Wheathampstead extension due for demolishment after planning application refusal

Wheathampstead High Street. Picture: Krishan Bhungar.

Wheathampstead High Street. Picture: Krishan Bhungar. - Credit: Archant

An extension to a semi-detached property in Wheathampstead may have to be demolished – after retrospective planning permission was refused.

The extension to the property on Brewhouse Hill adds 1.5 metres to the side and four metres to the rear, wrapping around the side of the building.

However it was built without the required planning permission. And councillors have decided it cannot stay.

At the meeting of St Albans District Council’s Planning (Development Control) Committee North, members decided the impact on the neighbouring property was not acceptable – even though no objection had been received.

Speaking for the application at the meeting, planning agent Dean Goodman stressed that the retrospective nature of the application was not a deliberate attempt to avoid planning policy.

Instead he said it was because of a misunderstanding of what could be done under permitted development rights.

He said that while on its own the four metre extension at the rear would be permissable, when combined with the side extension it needed planning permission. And, he said, this was where the confusion had arisen.

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Mr Goodman highlighted to councillors that if retrospective permission was not granted, following demolition, the same rear extension could be rebuilt – without the wraparound at the side – under permitted development rights.

It would, he said, even be permissible to build a six metre rear extension – though he said there was no intention of doing so.

However a majority of councillors voted to refuse the application. Cllr David Heritage said there was a point in the build where construction should have been halted.

He said: “I couldn’t actually see much wrong with the extension, but it was built without permission, part of it was.

“If we overturn the officers’ recommendation it means we will agree with any developer moving the goalposts. That does worry me.”

Meanwhile Cllr Gillian Clark said: “It has been built in a very good quality way. It would be an awful shame for any of it to have to be removed.

“Although I am not usually in favour of retrospective, but I think in this instance it is more a misunderstanding than a deliberate way of doing things.”

The report to the committee noted that the applicant did not seek pre-application discussions with the council.