Every week in the lists prepared by the Council are applications for the extension of existing houses. This does not mean the small extension, either at ground or first floor level to provide a modest increase in floor space, or an additional room, but the substantial increase which alters the character and shape of the existing dwelling.
We are well aware that a householder wishing to expand their accommodation is discouraged from buying a larger house due to the added cost of Stamp Duty and, of course, the life changes that may be incurred by moving away from their district.
The frequent choice therefore is to extend and the most common forms are by a large ground floor extension at the rear and/or the extension of roof space. We have written before about the affect upon neighbours, with the loss of privacy from second floor windows and “Juliet Balconies” and the loss of view, sunlight and daylight by storey height walls projecting 6.0m. along the garden boundary. This latter form of extension has been made easier by the relaxation of planning requirements. Does Government really realise the consequence of their actions?
So what are we left with and what will our children inherit? A mix of houses whose appearance has been destroyed and a mix of houses that will not match any incoming families. These houses have been expanded by the first generation of mature families and will not match the requirements of the younger incoming families, not only in size but the ability to afford them.
We assume these extended houses will contain larger families which will put greater pressure on all our services infrastructure, particularly drainage, with “run-off” from greater areas of roofs and hard pavings. Greater pressure on our roads and car parking. Greater pressure on our schools. Reduction of green space.
We do not believe the Planning Authorities have considered the greater consequences of these individual planning applications.