A couple’s home could be destroyed because planners say its roof is 20cm too high.
Planning officers at Wandsworth council could order the flat, off St. Ann’s Hill, to be demolished if planning permission is refused tonight.
The top-floor flat in Denton Street is a one-off development by two of the building’s residents who then sold it in good faith to a young couple.
Tim Snell and his partner are devastated. He said: “We have been left shell-shocked by the experience.
It has been hugely expensive and stressful, impacting almost every aspect of our lives. It has been very difficult to feel at home.”
If councillors refuse the application, the flat’s new owners could face the heartbreak of losing their home – and financial catastrophe.
The flat had been completed, with planning permission, on top of the Edwardian two-storey block of flats in 2016.
Town hall planners now claim the building’s is roof 20cm higher than the approved plans. They warned that the roof would have to be lowered.
But developer John Banbury, who is representing the remaining leaseholders, says this would mean that the flat would have be demolished because any reduction in the height would reduce the ceiling height to a point where it would be uninhabitable.
He is also disputing the height difference. On the recommendation of a council planning officer,
he has resubmitted the planning application for approval and it will be discussed at tonight’s planning commitee.
John said: “This is a typical David and Goliath story. The council has granted permission for massive schemes by big developers such as Battersea Reach that will dramatically change the area for ever.
But at the same time it is making life very difficult for homeowners and smaller, one-off developers who are trying to sensitively evolve the existing housing stock.
“I firmly believe that the works to the building do not adversely affect the character of the area.
But even if they had, this would not have been sufficiently harmful to warrant the demolition of a perfectly good home and to make the owners homeless.”
The draft London Plan has set as its target 65,000 new homes per year over the next 10 years to tackle the capital’s acute housing shortage.
Banbury claims that in other parts of London such as Primrose Hill, roof extensions are actively encouraged as a solution to the housing shortage – and that revised national planning guidance published last month, the National Planning Policy Framework, provides backing for upward extensions.
A Wandsworth council spokesman said: “Members of the planning committee will consider this retrospective application carefully and impartially tonight after looking at all the evidence.
“Under planning rules this is an unlawfully constructed roof extension which is noticeably higher than that originally given permission.
The homes in this terraced street are of a relatively uniform design, and planning rules are in place to ensure changes are not made that harm the character and appearance of the street and impact negatively on neighbouring properties.”
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