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."
DifficultThe 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.