Highly engineered appearance harms conservation area

The demolition of various buildings associated with a former garden centre in a north London conservation area to facilitate the erection of three dwellings was judged inappropriate due to limitations on the design and layout of the development.

The site contained a dwelling used as offices, a commercial glasshouse and a variety of low key structures which would be removed the appellant stated. In their stead three detached family dwellings would be erected with the lower floor of two of them set into the sloping site. Hard surfacing within the site would be reduced the appellant explained and each dwelling would be set within a relatively spacious plot.

Historically the site had been used for pasture and an important open area associated with the organic growth of a village with later suburban dwellings beyond. The repeated use of modular forms with steel frames and triple glazing would give the dwellings a harsh engineered character which would contrast starkly with the informal semi-rural character and appearance of the site. Due to the sloping nature of the site and tree cover some rooms would receive little sunlight whilst others would have a poor outlook. Such oppressive living conditions could give rise to requests for extensions or conservatories which would further erode the underdeveloped character. Other aspects of the design showed scant regard to site specific circumstances such as needing to keep valley gutters clear of leaves such that overall it did not achieve an appropriately high standard of design and would undermine the character of the conservation area.

Inspector: Joanna Reid; Hearing

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