Planning inspector dismisses appeal for house extension in St Albans conservation area

A planning inspector agreed with St Albans district council's rejection of the scheme

A planning inspector agreed with St Albans district council's rejection of the scheme - Credit: Archant

A conservation area home described as “sub-standard” for present day living in St Albans cannot be extended, after a planning inspector dismissed an appeal.

St Albans district council rejected a scheme to alter the basement, by increasing its depth, and build a partially single/part two-storey side/rear extension, and rear dormer roof extension at a home in Inkerman Road – the street was named after the Battle of Inkerman in the Crimean War.

The local authority refused the scheme, saying the scale, form and design would result in a “dominant and unsympathetic addition to the host dwelling” and fail to enhance the character of the conservation area.

This was despite a show of support for the extension from other residents, who said that it met the needs of a growing family.

County councillor for St Albans central, Chris White, also backed the application, saying that a few years ago “this neighbourhood was under severe pressure.

“The character of Inkerman Road was blighted by the speculative purchase of many of its houses as preparation for a retail superstore, which never received planning permission.

“The area needs stability: families which commit to living here and feel they can grow. This application, from a family which has lived in this street for the past 12 years, and wishes to be able to continue do so is precisely what is needed to make this community viable.”

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In her September 26 decision, planning inspector Anne Napier noted the main benefits of the scheme would be the provision of additional accommodation for the home, to meet the needs of the applicant’s growing family, to avoid increasing the demand for housing elsewhere.

The applicant had described the two-storey home, at the end of a short terrace of four similar houses, as sub-standard for present day living.

But Ms Napier, who acknowledged the “significant local support” for the scheme, said she was “mindful the proposal would result in permanent alterations to the dwelling, whereas the personal circumstances of the appellant and her family are likely to change over time”.

She concluded the benefits of extending the house would not be sufficient to outweigh the harm, as the proposal would have a “harmful effect on the significance of this locally listed building” in the conservation area.

In regards to the family’s rights under the Human Rights Act, Ms Napier said the refusal of permission was “proportionate and necessary and would not result in an unacceptable violation of those rights.”