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Property/DIY

loft conversion in conservation area (Muswell Hill)

6 replies

boyngirl · 13/04/2010 21:15

Hello. We're in process of buying a small and v expensive house in muswell hill (yes i know stupid, but we have our reasons) so need to extend into loft. Agent said vendor had planning permission for this, we checked online and surprise surprise he hasn't. He submitted plans for dormer conversion then withdrew them, because they needed 'modifying'. Mus is a conservation area we find out. We're looking into it further, as much as we can anyway, and asking the vendor for more info. But anyone any experience or uplifting/horror stories about trying to get permission in designated areas? Ta,B

OP posts:
PardonMyClench · 13/04/2010 21:36

Have you contacted the council planning dept? Are there any precedents around you for what you want? I have a loft conversion but not in a conservation area and for a normal loft we didn't need planning as long as we didn't raise the roof level. If shouldn't be hard to work out what the objection was and work within the regs to find soemthing acceptable to the council.

herethereandeverywhere · 13/04/2010 22:27

Restrictions in designated "conservation" areas vary wildly. You should be able to find a guide to the restrictions within the area you're buying on the local authority website. On the ones I've searched (Lambeth and Wandsworth) you can also search planning decisions so you can see who hasa a loft conversion and what restrictions were attached to the planning permission elating to the conservation area, or if planning was refused, the reasons for refusal.

I live in a conservation area which is very strict (within Lambeth) but have looked at moving to one in Wandsworth which is much more lenient. As a general rule you would not be able to change the look of the front of the property (no dormers or altering roofline at the front). We're only allowed "conservation rooflights" which look like small velux with a black line down the middle on the front of the property. They're also strict on the back only allowing a pair of small conservation dormers on the back (or staying within the eaves) and no alterations at all to the side return. By contrast Wandsworth preserve the front of the property but you can pretty much do what you like to the back, mansard conversions, Juliet balconies an extra story on the side return whatever.

So I think the moral of the story is to do your research. You could also make some enquiries of local loft conversion companies (for a free quote) asking them of their experiences of working in the conservation area and how they would approach conversion on your prospective property.

boyngirl · 14/04/2010 12:26

Hi thank you all so much, that is really helpful. We've done lots of phoning local council and the architects who drew up plans, and looking up council website, but I didn't think of looking up other decsions in the area or asking builders. Thanks!

OP posts:
mussyhillmum · 14/04/2010 18:37

Hi boyngirl. Congratulations on your move - I remember you from another thread when you were asking about schools in Muswell Hill!

Haringey, I fear, can be a bit unpredictable. Our old neighbours in Muswell Hill were able to get planning permission for a loft conversion and a roof terrace after a certain amount of haggling with the planning department. Two years later, the people who bought our house, had various applications for a loft conversion turned down. However, there are loads of loft conversions in Muswell Hill, so they can't object to ALL loft coversions on principle! Have you asked them to specify what they would be prepared to accept?

boyngirl · 15/04/2010 14:22

Hi Mussy - thanks, we are very excited, it's been a loooong search for a house even vaguely affordable and in the right location. This one is right by the schools we want. Yes we're now 90% sure about what we'd need to do to get it approved after speaking to various people - but I think you're right re Haringey's unpredictability so it's a bit of a worry.

OP posts:
Anoushka123 · 27/06/2013 12:54

To boyngirl
I saw your message that you posted re the house in Muswell hill.
I was particularly interested in that you said Haringey asked the owner to modify the dormer plans.
Myself and neighbours are in the middle of trying to oppose a new neighbours plans for a dormer which will completely change the flow of rooftops in our avenue. Haringey have flouted the rules of conservation.
I would really like to hear from you if you would not mind? I would so appreciate it!
My email is [email protected]
Hope to hear from you or anyone on here who has experienced Haringey refusing a dormer planning application
Many thanks
Diana

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