Conversion preferred to redevelopment in conservation area

An inspector refused permission for the demolition of an unlisted arts and crafts house and its replacement with a block of eight apartments in an Edwardian London conservation area, finding the public benefits of the scheme no greater than could be achieved from conversion and improvement of the existing building.

The existing house had been unsympathetically extended and altered but, in the inspector’s assessment, still contributed positively to the character and appearance of the conservation area. In contrast, the replacement pastiche building would lack the heritage interest of the original, although the effect would only be perceived in the immediate locality. Finding harm to the conservation area as a whole to be less than substantial, the inspector went on to carry out the NPPF paragraph 132 public benefit balance.

In the inspector’s assessment, improvements to accessibility, sustainability, landscaping, affordable housing and an overall increase in number of residential units were tempered by the fact that the existing building could provide similar benefits by way of conversion and improvement, and thus did not outweigh harm to the conservation area. The inspector also found harm to neighbour residential amenity due to loss of light and a risk of property damage from excavation of a basement.

Inspector: Hayley Butcher; Hearing


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