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Agenda item

Penthouse Flat 11, 3 Lansdowne Road, West Wimbledon, SW20 8AP

Application number: 23/P0747

Ward: Village

Recommendation: REFUSE Planning Permission


The Planning Officer presented the report.


The committee received representation from the applicant Stephen Sexton who raised points including:

         The recommendation for refusal was due to the upper extension resulting in material harm to the character and appearance of the existing building, conservation area and the wider street scene.

         Design features were included to reduce the height and minimise the visual impact.

         Kitchens and bathrooms had the minimum permitted ceiling height and were located underneath the upper extension. This allowed the upper extension to be sunk into the floor below which reduced height and visual impact.

         The top floor flat was built in 1974 and in need of modernisation.

         Surrounding propertied were not in the conservation area. The north of 3 Lansdowne Road was in the conservation area, but views were blocked by 2 Lansdowne Road. To the east, the conservation area was blocked by another building. To the south of Lansdowne Road, they were not in the conservation area. The first property to be in the conservation ware was 17 Lansdowne Road. There were no direct frontal views to the development from any property which was in the conservation area.

         The upper extension was set so far back from the edge of the building that it would not be visible from Lansdowne Road.

         The upper extension was too far to be seen from the ridgeway, with limited views from the Downs which were not in the conservation area.

         The refused appeal scheme was in relation to two buildings with 2 additional full height floors of 7000 square feet which comprised of 8 two bedroom apartments. The current application was for an ensuite bedroom of 400 square feet, a fraction of the scale which was previously proposed.


In response to questions raised by the committee, Planning Officers advised:


         Visual impact of the scheme was a matter of judgement.

         Downs Road and Lansdowne Road were not within the conservation area although most of the areas outside of those roads were. It was acknowledged that some of the views from immediately in front of the building would be partially visible to the structure but officers also looked at wider views as well as the design of the scheme, and whether it was appropriate for the host building and surroundings.

         This was a subjective assessment. The scheme would improve accommodation for a single unit however, there was already consent to remove the conservatory and extend the flat sideways. The proposal would be a benefit for the resident only and not for the wider public. The proposal would make the building taller than any other in the local area. There were many purpose built blocks of flats in the area so they needed to be sure that the visual impact was acceptable.

         Most of the master bedroom would be glazed with an outlook but there would be some back panelling where there would be no light coming through.

         Many elements of Planning were technical. The term subjective was used as the appearance of the proposal was open to the opinion of members and officers. Officers felt that the proposal would look out of character although other Councils have allowed similar developments. This application needed planning permission as it was not a new flat and was an extension, but where upward extensions were allowed as permitted development elsewhere, other councils decided that the way to accommodate that was to allow similar developments as this one. Some Councils require materials to match the existing building and to be the same shape, this application was not and why officers have recommended refusal. It was up to members to decide if this type of development was acceptable in this part of the borough.

         Received 14 objections summarised within report.

         There would be access to the flat roof. When the inspector dismissed the application for two storeys there were no issues raised around neighbouring amenity, so officers felt that access to the flat roof was ok.

         Officers could not say whether the application would have been approved had it been in a conservation area. There were many purpose build flats in that area and was why those roads were excluded from the conservation area.

         Due to the glazing, the development would be visible at night, despite it being set back. It was worth noting that the windows on the floor below would also be visible when the lights were on.

         The previously refused scheme was rectangle shaped and looked similar to the existing building. However, officers felt that on balance this was visually unacceptable. The applicant was now looking at something different but officers felt that the new application did not overcome the previous reason for refusal.

         If the application was approved and the neighbour wanted to build something similar, the orientation of the clear glass of the bedroom would be facing away and there would not be any overlooking.


The Chair invited the applicant to respond to clarify details raised within questions from the committee.


The applicant informed the committee of the following:

         Happy to have condition to use whichever glass officers deemed necessary to deal with any concerns around light. The development was set back a huge distance from all directions.


The Chair moved to the vote on the Officers’ recommendation: Votes For – 0, Against – 9, Abstentions – 0.


The motion to refuse the officer recommendation was proposed and seconded on the basis that members did not agree that the proposed development would have a negative impact on the appearance of the host building and surrounding area.


The Chair moved to a vote for approval with the following additional conditions: Votes For – 9, Against – 0, Abstentions – 0.



         A standard time limit condition to be implemented to commence in 3 years.

         A samples and materials condition to address concerns of the glass it the developments prominence.

         A drawing numbers condition.

         Implementation of a construction management plan.

         A standard construction times and days restriction condition as the application is on an existing block of flats.



RESOLVED: That the Committee GRANTED Planning Permission Subject to Conditions.

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