St Albans neighbours anger about roof extension allowed on appeal

Riverside Road. Picture: Google Maps

Riverside Road. Picture: Google Maps - Credit: Archant

A roof extension in a St Albans conservation area has been allowed on appeal, to the anger of neighbouring houses.

St Albans district council (SADC) initially rejected the scheme, which would see a three-storey house on Riverside Road made 2.4m taller for a new bedroom and en suite toilet.

It was refused because SADC believed it would harm the streetscape and be visually obtrusive.

Neighbouring properties also voiced their objections to the application. Keith Salmon said the development is “totally out of character with neighbouring houses” and an “unacceptable eye-sore”.

Jane Hodges added: “This is a Conservation Area and is already overcrowded and becoming overdeveloped. If accepted, this new proposal is likely to open the floodgates for development of the rest of the houses, resulting in an adverse change in the character of the street, loss of light and even more congestion and parking problems.”

Oscar Bond explained: “The house is part of a group of houses that are not conventionally oriented towards the road but are angled along the street giving a staggered effect to the front facades. The drawings show a section and photomontage that suggests that the new storey would only just be visible. However, this is just from one particular angle.

“If a view were shown down the road from the west side of the house, the new storey would be clearly visible.”

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However, a planning inspector has now ruled the development can go ahead.

He said: “It would appear that this part of the St Albans Conservation Area is largely noted for Victorian and Edwardian architecture, though the north-western end, including the appeal property, is of relatively modern design with little intrinsic visual interest. Furthermore, there is a large group of modern four-storey flats further to the north along Riverside Road, such that the relatively modest proposal would not appear out of place.”

Riverside Road resident Richard Pether called this decision ridiculous: “The planning system has quite obviously failed in a way that sends a message that this Government has turned its back on the notion of a Conservation Area.”

However, the decision was not wholly derided, with a Bob Zierer commenting that he is “a strong supporter of these works”.