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Backyard build upsets the neighbours

Brothers face fierce opposition to plans for new houses in gardens of their adjoining homes

09 May, 2019

Proposed design by architects Square Feet for the one and two-bedroom houses in Arkwright Road

PROPERTY developing brothers who own homes next door to each other in Hampstead are seeking permission to build two houses in the back gardens – but face a barrage of objections from neighbours.

Sascha and Nicholas Shinder, who own adjoining houses in Arkwright Road, have applied to the Town Hall for permission to create a one-bedroom and a two-bedroom house in Frognal.

The plans would see the homes built – with green roofs, solar panels – for the Shinder’s children, and access to the properties would be through a small lane.

Opponents claim the new housing would “severely invade” the privacy of houses nearby and overshadow neighbours. Others call it “gross over development” that will take valuable green space away for ever.

Five years ago the Shinder brothers applied for permission to build three houses in the gardens – but withdrew the scheme, which had also faced widespread opposition.

The owners say in their planning application that the new designs have been drawn up with the advice from council planning officers, been guided by the Camden Design Review Panel, and offer a series of factors to help the buildings fit in with the neighbourhood.

They state: “The proposed dwellings are subdued and significant landscaping is proposed, which allows the properties to ‘settle’ and blend inoffensively into the conservation area.”

They added the project was “notably different” from the previous application and has been “significantly reduced” in scale.

But despite changes, more than 40 objections have now been lodged at the Town Hall.

Neighbour Saman Alagheband’s objection, on the council’s website, said: “This will destroy green space close to the very busy Finchley Road, remove mature trees and affect a variety of wildlife. The buildings will seriously overlook and invade the privacy and amenities of neighbours and will have a significant impact on the surrounding area leading to even more traffic congestion and CO2 pollution.”

Neighbour Peter Ibsen added: “Any build like this would violate all or most of Camden’s conservation policies. Allowing this or any build like this very quickly set a precedent for any future applications to destroy the entire area that has been so lovingly conserved and rightfully protected by law for a very long time.”

Others fear new housing will add to congestion. One neighbour, who lives opposite the proposed development, said: “We believe the back gardens of the closely set homes in this neighbourhood should be preserved as gardens not built up in a totally urbanised way in order to make money. It will add density and congestion to an already-overworked Arkwright Road.”

Architects Square Feet say the designs were in keeping with other modern buildings in the area. They point out two other houses have recently been built to be accessed by the lane, and permission has been given for a home on the site of garages on the same stretch.

Architect Daniel Leon said they had listened to concerns and the shape of the buildings had been influenced by the need to protect mature trees on site. The homes included high tech insulation, solar panels and air source heat pumps to help lower their carbon footprint, he added.

In the application, the architects state: “Al­though back land development is generally considered un­desirable it has been acknowledged that the urban grain in this immediate area has become fragmented and disrupted by other recent developments such that this no longer presents a uniform pattern.

“The principle of garden sub-division has been accepted subject to appropriate levels of impact on townscape, plot form, biodiversity and overall green feel.”

They said by using flat roofs the development’s height had been restricted and they would be used as green roofs, not terraces, to help offset the loss of garden space. They also pointed out the development would be car free, with no parking or traffic access allowed. No date has yet been set for the Town Hall’s planning committee to consider the proposals.


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