Isn't there some kind of law requiring a minimum distance between structures, fences and front verges? My brother in law recently put up a cinder block wall and got told by his neighbour it was too far forward (it was in front of the letterbox).
Geoff was able to see the plans which were submitted to the council but because it's compliant there's no need for anybody to notify anyone about anything. Apparently even a 2-storey house would have been approved without letting us know (mind you, I'd have preferred that if it were to have a smaller footprint than this one will).
After all, this is the neighbour who said to me "you have a big* house and no children, would you like someone to come and live with you?"
*we do not...