by Ruth, Marlene, and Steve on 18 January, 2021
An application [DM2020/01822] to add a two storey roof extension on top of the existing building to create 12 studio flats has been turned down by Sutton Council. The plans would not have involved any improvements or other changes to the appearance of the existing Helena House office block.
The Conservatives introduced new development rights last year which allow the construction of two additional floors on top of office blocks, for flats. This is all part of the Conservatives’ plans to de-regulate development.
However, the developer is required to apply to the Council so that it can determine whether they would give prior approval on issues such as transport, flooding, and impact on the neighbourhood.
In this case, the Council decided that prior approval for this development should not be allowed, and they refused the application. The planning department argued that it would increase the scale and massing of the existing building to an 8 storey development. This would result in the building being a ‘dominant and imposing form of development’ which would be highly visible in the streetscene. The detailed design of the proposal would result in an ‘alien and incongruous’ addition further exacerbating the poor design of the existing building resulting in harm to the character of the area.
This is a good outcome for Sutton, but it shows the risk that our town centre faces from the Conservatives planning changes. Sutton Council debated new Conservatives proposals for further removing controls over development at its November meeting. These new measures will reduce or remove the right of Sutton residents to object to applications near them; grant automatic rights for developers to build across large parts of our borough; and reduce the number of affordable homes being delivered.
You can read more about the Conservative’s damaging proposals here.
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