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Agenda item

Flat 18, Sovereign House, 1 Draxmont, Wimbledon, SW19 7PG

Application number: 23/P3164

Ward: Hillside

Recommendation: GRANT Planning permission subject to conditions


The Chair informed the committee that this item was deferred from the meeting on 15 February 2024 due to further assessment of the late representation on Heritage. Further assessment took place and officers confirmed that the application could proceed with the previous recommendation for approval.


The Planning Officer presented the report.


The committee received representation from one objector who raised points including:

·       Design and materials were impractical and failed to respect the architecture of the building.

·       Flat 17 respected the character of the building and went unopposed.

·       Not echo friendly, extensive use of south facing glass would require high energy air conditioning.

·       Took away light and privacy. The slop gave flat 17 light and a view which this extension would take away.

·       The updated light assessment looked wrong.

·       The layout was impractical with inaccessible gaps between the extensions and the main building walls. Flat 15 below suffered 3 years of ingress through the gaps. Future repairs would be impossible like they use to be from Flat 17.

·       The ingress put flat 18 in breach of their lease; they were asked to fix it before negotiations on new works but they sought permission anyway.

·       Concerned about the load aspects and amenity of neighbours.

·       They reserved their rights under the lease which allowed them to stop any acts detrimental to the aesthetics, character and structure of the building or property of others.

·       Suggested a compromise for the current application to be refused, once the breach in the lease was fixed, they would then provide a revised proposal to residents which addressed concerns. They would then be likely to receive a receptive community response.


The committee received representation from Ward Cllr Hicks who raised points including:

·       Flats 17 and 18 were fortunate with a terrace the size of a room. The proposed flank wall would be hard up against the white wall.

·       The flat 17 extension had a big window facing onto the terrace to catch the light from over the wall and did not infringe on flat 18.

·       Tonight’s application was designed to sit hard up against the wall and was considerably taller. If built, flat 17 would not look out of their window to open space and sky. The light would be reduced, and they would lose the sense of openness and seclusion that they had currently.

·       The applicant would retain all of their sun and sky whilst taking it away from their neighbour.

·       The materials chosen were out of sync of the building.

·       A symmetrical extension on the other side of the terrace would suit the building without damaging the amenity of the next door neighbour and was why the application should be rejected.

The committee received representation from Ward Cllr Holden who raised points including:

·       Shared concerns raised by residents.

·       The application should be refused on design grounds. Design was subjective and although the report suggested that the application brought balance and was acceptable, he argued that this was only an opinion and requested that they considered their comments instead.

·       The proposed extension was harmful to the design and outlook of the building and did not bring balance, did not offer an interesting outlook, location was in a prominent position and could be viewed by residents.

·       It was harmful to the listed building at 100-102 Wimbledon Hill Road.

·       Was not in keeping with the style of the block of flats.

·       This property should be locally listed as an example of the style of flats built at the time.

·       The property was predominantly brick built with an offset top floor.

·       Flat 17 had a remarkably nice design enhancement built on the previous conservatory and used bricks to match the age and appearance of the rest of the building. This work was an enhancement to the building.

·       This application used heavy glazing and a protruding roof. The bulk and massing were out of kilter and made Sovereign House worse off.

·       The sympathetic approach would have been to mirror flat 17 and been symmetrical, used brick and minimal glazing. This would have made the building look better and not result in building control matter issues and other design layout issues.


The committee received representation from the agent James Latter and the applicant Sue Thompson who raised points including:

·       Wanted to create an energy efficient home, enhance the block and improve privacy between flat 17 and 18.

·       They wanted to modernise the interior and make the outside space usable all year round.

·       Saddened to see objections from residents but realised most were not planning related and were about construction post planning.

·       Understood and sympathised that it could be annoying for residents to have another proposal for building works a couple of years after flat 17. They would do everything they could to keep the build time to a minimum and reduce disturbance where possible.

·       The high architectural design enhancements as identified by the planning officer, would benefit everyone by increasing the block value and value of each flat. Heating bills and sound for the flats below would be significantly reduced.

