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Benedict Cumberbatch upsets conservation committee with shed plan

'Why can’t he just go to B&Q, get a little pre-pack number and knock it up himself on a Sunday afternoon?'

23 November, 2017 — By Dan Carrier

Benedict Cumberbatch

AS the Marvel film character Dr Strange, Benedict Cumberbatch lives in a mansion with infinite rooms and has superpowers that allow him to slip between realms – meaning space is not exactly a problem.

But in real life the actor’s plans to expand his home in Dartmouth Park have triggered objections from conservationists and neighbours. Those opposing the proposals say they were shocked to learn that Mr Cumberbatch, also the star of BBC hit Sherlock, wants to add a 15 square metre outbuilding to the bottom of his garden.

It comes after a two-year home improvement project which has added extra living areas in the roof and at the rear. Mr Cumberbatch bought the house three years ago but has yet to move in due to the works. The plans for the outbuilding are now in the hands of Camden’s planners with his design team, Doyle, describing it as a “simple design with traditional timber”.

The application adds that it will not affect any mature trees, and will be “entirely ancillary to the use of the application property as a single dwelling house” and that a green roof will further hide it from neighbours. The paperwork adds: “A trellis will support climbing plants, windows will be glazed and the shed will sit on hand-driven posts of recycled mixed plastics.”

But an objection from the Dartmouth Park Conservation Area Advisory Committee says Mr Cumberbatch’s architects’ description of the building as being a “shed” is incorrect. “This ‘shed’ is in fact a large construction across almost the entire width of the property at the bottom of the garden,” the committee said. “It protrudes above the boundary wall. It has timber-glazed windows across the wall facing the garden, suggesting it could have many uses as an extension to the main building.”

Others are furious that the actor should want to do yet more work. One neighbour, who did not want to be named, called it a “large pavilion”, adding: “There are strict policies regarding the loss of open space, either private or public, and this is not a small wooden shed that could be put up or taken down in a day. It is a permanent building on green space which rightly enjoys protection. It is massive over-development on what is essentially protected green land – the urban equivalent of the Green Belt. Can you imagine if everyone did this? “It would set a very poor precedent for ensuring what little greenery we have in London is protected.”

And their views were echoed by other neighbours, with another saying: “We’ve put up with his building project for the best part of two years now. It is dragging on and on. Why can’t he just go to B&Q, get a little pre-pack number and knock it up himself on a Sunday afternoon? What on earth does he need yet more room for?”

Michael Doyle, from Doyle, said he was not able to comment.

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