At Manse & Garret Property Search we are almost on first name terms with a number of council planning offices across London and Kent. With three clients currently on our books looking to build their dream properties, a lot of time is inevitably spent on the telephone and in meetings with duty planners and building control.
I must admit that I do have my favourite planning departments: Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster provide the least painful experiences! Equally, I also have a few that I dread dealing with (although I won’t name any for fear of reprisals!)
From the midst of the planning process, preserving the character and appearance of our streets can seem like a bit of a hassle, yet you need only look at a beautiful streetscape in Hampstead Village to know that it is worth it. This is why I am still in a state of disbelief over the report of a developer in Twickenham who bulldozed a semi-detached Regency house, without permission in January of this year.
I may perhaps be slightly biased, as in terms of architecture I happen to be very fond of the housing stock which has survived from the 1820s, but even without my personal aesthetic preferences, I cannot believe that anyone could demolish a house that was attached to another without permission, in order to cut their own developer costs.
The developer was fined £80,000 by Richmond Council, and also had to pay Richmond councils £42,500 legal bill to cover the cost of taking legal action. I imagine that this will serve as a warning to other developers who may be tempted to subvert, or indeed, simply ignore planning regulations in future.