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Can I build this roof terrace?

(21 Posts)
sizeofalentil Wed 08-Jun-16 13:32:28


Bit of background: live in a Victorian terrace. Most houses on our row, as far as I can see down the row, have the exact same extension out back - longer than ours and with a flat roof. We have a smaller extension with a sloped roof.

We want to change this sloped roof in to a flat roof and put balustrades up there.

We have spoken to our nextdoor neighbours and they are totally happy for us to do this (would only bother one side anyway).

Our houses are built at the bottom of a hill and the neighbours that back on to us are built on the top so there are no privacy issues there. The bottom of their garden is still higher than the terrace would be. So even if a 7ft man came over and stood on it, they would only be able to see fence.

The side that would be effected took photos from their bedroom window to show that if wouldn't effect them if we did this. It wouldn't change the light going in to their house or cause any privacy issues. They've said that they have no intention of moving or selling up ever either (though I realise some things might be beyond their control at some point. Anyway…).

However, after speaking to someone from the council off the record, they've said that because of where the neighbours' window is, we probably wouldn't get planning permission. Even if they write a letter saying they are ok with this.

Someone has suggested that we build it anyway and then seek retrospective permission after 4 years to prove that no-one is bothered by it.

I can't imagine this would work. But… Would it?

What do you guys think?

lalalonglegs Wed 08-Jun-16 13:40:22

I think that is the way to go. Many councils have pretty much a blanket ban on roof terraces so you the only way that you can get one is by default. However, you have to be very confident that no one will complain. You will also need to be able to prove in 2020 that the roof terrace has been there for 4 years and, obviously, if you need to sell before then, it could be a problem.

sizeofalentil Wed 08-Jun-16 13:49:25

Thank you for your quick reply.

This is our forever home (touch wood) so we have no plans to sell, ever.

I read up on it a bit, and it's not illegal/banned to have a flat roof you can walk on, and it's not illegal to put plants on your roof. The only thing we will have problems with is any permanent balustrades.

We're DC-free at the moment (ttc) so there's no child safety issues of not having balustrades. So my thought was we just put in a reinforced roof, add some pretty plants and then use it as a terrace as-and-when.

We were also planning for it to be entered/exited through our large window. We weren't looking to build a door or anything.

We're the only ones of our neighbours for at least two doors down who use their garden as a garden - everyone else has paved over theirs, built huge extensions and an outbuilding at the back. So, hopefully, no one from further down would complain over privacy issues. If this build went ahead we wouldn't be able to see any more of their homes and gardens than if we looked out of our window.

There would be more privacy issues if we got a loft conversion (everyone else on the street has a loft conversion apart from us).

lalalonglegs Wed 08-Jun-16 13:53:47

You're not going to be able to get planning permission by default (there is a technical term for this but I have a stinking cold and can't think what it is) unless you put up some sort of railing so, if I were you, I would try using it a bit as you outline and seeing if anyone says anything and then putting up some cheap and unobtrusive railings when you are confident everyone is fine with it. To be honest, if you have a garden, I'm not completely sure why you are bothering confused.

whois Wed 08-Jun-16 13:55:52

The only thing we will have problems with is any permanent balustrades.

If you did put up perm ones (with the idea of getting retro permission in 4 years time) and in that time there was an objection - would you still be able ot have plants and non-perm stuff out there?

If you could, I would go for the perm stuff now (dated invoice to prove instalsation date) enjoy the terrace and wait out the 4 years and get retro PP. If you get made to take down the perm railing then you will hjave wastesome money, but can still use it as a non offical terrace?

sizeofalentil Wed 08-Jun-16 14:08:29

"To be honest, if you have a garden, I'm not completely sure why you are bothering" - Our garden is so, so tiny. It's taken up by most of the downstairs bathroom extension. I love to grow flowers and fruits and vegetables too, so if we did have DC in the future it would cause issues because there wouldn't be the space for them to be able to play there and for us to have somewhere to sit with a cup of coffee on a Sunday morning.

