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Designers of glass penthouse ‘beacon’ in Highgate re-think plans after community outcry

Cromwell Ave residents Linda Charlaff (secretary of CARA), Cllr Bob Hare, Louise Arnott, Sharon Lytton and Jackie Wastell protest the proposed penthouse development at 9 Winchester Road (behind them) as it will overlook their houses and gardens. Picture: Polly Hancock Cromwell Ave residents Linda Charlaff (secretary of CARA), Cllr Bob Hare, Louise Arnott, Sharon Lytton and Jackie Wastell protest the proposed penthouse development at 9 Winchester Road (behind them) as it will overlook their houses and gardens. Picture: Polly Hancock

Wednesday, August 27, 2014
1:18 PM

Architects have been forced to change designs for a glass box on the roof of a luxurious penthouse-style flat after opponents warned it would shine “like a beacon” over Highgate.

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A small but fierce group of campaigners rallied to fight the bid for a rooftop extension in a converted Victorian mid-terrace house in Winchester Road.

They claimed that the plans would drive “a coach and horses” through Highgate Conservation Area and set a dangerous precedent for out-of-character rooftop “boxes” in a street of period properties.

Architects went back to the drawing board to redesign the extension last week but residents remain obstinately opposed to the plans.

Precedent

Gardener Sharon Lytton, who has lived in neighbouring Cromwell Avenue for more than 20 years, said: “The overlooking would be extreme. People will almost be looking eyeball to eyeball.

“It would set an enormous precedent that would be extremely damaging to the conservation area. The whole concept is totally unsuited to the area.”

Owner Mark Puddle lodged plans with Haringey Council last month to build an all-glass penthouse extension with two living rooms and bi-folding doors opening out onto an open roof terrace, creating an indoor and outdoor entertainment area.

He also proposes to combine a first-floor flat with a second-floor apartment to make a three-storey home.

Neighbouring residents complained that sounds travel further from a height and said noise from the glass extension would be heard in back gardens along the entire street.

New drawings reveal that the box’s side walls will now be made of brick, but the roof and back wall are still glass.

The Highgate Society, Highgate Conservation Area Advisory Committee and Cromwell Avenue Residents Association have backed objections from neighbours, who hold a number of concerns about the proposals.

Pollution

Among chief complaints are the height and bulk of the glass box, light pollution at night, and that surrounding homes will be directly overlooked.

Lipton Plant Architects, who designed the plans, argue that the roof extension would be set back at the rear of the house and would be hardly visible from back gardens along the terrace.

Highgate councillor Bob Hare said: “It’s an issue of principle. I don’t normally get involved in planning applications but there has been a lot of concern about this particular one and it’s taken the situation out of the ordinary.”

Lipton Plant Architects had not commented as the Ham&High went to press.

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