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(18 Posts)
noddyholder Fri 19-Oct-12 23:23:57

I have just had an offer accepted on a 3 storey maisonette needing full refurb. Beneath is a 2 storey flat with garden. The kitchen in the flat I have offered on has floor to ceiling French doors but no balcony or fire escape just a sheer drop! Someone has tacked a piece of ply across which has been there years. From outside you can see the outline of where there were once a balcony and stairs a fire escape but it has been removed years ago and never replaced. I spoke to the council who said they will meet me next week but that it sounds dangerous and they wold more than likely approve planning for a balcony. I then spoke to a supplier and looked at different choices.but the woman below is not keen as there has never been anything there in the 5 yrs she has been there. I said I was happy not to have the steps down just the balcony with an integral ladder which you only use in an emergency but she is still not committing. Could she theoretically stop it vpneing done? As I would need to pull out before I waste any more tem on it

KarenHL Fri 19-Oct-12 23:30:51

It's also worth speaking to building control at your council (unless you want to call a private inspector). For a small job, council are probably the best bet. IME they are usually more than happy to have an informal chat on the phone or in the office. They wouldn't be concerned with planning as such, but safety & if you need to change something like this, they may argue that it is necessary from a safety point of view. If a property is damaged (eg in a fire), it is usually BC who would come out and tell you if it is safe (as well as the firemen).

Having said that, one exit through the building (with fire doors) may be all that is needed, but don't take my word for it (I am not a BC surveyor). I would seek professional advice from planning and building control if I were you.

noddyholder Fri 19-Oct-12 23:32:59

Yes I plan to. I just can,t buy it as it is as we would never be able to open the doors! And they can,t be removed as its a conservation area!

noddyholder Sat 20-Oct-12 10:23:02

quick bump! Met woman below today and she doesn't want the fire escape put back.

AnneElliott Sat 20-Oct-12 10:26:24

I would speak to building control. It may well be that whatever was there was removed without permission and therefore you may not have a choice about putting it back in. If that's the case what the woman downstairs thinks is neither here not there. Surely whoever owns it now should sort it before you buy? What dies your solicitor say?

noddyholder Sat 20-Oct-12 10:33:53

Solicitor said speak to council which I did. They said it was a safety issue as the drop is about 25 feet. I have a meeting with them next week and this am I got a photo of the rear so can show them.She said she wants privacy and doesn't want a balcony there.

noddyholder Sat 20-Oct-12 10:34:56

The fire escape and stairs was removed when the back of the building was re rendered and never put back Approx 10 yrs ago. No permission was sought.

Collaborate Sat 20-Oct-12 12:43:54

It's not just a matter if planning consent. You need to ensure that the property owner had the right to install the escape and doesn't infringe the property rights of the ground floor owner.

noddyholder Sat 20-Oct-12 14:54:40

I understand all that. The fire escape was there originally when the house was converted. What am I supposed to do then leave it without and never open doors or risk someone falling to their death?

Collaborate Sat 20-Oct-12 15:02:01

It doesn't matter whether it's a safety issue or not. If you don't have the legal right to reinstate it (and it must have been removed for one reason or other) you can't do anything without the consent of the ground floor. You could always replace it with a window. Or let the seller sort it out. It isn't your problem until you buy the property.

noddyholder Sat 20-Oct-12 15:07:07

It is a conservation area and the council want it kept the same. I do know why it was removed the rear was re rendered and the guy upstairs never asked for it to be put back This maisonette has no heating etc never touched he just left it.Council said it is a safety issue.

noddyholder Sat 20-Oct-12 15:07:55

It is my problem as i won't be buying it without permission. Council want it put back like the others in teh road!

noddyholder Sat 20-Oct-12 16:49:57

anyone else? Not sure whether to pull out or not.Dp wants to I want to buy it!Can't believe we will be refused but who knows?

TiAAAAARGHo Sat 20-Oct-12 16:53:57

If you want the property, tell the sellers they have to sort it out before your exchange contracts. They can deal with the problem and then you just get to move in with it all sorted out.

I wouldn't buy and then try to sort yourself.

noddyholder Sat 20-Oct-12 16:56:18

I am going to do that Ask the current seller to get permission. Anyone buying this would do the same and the guy at planning said it could be a condition of a mortgage which we are lucky enough not to need. I have renovated so many houses over the years but this is a PITA

noddyholder Sun 21-Oct-12 14:39:02

Anyone got positive story of planning outcome? [hopeful]

Sausagedog27 Sun 21-Oct-12 18:16:59

It's more likely to be a building regulation issue IMO- if the original fire escape was the only means of escape you may have to put one back for safety reasons. I'd hold off any hasty decisions until you have spoken to the council but make sure you do speak to building control as well as planning.

noddyholder Sun 21-Oct-12 19:27:54

Thanks sausage thats what I thought. I think the top bedroom is too far from the other exit to meet regs. That was my original approach but they requested a photo hence meeting the woman below and then it became hassle.

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