The following letter has been sent to the Planning Department (but note the additional more recent letter - Jan 31st '14 appended below the first letter)

45 UPPER BELMONT ROAD    13/05603/CP
This application is for a flat roof dormer roof extension.  Although this application is, in general principle, permitted development, the Society has the following comments:

The proposed flat roof as drawn will overhang the existing front hip of the roof and will stick up as an ungainly projection.  The proposed dormer should be cut back to ensure that this does not occur.

The cladding to the dormer is proposed as render.  The planning guidance on roof extensions states that the wall cladding material should match the existing roof covering.  We propose that the dormer is clad with red/brown clay plain tiles to match the main roof.  This will have the benefit of reducing the apparent height and preventing the dormer being such a sore thumb when viewed from the rear.  A large boxy dormer which has no positive relationship with the house below should be played down and not given undue prominence by means of a bright modern finish.

The huge fixed light window to the rear elevation will badly overlook the neighbours’ gardens and it will only be possible to clean the glass by means of a professional ‘reach and wash’ pole system from ground level.

The rooflights are described as Conservation Type and yet shown with no glazing bars.  Conservation rooflights always have glazing bars.

The note on the proposed South Elevation is incomprehensible and should be clarified before permission is granted.

45 UPPER BELMONT ROAD     13/05603

 Updated letter, Jan 31st 2014:

The Bishopston Society is extremely concerned that although the above application was extremely poor in design, by your own admission, as set out in our submitted comments (copy attached) that the relevant national planning policy is insufficiently well written to enable you to refuse permission.  I refer to GPDO (General Permitted Development Orders) Class B 1995 revised 2013 which sets out what is permissible as a roof extension to the rear of a property without requiring planning permission.  The weaknesses in this policy are as follows;

-   Item 4 states that ‘materials to be similar in appearance to the existing house’. On the face of it this seems correct. Common sense tells us that this means that the materials of the walls should match the existing walls and that the materials of the roof including dormers should match the existing roof etc.  In the case of this application the designers have chosen to match the cladding of the dormer with the walls below rather than the roof, resulting in a huge bright white box on the roof which will be an eyesore in perpetuity.  Clearly, the policy needs to be re written to spell out what is required.

-   There is no restriction on the size of window in these roof extensions.  So again the designer has taken the opportunity to include a huge square window in the rear face of the dormer which will overlook the windows and gardens of neighbouring properties.  The policy needs to be re-drafted to ensure that window sizes are restricted to ensure that privacy is not invaded.

-   Although it does not apply in this case, the policy clearly states that ‘an extension….. on the principle (front) elevation is NOT permitted development’, but does not cover the situation where the main roof is at 90 degrees to the street.  The policy should be re-drafted to set out limits on how close a roof extension can come to the front elevation to ensure that it is not (easily) visible from the street.  Several of the gabled houses at the top of Egerton Road have been spoilt by boxy dormers which come too close to the front wall and are clearly visible from the street.

We would greatly appreciate it if the planning department could make a representation to the DCLG to have this planning policy revised so that you have the necessary legislation to control these poorly designed extensions at roof level which are spoiling our housing stock and the character of our neighbourhoods.


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