Former Crimewatch presenter Nick Ross has been given permission to demolish a substantial portion of his £17 million Grade II listed home near Hyde Park in London. He submitted plans to rip out much of the existing building, and build a new property behind the old Georgian facade - complete with basements and pool.
Planners agreed the project, despite 19 objections from neighbours.
h4>Approved According to the Daily Mail, the work was agreed at a meeting of Westminster Council's planning team. The idea will be to leave the original facade of the house in place, but build a new home behind it, with a two-storey basement, swimming pool, gym, cinema room, staff quarters, five bedrooms, and a wine cellar.
The outside of the property will have a number of balconies added, allowing views over the garden square. Pergolas will also be built at the back of the property.
The local residents' association had objected to the scale of the extension, which it said would be obtrusive. It said it didn't have any objection to a modern house being built in principle.
Other residents were concerned that a modern building would be out of character. Neighbour Judith David told the Evening Standard that: "It is important to retain the character of the square. Change never really makes things better anyway."
The committee said it was vital that this home be brought back into use, and that considerable work was required. The chairman said the house was "One of those things, you either like it or you don't like it, a bit like Marmite. I'm afraid that I really like it."
The people who affect house prices
Nick Ross may bulldoze a large chunk of listed property
They have the power to push a price higher, depending on how many other people are in the running for a home and how liberal they want to be with the truth to the buyers. In some cases, they can also do more harm than good by initially overvaluing a property. The worst case scenario is the home eventually sells for less than it would have done had it been priced realistically in the first place.
Sometimes a quick-moving solicitor can be the difference between getting the home at the price you want and getting into a bidding war or missing out entirely. If the buyer needs a quick sale, they're more likely to do a deal with someone who has a flexible solicitor who can push through the sale so it suits them.
Research by Halifax concluded that anti-social neighbours could take £31,000 off the price of an average home. If you’re selling, you should declare any problems you’ve had on a Seller’s Property Information Form, otherwise you could face a claim later on.
While an increase in Council Tax might not be too much of a deterrent to a potential buyer, plans to grant permission for new homes, a mobile phone mast or wind turbines could knock an asking price down. If you're a buyer, the local council should have details of any future planning applications and you can search them for a small fee.
A lot of traffic in an area obviously has an effect on air quality. Since 1997 each local authority in the UK has carried out studies of the air quality in its area. If an area falls below a national benchmark for air quality, it has to be declared an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA). Some residents of the Llandaff area of Cardiff expressed concern that it had become an AQMA due to an increase in traffic in the area. Whether this becomes a widespread issue remains to be seen.
Mortgage availability is a key driver of property prices. If no-one can take out a mortgage, then prices will stall and eventually fall. We've seen this happen in parts of the UK in recent years, as lenders tightened up their criteria following the credit crunch. Conversely, good mortgage availability will mean more people are competing for properties - to a seller's advantage if their home is desirable.
An outstanding local school can add around 8% to the value of a home, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. On the flipside, a not so good Ofsted report can take off a similar amount. If you’re concerned about a school’s performance, one way to get involved is to become a governor.
Initiatives such as the Help To Buy scheme have been credited with pushing house prices up. A buoyant economy with strong employment gives people the confidence to buy and leads to an upward shift in house prices, while rises in unemployment have the reverse effect. Planning restrictions, at both a national and local government level, affect the number of homes in a particular area.
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The process has not been straightforward, Ross told the Daily Mail that he had put the designs out for wide consultation, and made many changes in order to ensure concerns were addressed. Even at the committee stage officials insisted on a number of design changes to ensure the neighbours would not be overlooked or unnecessarily impacted.
It goes to show that applying for planning permission in a densely populated area is not simple. You can apply online, submit forms and drawings, and then wait for a decision.
However, if your work will affect your neighbours it's a good idea to try to talk to them first. They need to understand the scope of the work and be given a chance to raise any concerns, so you can reflect that in your application. If necessary you can consider changing your designs in order to appease them.
It's not worth trying to slip changes past the neighbours, because they will find out in plenty of time to put a stop to any developments they disagree with. Once you have applied for permission, the council will post notices and contact people in the immediate area for their comments.
Their feedback will inform the committee's decision - alongside the plans themselves. If you have managed to get the neighbours on board, and the comments are positive, then you are in a much better position when it comes to getting permission from the council.
It'll also make it much less painful to live alongside those neighbours after the work has been done.
The house that hasn't changed in 50 years
Nick Ross may bulldoze a large chunk of listed property
John Collingwood has lived in the house all of his life.
He still uses the cooker his mother bought some 65 years ago, and the 1965 fridge.
Some things even pre-date him, with bathroom fittings from 1925.
The retired textile worker doesn't believe in throwing things away just because there's something newer and more fancy on the market.
He was reluctant to have central heating installed.
Collingwood with a collection of antique vacuum cleaners.
Rather than splashing his cash on entertainment, he still uses a wind-up gramophone and a radio from 1950.
The resurgence 1950s and 1960s style means that some of the items he has are in high demand - and he's been made offers on some of his period furniture.
He does have one newer item though!
This laundry room was originally an air raid shelter during WWII.