DC Casebook: Housing: Conversion - Cellar flat conversion judged substandard

The conversion of a cellar in a terraced house in Cornwall into a flat has been refused on the basis that it would provide inadequate living conditions and harm the building and its surroundings.

The property's front elevation had two storeys, while the rear had three. The proposal entailed the conversion of the basement to provide self-contained accommodation with a floor area of 12.5m2. Its orientation and the proximity of other buildings meant that the accommodation would get no direct sunlight and the daylight provided would be meagre, the inspector found. She noted that the plans showed no mechanical ventilation, waste storage facilities or outdoor amenity space.

She recognised the need for affordable housing in the district. However, she noted that the proposal came with no undertaking to ensure that the unit would remain affordable for local people. In any event, she reasoned, PPS3 makes clear that community needs should be met by a wide choice of high-quality homes, whereas the proposal would only offer substandard living conditions.

She also endorsed the council's assertion that the restricted scale and internal floor space of local traditional cottages suited them to occupation as small family homes. She considered that the proposed subdivision would be out of keeping with the character of terraced family cottages.

DCS Number 100-058-098

Inspector Jessica Graham; Written representations.


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