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Latest twist in controversial Handbridge dormer saga

Couple go to appeal after alternative option rejected by planning department

 

Simon Dangar, Beryl Colley-Davies and her nephew Paul Colley-Davies were upset when neighbours carried out a loft conversion with dormer.

A saga continues over a controversial dormer rejected by a planning inspector after the occupants were also refused permission for an alternative two-dormer solution.

Homeowners Andy and Debbie Dear had been looking forward to living in their dream Victorian terrace home in Overleigh Road, Handbridge in Chester.

Their consultant at the time claimed the dormer got built based on a misunderstanding that planning permission wasn’t required.

But the property is within a conservation area and covered by an Article 4 Direction meaning planning consent is required even for minor changes.

A dormer extension must be removed but skylights can stay at a Victorian property in Overleigh Road, Handbidge, following the judgement of a planning inspector. Picture: Handbridge Life

So neighbours celebrated when Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) rejected a retrospective planning application for the dormer in a decision later backed by inspector John Braithwaite following an appeal.

An alternative application to reduce the existing rear dormer to create two rear dormers, with roof space in between, proved just as unpopular and has also been rejected by CWaC. The householders have launched another appeal.

Next door neighbour Beryl Colley-Davies wrote in objection: “As these recent plans do not return the roof to its original state, it continues to be out of keeping with the Victorian terrace roof line and contrary to the local conservation code.”

Mr and Mrs J Green, of Overleigh Road, wrote: “We feel very strongly that the property should be put back to its former glory before any more protected buildings are lost.

“ We don’t feel inclined to sit in our back garden any more because the top of the roof of 74 dominates the view from our garden and indeed the surrounding area. This has had a detrimental effect on both of us.”

A dormer extension must be removed but skylights can stay at a Victorian property in Overleigh Road, Handbidge, following the judgement of a planning inspector.

Fellow objector Marilyn Matthews, of Overleigh Road, expressed hope the ‘commentary box’ dormer is removed.

Ms Gillian Roe, of Quarry Close, Handbridge, wrote: “This historic cottage has remained intact for about 150 years until 2015 when an unnecessary, ugly and unrequited dormer extension was added without permission.

"Planning officers have given this due consideration, allowed an extension to the rear ground floor but decided that the dormer is inappropriate in a conservation area.

"It is now time to stop prevaricating, obey the rules and take it down.”

Supporting the householders, Stephen Jones of Mill Wharf, Waverton, Chester, said: “Having seen the property in question hundreds of times, I can’t see the problem as the dormer can only be viewed from the rear of the property and has no effect regarding the conservation value.

“I could understand if the dormer was at the front of the property on the main route into the city.

"Having viewed the Heritage Report I fully back his comments and totally agree the new dormer will look great and will enhance the property. How anybody in the overlooking ugly 1970s flats can comment on looks is beyond me.”

Fellow supporter Michael Hayes, of Beeston View, Handbridge, wrote: “The intended dormers will be smaller in construction showing substantial areas of original roof slope that remains between the dormers, thus avoiding the three-storey flat-roofed effect as noted by the appeal inspector.

"The result is therefore more harmonious with the appearance of the original building.

"I hope for all involved that they are allowed a compromise with the new design, as from what I can gather they have been the victims in all of this.”

In refusing permission, planning officer Angela Wrigley said the new design would still cause harm to the conservation area.

She commented: “The proposed dormer windows by reason of their size, design and siting, would be out of keeping with the character of the existing dwelling and the row of terraced dwellings.”

In December 215 a retrospective planning application to enlarge an existing ground floor rear extension at the property was granted permission by CWaC. And the inspector who rejected the dormer did allow the two skylights installed at the front of the 1884 Overleigh Road property.

A dormer extension must be removed but skylights can stay at a Victorian property in Overleigh Road, Handbidge, following the judgement of a planning inspector.

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