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Neighbours object to Sherlock actor’s new shed

Neighbours are against principle of buildings in back gardens

05 April, 2018 — By Geoffrey Sawyer

Benedict Cumberbatch

NEIGHBOURS of actor Benedict Cumberbatch are worried that a new shed in his back garden will be too bulky for the Dartmouth Park area.

Planning agents for the Sherlock star say the outbuilding is a “simple design” and will be camouflaged in a green roof.
The final decision on whether the shed can be erected lies with Camden Council’s planning department, which has received three objections.

Among the concerns are the proposed building’s size and whether the case will be a precedent for other applications to add new structures to back gardens.

“I find the proposed structure to be oppressive, insensitive to the neighbours and a poor precedent for the future of our Mews,” said resident Robert Ryan, in an objection published on Camden Council’s website.

Mr Ryan added that there were other sheds in the area but added: “They are genuine “sheds”, as one might expect in an urban garden, of modest proportions. What is proposed is an architect-designed, professionally constructed structure of considerable size.”

Another neighbour wrote: “I am very concerned by the height and size of the “shed” and its impact on my enjoyment of low angle sunlight at the end of the afternoon. I remain very concerned by the effective increase in my sense of enclosure that this development would impose.”

He added: “I am also concerned that a successful application for the proposed construction would set a precedent re: large constructions at the end of these gardens. If repeated, the boundary wall between these properties and Bellgate Mews would be lined by constructions rising high above the length of boundary wall.”

Meanwhile, the Bellgate Mews Residents Association said in an official objection: “The massing and scale will produce an oppressive and an overbearing sense of enclose to the front of the houses and in the mews.”

It added: “No amount of “Dad’s Army” camouflage will mask the shape of the building against the sky… Granting of such a scheme would set a dangerous precedent which would be used by the other houses in the road to adversely affect the environmental quality of the residents of Bellgate Mews and similar locations.”

Mr Cumberbatch’s planning team, however, say the case cannot set a precedent for the Town Hall as each application is viewed on its own merits. An initial design was withdrawn last year after residents raised concerns.

“The shed has been redesigned with a traditional dual pitched roof, lowered eaves and reduced areas of glazing,” said Mr Cumberbatch’s planning team, Doyle. “The sloping roof, reduced areas of glazing and lowered eaves together creates a more ‘shed-like’ appearance that is less like a ‘pavilion’.”

It added: “A planted ‘green roof’ will further screen and help blend the structure into its surroundings… A significant percentage of the ‘green’ space will, in fact, be retained. The shed will cover less than 15 percent of the area of the rear garden. The remaining area of the rear garden will exceed 100 sq m”
The roots of nearby trees will be protected, Mr Cumberbatch’s team said, and any new shadows will only affect his garden.

“It should be noted that there are already a number of rear garden developments in the area, including ones adjacent to Bellgate Mews. While some of thee may not have been formally granted planning consent, they nevertheless offer a minor precedent,” the application said. “There are also a few examples of sheds backing directly into the rear boundaries.”

Submitting the new plans, designers say they have listened to neighbours and reduced the size of the structure. Plans before Camden Council maintain the new outhouse would be used for storage, an art studio and playroom, and dismissed the idea that it could become a granny-flat is dismissed as there would be no insulation or water supply.


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