Developer who flouted planning rules must tear down unauthorised building

Published: Friday 17th February 17

A property developer who’s flouted building rules and constructed an “ugly” block of flats in Earlsfield that bears no resemblance to the planning permission he was given has been told he must tear the whole thing down.

The developer, who is not being named at this stage, was given permission in 2008 to build 12 flats on a plot of land in Garratt Lane.

This consent was based on detailed drawings submitted with his application. It allowed him to build nine one bedroom flats and three with two bedrooms.

However, what was eventually built was very different. 

Instead he has squeezed in eight two bedroom flats and four one bed flats by using the basement to provide two of these properties.

This would never have been permitted because this part of Garratt Lane is liable to flooding, and on two unfortunate occasions the tenants in these basement units have been hit by floods.

In addition these basement flats have little or no natural light and are not suitable for residential accommodation. Most of the flats are also too small and have sub-standard amenity space.

On top of this, the appearance of the completed building looks nothing like the approved drawings.

Windows have been removed or altered leaving vast expanses of bare brick. The materials used in the construction also did not comply with those that were approved.

As a result the council has taken enforcement action which requires him to undo all of the elements of his scheme that do not have permission – which will essentially require him to demolish the entire building and start again.

Planning chairman Cllr Sarah McDermott said: “This is a shocking case of a property developer who clearly thought he could get away with totally ignoring planning rules.

“The building really is an eyesore that does not meet any design standards. On top of that he has crammed in way too much residential space leaving tenants in cramped and sub-standard accommodation.

“Worst of all the basement flats are in a well-known flood plain and as a consequence people living there have twice been flooded out, losing valuable possessions and suffering quite avoidable pain and upset.

“It is difficult to recall a more outrageous flouting of the planning laws and for doing so I’m afraid he must remove what is there and replace it with a new building that conforms to design standards and provides the people living there with proper facilities and appropriate living space.”

The enforcement notice requires all the necessary remedial works to be completed before October.

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Recent comments

The flyer received this week by residents locally about the "Garratt Lane and Atheldene Road Regeneration" (to be "developed" by Higgins) is very similar in style.What on earth is WBC doing to the area? Ugly. There could be a very rocky road for this when it reaches planning.I would hate to be living in Atheldene or Farlton Roads.
Celia Blair

8 March 2017

I should think the developer will be paying the retrospective planning fee and it will get passed O.K. by the council and not torn down as the dramatic headline reads. Think of the Council Tax and Parking Permit fees the council will be missing out on.
sarah long

3 March 2017

Major changes to plans presented for public comment are very common, and WBC usually happily 'nods through' such amendments to what was granted permission - it's called Planning Creep. The only difference here (and what has annoyed the Planning Dept) is that he didn't bother to ask and pay the right fees. Anyway, in terms of inappropriate visual impact and effect on local lives, it's nothing compared to the Croydon-like changes to central Wandsworth's character from the Ram development. Dwarfing the church, nearby row of 18th century houses and everything else, look forward to the 400 ft slab-tower (the council wanted a 470ft one) - seven times the council's own maximum height limit for this Conservation Area!
Osmund Bullock

2 March 2017

It's no worse than the ugly school opposite, do they need to pull that down too.
Patricia Hayes

21 February 2017

Well done to the Council for enforcing this. But this is a huge waste of raw materials that won't be able to be recycled. Why didn't the Council inspect the site during the building works so that the building works could be stopped before the full building was completed?!?

20 February 2017

Where were the Building Control staff/inspectors during the time this was being built? Do they not communicate with the planners? "Inspections and building regulations.We will also carry out inspections to ensure that suitable materials are used and that work covered by the Building Regulations is to a reasonable standard. If necessary we will make use of other professional expertise and testing procedures." That's what it says on the WBC website.
Celia Blair

20 February 2017

Arrogance and Greeeedy landlord. Serves them right. Well done Wandsworth Council

19 February 2017

Thank you for this good decision. Now can we do something about floreat, which is such an ugly building (and looks like the flats that have just been condemned); and the mister resistor eyesore which flouted building refs and the plans and can be seen from miles around. Thank you

19 February 2017

Permission in 2008 and its now 2017 - seriously how did it even get to 2017 before the order was made? Where was the review of the property at the time it was completed? Sounds like an example of council inefficiency rather than proactive enforcement. I feel sorry for the tenants let down by the council (who presumably happily received their council tax...)

19 February 2017

Clearly good work by the Council to tackle a developers who do not comply with planning regulations particularly in relation to the basement. However, it does look almost identical to the awful bland architecture of the school directly opposite ("ugly" as the writer of this article says). What is being done to improve this eyesore? Can't have one rule for a public sector developer and one for a private developer who has copied nearby architecture and thereby arguably is keeping with the character of the area.
M Brown

18 February 2017

Sheer greed by yet another "Get rich quick merchant" The judgement for the deceit and fraudulent application should be at least two years confined to one of his basement flats, have a taste of what you were about to serve up.
John J

18 February 2017

Well done
Adrian Grist

17 February 2017

Well it’s refreshing to see the council actually enforcing planning permissions for once. Some consistency here might ensure this happens a lot less. A property developer recently built a roof extension on Barmouth Road that was much bigger and far more imposing than on the approved plans. I complained as it blocks the sunlight to my home but the council did absolutely nothing about it. When you will let greedy developers get away with this sort of thing you are only encouraging these chancers.

17 February 2017

Flouting planning application/agreement? Where were the planning officers when the building was being built? Who gave the final approval? Yet another wastage of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) if ever one was imposed. I expect, the developers will appeal and eventual the council will allow the building to stand, even with or without the basement flats. Thank you Council.
Evan Zaranis

17 February 2017

2 basement flats in Earlsfield Road that did not have planning permission have been let several times in the past 10 years with no action from WBC. The developers know full well that this is so but that the planners will do very little. Waiting until there is contravention would not seem to be a sound way of managing planning and development in the area. People are desperate for homes but not at any cost. Surely the planners need to keep a closer watch earlier.
Celia Blair

17 February 2017

They look very similar to the building opposite which presumably did receive planning consent.

17 February 2017