extension away from boundaries. This is especially important with two storey house extensions where you may also need maintenance access space.

Special consideration should be given to siting an extension where your property is to
the south of your neighbour’s

Shaded Areas 1

Shaded Areas 2

Shaded area shows loss of light due to the extension


d) Overlooking & Privacy

The extension design should avoid positioning windows where they may directly overlook your neighbour’s property. This is especially important if you are locating this close to the boundary.  It is normal good practice to allow at least 20 metres between directly facing windows at the rear of the property where one window is on the  first floor. Nevertheless, since the individual merits of each application are  considered separately, when things like ground levels, orientation, use of rooms, and the relationships of the buildings to one another are taken into account, then less than 20m may be acceptable    

The general rule in determining acceptability is to give more protection to the main living accommodation, e.g. living rooms, than to areas like hallways and bathrooms.

If the ground levels are relatively flat, then single storey extension projects are less likely to cause problems of overlooking.

Avoid adding windows which will reduce your neighbour’s privacy

Avoid reducing neighbours privacy

A Winning Design

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