1. Welcome to the new-look UKBF! Check out our FAQ guide.

Running business from home - 'increase in traffic'?

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by Againsttheodds, Jul 14, 2013.

  1. Againsttheodds

    Againsttheodds UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 6 Likes: 0
    Have been a long term 'lurker' on these forums and have learnt much - I now have a question which perhaps some of you may be able to advise me on:

    I have suspicions that a neighbour may complain to the local council that I'm running a business from home - even though I have been doing so for around 20 years. It is all very low key but whenever someone calls at my house he is there in his window, often with his camera . . . Business wise, I have roughly 4 deliveries per month brought by van, not lorry, during the daytime and the van might be outside my house for ten minutes or so each time. In addition I have a small number of customers who drop off payment usually by just posting a cheque through my door - these customers may arrive in either their van or a car. This probably happens, on average about 6 or 7 times a month.

    What I would like to know is whether this amount of traffic is likely to be perceived as 'a marked increase in traffic' in the eyes of the council planners.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    Last edited: Jul 14, 2013
  2. OldWelshGuy

    OldWelshGuy UKBF Regular Moderator

    Posts: 18,994 Likes: 6,477
    have you contacted the local authorities with regard your business working from home? there is a difference between working from hom and having a business trading from home, if customers drop checques in then that is not part of business it is another option rather than posting the thing, and doesn't impact on 'business' traffic.
  3. roydmoorian

    roydmoorian UKBF Contributor Full Member - Verified Business

    Posts: 1,421 Likes: 267
    It's not an increase if it has been happening for the previous 10 years without complaint ;)
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  4. KM-Tiger

    KM-Tiger UKBF Regular Full Member - Verified Business

    Posts: 7,650 Likes: 1,876
    I get more than that per week - mainly clothes, shoes and all sorts my wife has ordered!

    I don't think the volumes you describe could be said to have an impact on the neighbourhood.
  5. billybob99

    billybob99 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 222 Likes: 24
    I second this.
  6. StevensOnln1

    StevensOnln1 UKBF Contributor Free Member

    Posts: 1,990 Likes: 468
    If you've been doing the same thing for years with no complaints I would just ignore him. If you ever hear from the council, point this out to them. If he confronts you tell him to mind his own business.

    Sent from my GT-P1000 using UK Business Forums
  7. Vectis

    Vectis UKBF Contributor Full Member

    Posts: 503 Likes: 122

    Surely the postman turns up with deliveries more than these other people? Can't see that it's a problem - unless there's something else like their cars blocking driveways or allocated parking spaces etc.

    You could always take photos of your neighbour while he's photographing you? Or ask him what the problem is?
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  8. roydmoorian

    roydmoorian UKBF Contributor Full Member - Verified Business

    Posts: 1,421 Likes: 267
    Maybe the guy suspects that you are running a brothel and hasn't quite made up his mind yet ? :D
  9. daisyrogers

    daisyrogers UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 97 Likes: 17
    If your home business is harming someone, I mean noise, or creating problems from other activity then you should think about it but as you told that you have monthly 6 - 7 clients then I think its not a big deal.
  10. mit74

    mit74 UKBF Contributor Free Member

    Posts: 2,320 Likes: 417
    I hear of so many people having problems working from home and busy bodies who have a false sense of entitlement in residential areas. You have nothing to worry about if you ask me and I wouldn't confront your neighbour about it. What I would do is log every visit and the time they spent there. Then at least if the council do call you can show them the exact list of visitors and not one he's made up.
  11. Againsttheodds

    Againsttheodds UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 6 Likes: 0
    Thanks the replies - much appreciated.
  12. stuartmcminigal

    stuartmcminigal UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 17 Likes: 0
    Do you not speak to this neighbour?

