Pre-application advice has just been received from Kingston upon Thames planning authority for this proposal. The outcome was helpful to the client for deciding on a strategy for upgrading the property.
The pre-application route was chosen because the client was not in a hurry and wanted to be certain about what could be achieved through a loft conversion before committing resources pursuing it. We were able to offer to arrive at this stage for less than the cost of a full planning application because level of drawing and documentation could be less.
This turned out to be the right strategy because, although the principle of the proposal was accepted, the planners wanted to set the the piggy back more than we had designed. This loss of space proved to be critical for the client who decided that there wouldn’t be sufficient benefit to justify the cost and disruption. He therefore chose to go any further.
Along with sufficient plans and elevations the proposals were illustrated using a simple SketchUp massing model. This was important in this caase for 3 reasons: (a) the staircase to the loft was in the rear part of the building which has a lower roof and the resultant appearance is not easy to read via plans and elevations; (b) by overlaying the street view onto a photograph it was possible to demonstrate the visual impact on the street scene and the neighbouring properties; and (c) it was used to help work out the design (geometry and appearance). It proved to be a cost effective tool with many applications.