Council orders demolition of new 'eyesore' flats

Looks nothing like planning drawings

The block of flats in Earlsfield, London that will need to be torn down after not meeting it's plans. See National copy NNBUILD: A property developer has been ordered to tear down a multi-million pound block of flats because he ignored the plans - and it's too ugly. A councillor branded the block of flats "an eyesore" and said it looks nothing like his original plans. The developer was also accused of leaving tenants in cramped and sub-standard accommodation.

A property developer has been ordered to demolish a new block of flats, because it bears no resemblance to the planning permission he was given.

The block, in Earlsfield, London, was supposed to contain nine one-bedroom flats and three two-bedders. On the basis of a set of detailed drawings, planning permission was given in 2008.

But what eventually went up on the site was very different - eight two-bed flats and four one-bedders - thanks to two extra flats being squeezed into the basement.

Wandsworth Council says it would never have given permission for this, as the land's prone to flooding; and, indeed, the unlucky residents of the two flats have already been flooded out.

Nor does the block look anything like the drawings. Windows have been removed or altered, leaving vast expanses of bare brick, and the materials used aren't the same that were approved.

Grandmother ordered to demolish extension that cost life savings

"This is a shocking case of a property developer who clearly thought he could get away with totally ignoring planning rules," says planning chairman Sarah McDermott.

"The building really is an eyesore that does not meet any design standards. On top of that, he has crammed in way too much residential space, leaving tenants in cramped and sub-standard accommodation.

As a result, the council has ordered the whole block to be torn down and replaced by October.

"It is difficult to recall a more outrageous flouting of the planning laws and for doing so I'm afraid he must remove what is there and replace it with a new building that conforms to design standards and provides the people living there with proper facilities and appropriate living space," says Ms McDermott.

Developer forced to rebuild demolished pub - exactly as it was

It's sadly not unusual for developers to flout planning rules and just go ahead with their plans, hoping presumably to win retrospective permission after the event.

But it's a risky strategy, with councils often prepared - like Wandsworth - to stick to the letter of the law and demand changes.

Farmer must demolish the castle he hid in a haystack

In one high-profile example two years ago, a developer in London was ordered to rebuild a historic pub brick by crick after knocking it down in the hope of replacing it with a block of expensive flats.

And in a case around the same time that won the builder a lot of sympathy, Reigate and Banstead Borough Council ordered the demolition of a mock Tudor castle, complete with ramparts and a cannon.

The owner, a farmer, had surrounded the building with bales of hay in an attempt to hide it, hoping that if there were no complaints for long enough, then he'd be given retrospective permission. After appealing, he was finally forced to pull it down last year.

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