Our neighbour’s extension will obscure our sea view. Can we object?

Property Clinic: The view is one of the best features of our upstairs layout

‘Do I have a right to a view?’ Photograph: iStock

‘Do I have a right to a view?’ Photograph: iStock

 

We have a small sea view from the upper window of the side of our house and it’s one of the best features of our upstairs layout. New neighbours next door have gone in for planning permission for an extension that looks as if it will obliterate the view.

We extended ourselves, so I would feel bad about objecting to their plans, but do I have a right to a view?

Most home owners who own a property with a sea view are very protective of this positive feature. The sea view not only adds value to a home, but it also has a calming effect, enhancing one’s quiet enjoyment of their property. The prospect of losing a view due to development by a neighbour can bring with it immeasurable stress and worry. This is why many applications for planning permission near a seafront will attract a disproportionate number of objections. These in general will be based on loss of amenity and in particular a view. Court cases have cropped up time and again revolving around a sea view.

The bad news is that you do not have a legal right to a view. If one thinks logically about this, it makes perfect sense. Otherwise all development could be impacted unless the law stipulated what views are or are not important. Sometimes a view can be protected in a local authority’s development plan. This would usually be specific to views of a particular building or structure.

Restricted

Anyone looking to invest in a property on the basis of an existing view should do their homework in terms of potential for development nearby. A view can easily be lost, and the market value of your investment can be impacted upon.

From your description it sounds like the view is already quite restricted in your home and only present from a small upstairs window. There may be scope for rearranging the location of your window once the development next door is completed and you can assess the impact on your view.

Take the advice of your local chartered building surveyor. They will be able to review planning drawings and confirm in advance if your view will be impeded. They will also be able to advise with regard to any amendments you could make to your home to maximise sea views from your property. – Noel Larkin

Noel Larkin MSCSI MRICS is a member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, scsi.ie

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