DC Casebook: Community Facilities - Changes ordered on unlawful extension

An inspector has agreed that a single-storey extension to a nursing home in an area of special character in London should be modified to comply with the terms of a planning permission or be completely demolished.

The home lay in a predominantly residential area and comprised two large detached properties linked at ground-floor level. Permission had been granted in 2004 for a conservatory-type extension but the council alleged that the resulting structure did not accord with the approved plans. It projected 2m further into the garden, had a flat rather than lean-to roof design and was finished in painted render rather than having a lightweight, glazed appearance.

The council argued that the design undermined the area of special character. The inspector noted that the unauthorised extension was attached to an earlier lean-to extension. In his opinion, its utilitarian design, flat-roofed appearance and increased depth resulted in a disproportionate enlargement which failed to harmonise with the overall style and architectural composition of the host building.

The fact that the extension was invisible from the public realm did not diminish the council's legitimate concern to prevent the intrinsic character of the area from being eroded, he ruled. He concluded that the steps required to be undertaken, giving the appellants the options of removing it or amending it to comply with the 2004 permission, were fair.

DCS Number 100-068-758

Inspector Nigel Burrows; Hearing.

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