This is our garden, but it's only slightly bigger than this:

So this would essentially be our patio - in a nice, high place that children couldn't reach grin

Also hoping it will act as a refuge for our beloved cats when (if?) DC do come along.

sizeofalentil Wed 08-Jun-16 14:09:01

This ISN'T our garden, I was trying to say. I google imaged for small gardens to try and show the size.

sizeofalentil Wed 08-Jun-16 14:10:21

Whois - I am coming round to that way of thinking. Only problem is, DH is saying that we'll need PP for builders to do it. My dad works in a similar industry so wondering if he'll do it for us. Or at least help…

sizeofalentil Wed 08-Jun-16 14:11:29

Actually, my garden is a bit bigger than that picture because we have a long, narrow side alley between our kitchen and a fence. Ignore that picture, I was being ridiculous there. I might draw you a picture…

MinkyWinky Wed 08-Jun-16 14:14:25

Just a random thought (and nothing to do with planning permission) but as you like growing things, could you 'edge' the roof with big wooden planters?

As I said a completely random thoughtsmile

sizeofalentil Wed 08-Jun-16 14:21:56

MinkyWinky - that's a really good idea. I wonder if that would count in 4 years time as making it in to a terrace though? Because, at some point, we probably would need a higher fence to stop it from raining toddlers on to the garden below.

I do love growing things - I am totally rubbish at it, but I love it.

lalalonglegs Wed 08-Jun-16 14:28:10

No, you would need a permanent structure to be able to get retro pp.

Would it not make more sense to move the bathroom upstairs to where the flat roof is and have a bigger garden?

sizeofalentil Wed 08-Jun-16 14:36:27

lalalonglegs - The flat roof is on top of the bathroom extension. So the garden would still end up the same size as it is now, but we'd have an upstairs bathroom / upstairs extension.

Basically, our house was build in 1894 and has been in the same family in all that time - passed on through the generations. So, instead of ever building stuff properly or starting again everything is slightly odd and botched. The reason why we have a massive downstairs bathroom is because instead of putting in an upstairs bathroom, like everyone else seemed to, our old owners extended the house to the outside toilet. So we have a large downstairs bathroom that's a weird 'L' shape.

I can't really explain this that well. I would take photos and put them up but then that would probably out me IRL and I'd need to NC whenever I posted about sex stuff or ranted in AIBU!

lalalonglegs Wed 08-Jun-16 14:49:05

Ah, well that would be why you can't build upstairs then smile

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Wed 08-Jun-16 15:49:55

It might be worth considering if you ar elikely to do a loft extension in the future.

Some homes particularly Victorian terrace styles allow for an L-shaped loft conversion like this one

So it might be better for now to hold fire and figure out what the grand plan is for your forever home and then plan accordingly. Its very easy to spend a lot of cash in the early days and then find that you rip it all out once kids arrive and you replan your space.

sizeofalentil Wed 08-Jun-16 16:03:59

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams - Should add as well, the L-shape is only the first floor. And only the one room. We have a first floor L-shaped bathroom basically tacked on to the house that we'd build the terrace on. It's so hard to explain without showing you guys - maybe you could all come round for some wine or brew and I can show you? The old owner painted some creepy murals around the house too that I am DYING to post, but again, that would out me IRL.

Our house is a bit higgledy piggledy - but I love it.

If we did build a loft extension (which is my 5-year plan!) it wouldn't effect the terrace either way.

Side note: I can never tell if I should be saying 'effect' or 'affect'. I have tried Googling this, but confused as ever… confused

lalalonglegs Wed 08-Jun-16 16:28:24

Affect is a verb, effect is a noun smile.

Good luck with all the work. I agree that it's best to have a good long think about your plans before finalising anything.

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Wed 08-Jun-16 16:38:28

Does this help?

or this

If an extension def wouldn't impact a loft conversion then no reason not to do it as long as it's done properly. You could possibly put glass balustrading up which is less visually intrusive [though probably £££]

whois Wed 08-Jun-16 16:52:15

DH is saying that we'll need PP for builders to do it.

Doube you would have an issue with getting builders to do it. PP and building regs are your issue.

I needed work on my house (and needed it done to building regs!) and hardly anyone was actually willing to comply with building regs let alone worry about PP.

whois Wed 08-Jun-16 16:52:45

BTW I think the terrace sounds a lovely thing to do - esp if it gets the morning or evening sun more than you do in the actual gardden.

Marmitelover55 Wed 08-Jun-16 17:03:19

Just to sound s note of caution. We used to have a flat roof and it was awful and leaked quite badly. When we had a new extension we got rid of it and now have a lovely pitched roof instead grin. I think the house insurance premiums are cheaper for a pitched roof too.

On the other hand, our extension was accidentally built 30cm too long. We were unlucky that the council randomly inspected and spotted it. They aren't taking enforcement action thankfully and it was one of their suggestions to wait for four years. We are two years in with no complaints.

Good luck what ever you decide.

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