PPS 7 (Addendum): Residential Extensions and Alterations
Annex A: Residential Amenity: Privacy
A28 Except in the most isolated rural location, few households can claim not to be overlooked to some degree. The protection of the privacy of the occupants of residential properties is an important element of the quality of a residential environment. It is a particularly important consideration where an extension or alteration is proposed adjacent to existing properties. Balconies, roof terraces, decking, dormer windows, windows in side elevations and conservatories all have the potential to cause overlooking problems, due to their position and orientation, particularly from upper windows. The use of obscure glass, velux windows and high-level windows in appropriate circumstances can often minimise this potential, for example, the use of obscure glass for bathroom and landing windows. However, this is not considered an acceptable solution for windows serving main rooms such as bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms or kitchens.
A29 Proposals should seek to provide reasonable space between buildings in order to minimise overlooking. This will also assist in providing acceptable levels of daylight to properties. In the case of dormer windows, restricting the size of the window and setting it back from the eaves is usually an adequate solution that can protect neighbouring privacy.
A30 Overlooking of gardens may be unacceptable where it would result in an intrusive, direct and uninterrupted view from a main room, to the most private area of the garden, which is often the main sitting out area adjacent to the property, of your neighbours’ house. As a general rule of thumb this area is the first 3-4 metres of a rear garden, closest to the residential property.