Benedict Cumberbatch wins permission for extension plans

Boiler room won't disturb neighbours, council rules

Benedict Cumberbatch has won the battle of the boiler and been given permission to go ahead and renovate his £2.7 million Camden home.

After buying the house in April last year, the Sherlock star applied for permission to convert the attic into another bedroom, build a rear extension and new balcony and install a 'plant room' at the front of the house to house a new boiler and water heater.

The plans also call for changes to the back garden, for many years the venue for an annual Bonfire Night party hosted by the house's previous owner, solicitor Judy Walker.

However, neighbours complained that the planned balcony would overlook their properties and said they were concerned that the proposed new plant room could be noisy.

And while Cumberbatch and his wife, opera director Sophie Hunter, have been waiting for planning permission, the house has remained empty and surrounded by black hoardings.

Now, though, Camden Council has approved the plans, saying that 'the proposed changes are considered acceptable in design terms'. There would be no effect on neighbours' privacy, and no loss of natural light, it says.

And, it adds in its report, "The proposed balcony at upper ground level would not look directly into residential windows and nor would it increase overlooking beyond the existing situation."

Meanwhile, an acoustic report has indicated that the boiler room shouldn't be noisy enough to disturb the neighbours.

The decision means that work can finally start on the four-storey, five bedroom home. The neighbours are likely to be pleased: earlier this year, one resident suggested that Cumberbatch would be an exciting addition to the area and might be persuaded to give out prizes at the local street party.

Camden has a particularly high proportion of luxury properties, many listed or in conservation areas, and as a result tends to take a strict line on planning issues.

Just yesterday, for example, it was revealed that The Great British Bake Off host Sue Perkins and her neighbours have successfully blocked the building of a bungalow at the bottom of a pensioner couple's garden.

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