·       Keen to work with directors to minimise disruption and wanted to discuss plans before applying for planning permission. Since June 2023, they made many formal requests which were refused on every occasion.

·       Met with flat 17 to discuss plans, produced daylight studies and altered proposals to take his views into account.

·       They proved that there was no planning issue with daylight and sunlight.

·       They were concerned with the little privacy on their balcony.

·       There was a small leak into flat 15 in February 2021 and another in March 2023. No further leaks were reported, they were not in breach of their lease.

·       Approval of the plans would create an energy efficient home, enhance the block and improve the privacy between flat 17 and 18.

·       They were not building against the flank wall and moved the extension back on the request of flat 17.

·       Since the deferral based on comments from the Conservation Officer, they looked at improving the symmetry to the street elevation by removing the recessed brick panel alongside other amendments.

·       The material finish to the roof canopy was also lightened in colour to further reduce contrast to the existing material palette of the existing property.

·       Further adjustments were made to reduce impact to the adjoining property, including pulling away from the neighbouring terrace and the removal of ensuite facilities.

·       Daylight and sunlight studies concluded minimal impact on the immediate neighbouring terrace.

·       Although not a planning consideration, a structural assessment was completed and concluded that the lightweight construction methods could be accommodated by the existing fabric.


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

·       There was a set back from the flank wall.

·       There was an existing wall which divided the two terraces and the proposal was set back from it. There was also the indent to reduce the impact further. It would be difficult to see the vast majority of the extension, it would be visible from some extent above the dividing wall but this would be minimal.

·       Daylight and sunlight were formally assessed and confirmed that under BRE standards, there was minimal reduction in light.

·       A number of objections raised were not planning issues. Matters of private interest between occupiers such as arrangement by deeds between the leaseholder and freeholder, nuisance and structure of the building were not material considerations. In the case of non-civil matters, it was important for members to not replace the role of building regulations and building control departments. Building control issues were for the next stage if planning permission was granted.

·       The wall already existed and sloped away from the building, at which point the extension would be more visible. The extension was set away from the wall to be less visible and why it indents. The wall did slope down and the design responded to this.

·       As a matter of planning law, members were required to assess the proposal before them as opposed to a preferred scheme. There was a danger to consider possible negotiations between parties and this was not advisable.

·       High quality materials were to be used which provided an interesting contrast to the building.

·       There were concerns in regard to plumbing and these matters would be controlled by building regulation. However, the bathroom which caused the issue has been removed.

·       Solar panels were proposed and formed part of the scheme so the applicant would be required to implement them. There were no policy grounds to condition solar panels or further energy enhancements for an extension.

·       There was no evidence to suggest solar gain resulting from the choice of materials and they would not consider this to be a reason for refusal.


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


The applicant informed the committee of the following:

·       Several attempts were made to approach the board but this was initially denied as they were not yet the legal owner. There was then a leak in the terrace and they were told they were in breach of their lease. They have done all that they could to engage and wanted to discuss the application before submission. They also engaged with their next door neighbour and was surprised by their objection. The plans were modified but they could not change the extension to the master bedroom as they would otherwise have to go through the master bedroom to access the patio.

·       The thermal performance of the property was covered off by building regulation. They discussed incorporating blinds to control solar gains and the intention was to have solar controlled glazing films. They planned to upgrade the thermal material fabric of new additions and include passive and mechanical ventilation systems to mitigate solar gains.

·       They would not use air conditioning.

·       Brick etching was their intention.

·       Repairs to the terrace were carried out to the areas of concern, with building control approval. The area was currently watertight.


The Chair moved to the vote on the Officers’ recommendation with the following additional informatives: Votes For – 9, Against – 0, Abstentions – 1.



·       Sound levels were at an appropriate level.

·       Confirmation that there were no leaks.

·       Brick etching as intended would proceed.


RESOLVED: That the Committee GRANTED Planning permission subject to conditions.


Supporting documents: