Inspector upholds council decision in St Albans planning breach

The planning decision for the Hatfield Road, St Albans, building was upheld by an inspector. Picture

The planning decision for the Hatfield Road, St Albans, building was upheld by an inspector. Picture: SADC - Credit: Archant

An extension of a St Albans property in breach of planning permission will need to be rebuilt.

Planning inspector Simon Hand upheld a decision by St Albans City and District Council to serve an enforcement notice that ordered the reconstruction.

He said the unapproved design was "poorly thought out" and clearly harmed "the character and appearance" of the surrounding area.

He has given the property owner, Maroof Khan, a year to carry out the work to the building at 149 Hatfield Road, in Fleetville, St Albans.

He refused Maroof Khan's application for the council to pay the costs he had incurred in making the appeal.

The council gave permission in 2013 for him to create four one-bedroom flats on the first floor of the property.

However a larger, more prominent roof and wall were built and an extraction system for a ground floor restaurant was also put up without permission.

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The council issued an enforcement notice in April last year ordering the extension to be rebuilt according to the permissions and the external extractor to be removed. He appealed against the notice.

Simon said in his written judgement that the main issue was "whether the roof as built harms the character and appearance of the area".

He said the roof and new wall had become "a dominant feature in the streetscape".

The new designs were "crude, oddly-shaped" and larger than the original plans which would have had less impact.

Simon also ruled the unapproved extraction equipment for a ground- floor restaurant should be taken down.

He said the approved design for the extension was flawed in that it produced flats with very low ceilings.

In giving the owner 12 months to comply with the enforcement notice, he was allowing time for the council and the property owner to agree compromise proposals.

Councillor Jamie Day portfolio holder for planning, said: "We're pleased that the inspector has upheld our enforcement notice and dismissed this appeal.

"The unapproved designs upset many residents in the neighbourhood.

"This case demonstrates our commitment to ensuring the planning permissions that we grant are complied with. It shows we will take robust action against those in breach of them."