New build flats rejected in favour of conversion in conservation area

Demolition of a large house in a mature suburb of London and its redevelopment with seven flats was refused, an inspector finding the conservation area would be harmed by the imposing contemporary designed replacement building.

The inspector judged that there would be noticeable additional bulk created by the design of the new building which included underground parking, a lower ground floor, gables and a central tower, albeit there would be little numerical change in footprint or plot width coverage. The inspector also identified other shortcomings in the modern design with an unduly stark façade and quasi-industrial appearance, resulting in an appearance that did not reflect the local distinctiveness of the predominantly arts and craft designed properties in the locality. He stated the fact the extended and altered building to be demolished, had itself become discordant with the conservation area did not justify allowing an incongruous development.

On other issues, the inspector decided some parts scheme would not provide appropriate levels of natural light or outlook, resulting in an enclosed and gloomy feel out of keeping with the spacious character of the area, adding to his assessment that the scheme was not a high quality design. He also noted the appellant had not carried out any on site investigations and failed to provide sufficient information to be sure that archaeology on the site would be preserved. Overall the inspector concluded that, taken together, the combined adverse effects would be significant and outweighed the public benefits of housing and the appellants claim that an apartment scheme would be best served by a new structure, rather than the extant permission for conversion of the existing building to five flats.

Inspector: Thomas Bristow; Written representations


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