Thursday 18 August 2016

Mansard Roofs - Latest LBTH advice.

A Photo of a Mansard Roof

Many Tower Hamlets residents who live in Conservation Areas would like to extend their properties, and last year the council produced an 18-page Mansard Roof Guidance Note to help residents across the borough understand the planning application process.

In addition, last November the Council produced a detailed draft Addendum to the existing Conservation Area Character Appraisal and Management Guidelines document, for eight of the borough's 58 conservation areas. Tredegar Square (but not Clinton Road) was one of the eight.

The Tredegar Square Addendum was put out for consultation between 23 November 2015 and 18 January 2016. Letters were sent to all the 1,045 addresses within the Tredegar Square Conservation Area informing residents how to engage in the consultation.

The Addendum is very detailed and maps the roof types of all of the non-listed buildings within the Tredegar Square CA. It lists some 47 properties where roof extension/alterations might be considered acceptable subject to a planning application (shown in sky blue below).

An annotated map of the Tredegar Square Conservation Area indicating houses where Mansard Roofs might be permissible
The western side of Tredegar Square CA

A few weeks ago, in July, the council published a summary of the consultation responses. If you think local election turnout is poor (52% for Bow West), then goodness knows what you will think of the response to the consultation: Of the 1,045 properties within the Tredegar Square CA, responses were received from a mere 40. Of these, 45% supported the Addendum and 55% objected to it.

On Tuesday 26th July 2016 the Tower Hamlets Cabinet met and formally approved addendums to six of the Conservation Area Management Plans including that for Tredegar Square.

The addendums for Driffield Road and Medway Conservation Areas have not been adopted. Instead, further research is being undertaken to more fully explore the potential for extensions in these areas.

That these two Conservation Areas appear to have received "special treatment" has not gone unnoticed by the Twitterati of Bow. But council planners see these areas as very different to Tredegar Square CA. Driffield and Medway have a consistency in the elevation of streets, unlike Tredegar which has a varied roofscape.

Buttermilk helps your house price reach levels other colours can't reach.
I can't believe it's not Buttermilk

Some MEOT residents are understandably dismayed that whilst some neighbours seem to get away with all sorts (plastic windows, non-traditional paint colours, bungalows at the end of the garden, etc) they can't get permission for what they consider to be sympathetic roof extensions.

This is the list of addresses in Tredegar Square Conservation Area where roof extension/alterations might be considered acceptable subject to a planning application:*

 Property Number
Addington Rd
1 Westwood Mews, 2 Westwood Mews.
Alloway Rd
Coborn Rd
14, 55, 57, 59, 59A, 61, 69, 71, 71B.
Grove Rd
4, 4a, 8, 8a, 8b.
Lichfield Rd
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 94, 95, 96, 97.
Morgan St
8A, 8B, 9, 9A, 9B, 9C, 9D, 10A, 10B, 10C.
Pembroke Mews
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
Tredegar Square
1B, 1C, 1D.

*Inclusion on the list does not mean that a full mansard is acceptable. Where appropriate, alterations may simply be a small traditional dormer.

I understand the council is going to publish a more detailed summary of the consultation and I will pass that on when I have a copy.

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Planning News for the MEOTRA Area

The last few weeks have seen quite a few local planning issues come to a head, including the redevelopment of the Grove Road Texaco site and a developer losing an appeal to build a house at the end of residents' gardens in Grove, Litchfield and Alloway Roads.

Grove Road Texaco Site Redevelopment Scheme WITHDRAWN
The plan to build around 30 homes on the site has been withdrawn. You may recall that around 40 neighbours objected to the scheme and this large number triggered the scheme to be brought automatically to the council's planning committee. That the developers withdrew at this stage suggests they thought they would lose the application, and developers like to avoid that as it affects the land value and their chances of selling it on for a good price.

A map showing the the Texaco Garage area in relation to the conservation area boundary
On planning maps, the garage sticks out like a sore thumb as it is an island in a sea of Conservation Areas and protected park land. A seemingly obvious way to help protect how the site is developed in the future would be to alter the Clinton Road conservation area boundary to include the garage. Apparently, this isn't something the council does lightly and the boundaries aren't due to be reviewed for a few years. I have been reassured (somewhat) that the close proximity of the site to these two conservation areas and the park means the site will be treated almost as if it were in a CA.

Some MEOTRA residents are annoyed that all the letters opposing the plans have vanished from the council's planning site. Apparently, that is how it works. They can't keep our letters up there as the application doesn't exist anymore. Don't worry this MEOTRA site isn't going to remove our articles on the subject!

48-50 Grove Road - new house. Appeal dismissed.
Just a stone's throw from the garage and opposite is 48-50 Grove Road which was built 15 or so years ago on the site of the short-lived church (built 1988). When the flats were built, what would have been the rear garden of number 48 (before the Luftwaffe did their best) was given over to the flat residents as "amenity land". The developer's drawings showed an oasis of calm with wonderful shrubs and a path meandering through a wildflower meadow inhabited by red admirals. Instead, we got a black weed-proof membrane and industrial mulch that gave off a sour, acrid smell for months. It is now a playpark for a family of foxes and contains hundreds of pieces of litter.

So 15 or so years down the line the developer applied to build a house on the space, this application was refused; an appeal submitted to the secretary of state; and now this has been dismissed, in a wonderfully damning letter from a Mr Humphries from the ministry.

In the next articleI will look at the decision passed by the LBTH cabinet concerning Mansard Roof Applications by residents within Tower Hamlets and MEOTRA in particular.

Tuesday 2 August 2016

House Fire in Coborn Road

Four fire engines and 21 firefighters and officers were called to a fire at a mid-terraced house in Coborn Road, Bow on Sunday.

A small portion of the ground floor and the roof of the property were damaged by fire.

A 20 kilogram light portable gas cylinder was cooled and removed from the scene by firefighters.

One man was taken to hospital by London Ambulance Service.

The Brigade was called at 1454 and the fire was under control at 1620. Fire crews from Whitechapel, Shadwell, Dowgate and Dockhead fire stations attended the scene.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.