In one way, this is a simple story: a client came to us wanting to get more from his property, and ended up with two houses having started with one. In another way, this is an epic, involving a half-dozen applications, including prior approval and appeals. It’s a story that shows how with persistence, resources and (of course) help from skilled planners and architects, it can be possible to navigate your way through the planning process and get what you want in the end.
We begin with an odd-looking semi-detached house on a corner plot, which in the 1960s had acquired an awkward flat-roofed extension. There seemed to be enough space here for more than one home – the question was: what would be the best way to achieve that?
Throughout, our client remained open-minded about how to achieve his ultimate objective. We started off with the safest first step: getting the council’s agreement to make the house larger via a 6m-deep prior approval rear extension and a permitted development hip-to-gable loft conversion.
Then we tried something more ambitious – a separate new house in the garden. That was refused and also lost on appeal. So that route was shut off, but our client wasn’t about to give up. Eventually, we ended up putting in two applications: one for an eight-person HMO and the other to split a much-enlarged house into two vertically. These added a lot - but because there was no longer a two-storey side extension jutting out, it felt like they were reducing what was there. Both were approved, and he opted for the two-house version.
So what’s been built? The strange flat roof is no more – there’s now an elegant gable roof over both houses. The ‘original’ house has a large rear dormer, four bedrooms and a sizeable annexe in the back garden. The ‘new’ house has just the one bedroom but separate kitchen and living rooms, so it feels very spacious.
Looking at the two stylish contemporary front doors, it’s clear that our client’s willingness to stay the course while keeping an open mind paid off – and London has another well-designed home, which has to be a good thing.
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