Q: We live on a tiny rural Devon lane, a no-through road for traffic. We moved here in 1992 for the quiet and solitude. A few years ago, our neighbour started a childminding business at home, and it has grown. The volume and speed of traffic from parents is alarming: if our elderly neighbour were walking in the lane, she wouldn't stand a chance. In summer, the children play and scream in the garden; it's like living next to a playground. We've put up caution signs, and spoken to the childminder. Our local council is no help. What can we do?
Siobhan Lancaster, Devon

A: You mention that the council has been no help. Have you tried contacting its planning enforcement team? Your neighbour might require planning permission to operate her childminding business, as the scale of it may mean it constitutes a material change of use. This depends on various factors: the number of children she looks after; whether she has employees; and any noise, traffic and amenity implications. 

Carina Wentzel appears in The Sunday Times Home Experts answering a reader's question on planning permission for a neighbour's childminding business.

Carina is an associate solicitor in the real estate team. Carina advises on all aspects of planning law, acting for a range of clients including utility companies, private developers, institutional investors, retailers and student accommodation providers.

Minding Her Business Russell Cooke In The Sunday Times Home Experts