A controversial planning application is back in the news after councillors unanimously gave the go-ahead for a ground floor extension at a row of Victorian cottages in Handbridge .

Neighbours attended Cheshire West and Chester Council ’s planning committee at the town hall where Simon Dangar, who lives next door to the 1884 Overleigh Road property, disagreed with a planning department recommendation to approve the retrospective application in the conservation area.

Mr Dangar, who lives in Farndon but rents out the Handbridge property, previously welcomed the council’s decision to reject a second retrospective application for a more contentious dormer loft extension at the same address.

A loft extension at the Victorian property in Overleigh Road, Handbridge, has been refused but is now the subject of appeal.

He told the committee: “There has been a total disregard by the applicants for anyone else’s thoughts, feelings or views during the whole process.”

Mr Dangar reminded members the area was not only covered by a conservation area but by an Article 4 Direction meaning planning consent was required even for minor changes.

He said the rear extension, which was the enlargement of an existing extension, would mean his garden and that of next door would be overlooked. His next door neighbour would also lose light.


Mr Dangar, a financial advisor, noted the original features of the property in question were highlighted when put on the market but the fireplace and chimney breast had since been removed in what he called an act of ‘architectural vandalism’. He claimed the standard of workmanship on the extension was of a ‘very poor standard’.

Agent Paul Doughty, of Wirral-based SDA Architecture & Surveying, who was acting for applicants Andy and Debbie Dear, told the meeting his clients had been abused .

Addressing the claim the applicants had disregarded other residents, he said: “That certainly isn’t the case. They didn’t set out to upset anybody despite the fact they have been subjected to verbal and media abuse because of the work that has been carried out.”

He explained: “I represent Mr and Mrs Dear who have moved back to the area after many years of living in the West Midlands. Living in this property is a dream come true for Mr and Mrs Dear, particularly for Mr Dear who is from this area.”

Mr Doughty, who is also a Wirral Labour councillor, claimed advice had previously been given by the planning department over the telephone that planning consent was not required as permitted development rights were in place. He said the work had been completed to ‘a good standard by local builders’.

Cllr Jill Houlbrook didn't see a problem with the ground floor rear extension
Cllr Jill Houlbrook didn't see a problem with the ground floor rear extension

Planning committee member Cllr Jill Houlbrook , who moved approval, said it was ‘a shame that what has happened has happened’ and that the developer didn’t realise the property was subject to an article 4. But she added: “I don’t personally think it detracts from the area. I cannot see how it can overlook the neighbours because the neighbours either side have got the existing extension.”

Fellow member Cllr Norman Wright thought it was a ‘very attractive extension’ and noted other nearby extensions that he considered less attractive, including one next door with ‘a flat roof’’.

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