TRENDS IN PLANNING APPLICATIONS IN THE LADBROKE CONSERVATION AREA 2016-2017

 

 

Total number of applications

The total number of planning applications in our area has gone down by a third over the last calendar year, from 214 in 2016 to 143 in 2017.  The number of planning applications granted has gone down somewhat less, declining by only 27% - so a higher proportion (77%) were granted in 2017 compared to  the previous year. 

 

 

 

Applications by type

Applications for basement projects in the Ladbroke area fell dramatically. There were 23 in 2016 and only 5 in 2017, a 78% decline.  We suspect that the current financial uncertainty and cooling of the London property market was the chief factor, with RBKC’s tougher policy on basements (which was introduced in April 2016) also playing a role. We have the impression also that quite a few owners who received planning permission earlier have put off starting on their basements because of the financial situation. The next few years may therefore see the start of a number of basement developments which gained permission earlier. Although all planning permissions expire after three years if the project is not started, we have noticed some cases where the ground is broken at the last moment so that it can be claimed that work began within the three year window.

 

The vast majority of planning applications are for minor modifications, e.g.  to doors or windows or shop-fronts (the “other” in the pie chart below). Extensions, however, remain an important category - adding a storey, moving into the roof space or building side or rear extensions. In contrast to basements, the number of these types of extension has declined only marginally, from 30 in 2016 to 27 in 2017. The financial uncertainty and the increase of stamp duty has significantly slowed the sale of houses in the area. No doubt as a result some people are seeking to extend their homes rather than upsize to a larger property.

 

One welcome development is the number of planning applications which include the re-instatement of period features.  In the last year these have more than doubled.    Owners of highly sought after  mid-19th century housing stock are electing  to restore original detail, including bottle balustrades, window mouldings, cornices and corbels, and replacing original wooden sash windows.  Usually this type of work is done in conjunction with major refurbishment work.

 

 

   Finally, it is worth mentioning the increasing reluctance of the council planners to allow living units to be amalgamated.   In the post-war period the housing stock throughout the Ladbroke Estate was often sub-divided into flats and, due to the scarcity of available building materials and funds, was allowed to deteriorate.  But as living standards rose in the 70s, amalgamation of flats and restoration of single family homes was encouraged. By many it was considered desirable as it returned houses to their original single family use.   However, central government currently puts pressure on councils to add considerably to their housing stock, sending the pendulum back in the direction of higher density.   In 2016, five applications to amalgamate were granted, while a further five were refused.  In 2017, only one application was granted; two were refused, and a further two withdrawn.  In addition to blocking amalgamations, planners are increasingly allowing developers to sub-divide existing properties, producing ever smaller units.   

 

Notes

The data represent all PP (Planning Permission) applications, CA (commercial), and LB (listed building) applications (provided they do not duplicate a PP application).  The data exclude applications designated CL (certificate of proposed development), ARB (arboreal), CON (compliance with conditions on previously granted applications), NMA (non-material amendments) and NOT (notifications).

 

When applications are withdrawn, this is usually because Council officers have told the applicant that the application is unlikely to be granted in its present form.