    Why not next time you see him with a camera, chap on his door and see what's up. Explain your side of what is going on as he may just be a suspicious older gentleman with concerns and if you put him at ease he may stop.
  13. Againsttheodds

    Againsttheodds UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 6 Likes: 0
    No. This is the near neighbour (not next door) who at some stage has complained about virtually everyone in the street - he quite simply can't have anything better to do. He has also just sent a letter via his solicitor to his immediate neighbour complaining that she has dared to venture onto his side of the shared driveway . . .even though in the past I've seen him drive down her side of the driveway to get around the other car parked at the bottom of his drive . . .
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2013
  14. mit74

    mit74 UKBF Contributor Free Member

    Posts: 2,320 Likes: 417
    trolls like this get off on confrontation, it makes them more and more determined because they know it's getting to you. He sounds like one of those neighbours eveyone dreads on their street.
  15. JamesBarnsley

    JamesBarnsley UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 8 Likes: 0
    Yea or maybe he thinks hes selling drugs or something.
  16. Socio South West

    Socio South West UKBF Contributor Free Member

    Posts: 398 Likes: 108
    I have been there done that and have a very heavily stained t shirt....

    If you want to thwart anything your neighbour can do with respect to Planning Enforcement, which is where the main problem will come, providing you can gather firm evidence... trading statements, PROPER SWORN statements from people who have known you trading from that address (not just a letter signed, but properly sworn in the presence of a solicitor) ... then apply for a CLEUD (Certificate of Lawfulness for Existing Use or Development) which will exempt you from any planning enforcement regarding possible change of use.
    It's not good enough just presenting trading records - this relies heavily on being able to corroborate the evidence against other events to totally nail the issue.

    Even if you have an Enforcement Notice slapped on you thanks to him, you can still apply for and get a CLEUD... The first I knew was that shortly after an Environmental Officer arrived following totally incorrect accusations of me putting raw sewage into a stream, a Planning Enforcement Officer arrived asking questions that demonstrated he had also been fed a total load of bunk by my neighbour.

    But please take a word of advice - Treat any Planning Enforcement Officers respectfully, firmly but friendly, and answer their questions honestly - in that way you get them on your side: I ended up with the Council almost batting for me when my neighbour spent about £10k with a senior partner of a large local solicitors practice trying to get my application overturned.

    They may throw mud... work out what is smoke and what is fire, and ignore the smoke. For example, my neighbour got my accounts, and included in one of his responses to the Council that the business was effectively insolvent... Very true... but the reasons for that were totally irrelevant to the issue of whether I had been trading in those buildings for more than ten years or not.

    There is much more to it, and I can tell you a lot of the pitfalls you may come up against in the process - Please contact me direct if you need any further help if this becomes a problem.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2013
  17. Homer J Simpson

    Homer J Simpson UKBF Contributor Free Member

    Posts: 1,257 Likes: 188
    Doesn't this open the gates to being charged business rates? Worse still, backdated!!
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  18. vvaannmmaann

    vvaannmmaann UKBF Regular Free Member

    Posts: 12,459 Likes: 3,203
    Socio - does that just make a mountain out of a molehill? If a complaint is ever made(going on what the OP has said it would have been done by now if ever) deal with it then.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2013
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  19. Socio South West

    Socio South West UKBF Contributor Free Member

    Posts: 398 Likes: 108
    I agree that doing it voluntarily could be making a mountain out of a molehill... and there is nothing against waiting until... IF... you get an enforcement notice served.

    With regard to business rates, it could actually work out in the OPs favour... The property will be assessed to decide how much is related to the business, and rates charged on that... but an appropriate decrease in the Domestic Council Tax should correspondingly be made. Assuming Small Business Relief can be claimed, the net result may be a decrease in total outgoings. See this from the VOA http://www.voa.gov.uk/corporate/Publications/workingFromHome.html

    In my case, I had no retrospective business rates charged, and I know of two others - with the same Local Authority who had likewise, but again, policies may vary from Council to Council

    My experience is that neighbours will stoop very low to try and disrupt, and the OP must be ready to fight his case clearly if/when the need arises.

    An additional point that many don't realise is that a CLEUD is not a Planning Dept matter - it is a Legal Dept matter. Although a Planning Officer sits on the committee, it is the Council Solicitor that deals with it, and makes the final reccomendation. In the OP's case he seems to be worried about the Highways aspect - that will not come under scrutiny if he can demonstrate that his activities have been carrying on for ten years uninterrupted without any other complaint or relevant occurrence
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2013
    • Thanks Thanks x 1