Rooftop clutter justifies stair housing

An enforcement notice directed against a replacement stair housing at a top-floor flat in west London has been quashed following findings that it did not harm a conservation area.

Referring to Burroughs Day v Bristol City Council [1996], the inspector decided that the stair housing was sufficiently visible to amount to development. But he pointed out that the test for impact on conservation areas takes into account prevailing character and appearance.

He opined that the stair housing's prominence did not in itself render the development visually unacceptable. He found that the conservation area's character and appearance from street level derived from the front facades of a high Victorian terrace.

He accepted that the stair housing could be seen from the upper storeys of surrounding buildings. But he remarked that utilitarian features such as water tanks, roof terrace paraphernalia and chimneys also became visible from elevated vantage points. He held that the development constituted another diverse component of an already cluttered roofscape.

DCS Number 100-050-233

Inspector Alan Woolnough; Hearing.

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