London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames: Chris Miell has recently won an appeal against the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and secured planning permission for alterations, basement excavations and a first-floor rear extension at an existing flatted building located on Manor Road, Twickenham.
The appeal property is a four-storey semi-detached property from the Victorian period, which is identified by the local planning authority as a Building of Townscape Merit (similar to local listing). The existing building has five floors of accommodation, including a basement level and a loft conversion, and currently provides nine bedsit type units.
The existing flats within the appeal property are cramped and provide a poor standard of living for existing occupiers, with none of the units meeting the Nationally Described Space Standard (2015) for one-bedroom units.
The proposed scheme, which was designed by CIAO Architects, would see the existing building extended and altered internally to provide four flats. The development would provide improved living conditions for existing and future occupiers, when compared to the existing bedsit type units, and meet the demand for family type units within the area. To this regard, all the proposed units would exceed the Nationally Described Space Standard.
To facilitate the proposed development, it is proposed to erect a two-storey rear extension and extend the existing basement to provide additional floor space. The extension would have a subordinate relationship with the host building and would be constructed from matching materials. As part of the works, the existing rear extensions would be demolished and the rear openings would be repositioned to ensure visual cohesion between the proposed extension and the host property.
Despite acknowledging the benefits to the living conditions for existing and future occupiers which would arise from the proposed development, the local planning authority refused planning permission citing harm to the character and appearance of the area and neighbouring amenity. In the Council’s opinion, the proposed extensions would result in an unsympathetic overdevelopment of the site that would fail to harmonise with the appearance and character of the existing buildings of townscape merit.
Having reviewed the Council’s decision, we disagreed with the local planning authority’s assessment of the proposal and their overall conclusions. Therefore, were instructed by the property owner lodge an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate. In support of the appeal, we prepared a detailed statement of case, which concluded that the proposal would be compliant with the development plan.
Within our statement we undertook an assessment of the design approach and concluded that the proposal had been designed in a manner which would be in-keeping with the design and appearance of the host building and the other Victorian properties within area. In addition, by undertaking an assessment of the massing of the existing and neighbouring buildings, we were able to demonstrate that the proposed development would protect the living conditions of the neighbouring occupiers.
In assessing the proposal, the Inspector agreed with our assessment and found:
“The proposal would include the reinstatement of timber sash windows to the front elevation of the appeal property along with a traditional front door. These measures would enhance the appearance of the building. To the rear, the existing outrigger would be demolished and replaced with a larger extension which would also include an extension to the existing basement…. Due to its position, design and height, it would not dominate the building’s original scale and character. The proposal would be seen in the context of a residential area with various building forms and vegetated gaps in between. As a result, it would not have an overbearing appearance.”
On that basis, the Inspector found that the proposed development was consistent with the development plan and the National Planning Policy Framework, and she proceeded to grant planning permission for the works.
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