Search

Camden Council under fire as BBC presenter wins loft conversion row

PUBLISHED: 18:31 19 January 2012

BBC presenter Zeinab Badawi will not have to demolish the loft extension to to her Belsize Park home. Picture: Fiona Hanson, PA Archive/Press Association Images

BBC presenter Zeinab Badawi will not have to demolish the loft extension to to her Belsize Park home. Picture: Fiona Hanson, PA Archive/Press Association Images

PA Archive/Press Association Images

A senior BBC news presenter has been spared the distress of having to knock down her extension by Camden councillors.

Officers were sharply rebuked for “failing a resident” after it emerged that Zeinab Badawi, a BBC World newsreader, had sought the council’s advice before building the disputed loft conversion on her Belsize Park home.

Ms Badawi contacted Camden Council in October 2010 and told a duty planning officer of her plans to build the extension to her million pound home, off Haverstock Hill, in the Belsize Park Conservation Area.

Yet despite inspecting the property several times, it was not until May that she was eventually told the extension breached planning rules.

Speaking of the great “anxiety” the saga had inflicted on her and her four children, Ms Badawi told the council: “I feel very much that I come before you as a victim of a lack of communication, cooperation and coordination on the part of officers.

“I had recently separated from the father of my four children. They are now at a very critical time doing their exams. The child that lives in the room I just built is taking her GCSEs and living with some anxiety.

“Camden Council had ample opportunity to bring to my attention that this violated their regulations.

“I was not told for four-and-a-half months and tens of thousands of pounds later.”

Planning officers had recommended that the council turn down the newsreader’s bid to obtain retrospective planning permission for the extension because it flouted conservation area planning guidance.

They also insisted that the information she had been given from the council’s duty planning office was informal and not binding.

But councillors took the unusual step of voting against the recommendations as they felt the newsreader was let down by the council.

In their ruling, councillors said the fact that the disputed extension overlooked a car park was a material consideration.

Hampstead Cllr Chris Knight, who defended the presenter, said: “It is about time the council started acting as one body.”

Speaking after the meeting, Ms Badawi said: “I’m obviously very pleased because it has meant a great deal of anxiety for the family and for me.”

A Camden Council spokeswoman said: “The assistant director of regeneration and planning apologised to the applicant for the delay in informing her that her roof extension was unauthorised and was considered by officers to be unacceptable.

“The council does not consider that it has been negligent or that it has any legal liability.”

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 23:41

I live in the north west of London in the United Kingdom. Like the rest of the country, I have been looking on in bewilderment at the Brexit deal while politicians on both sides of the house vie for political supremacy. Divisions in government make for good news headlines but do nothing for the public’s confidence in its institutions.

Yesterday, 16:24

Normally we celebrate one business of the week – but today we’ve got three!

Yesterday, 15:17

A Routemaster bus will take 72 passengers on a journey through Greek Cypriot history, via Camden and Holloway, on Sunday.

Yesterday, 12:12

The latest twist in the saga of a Hampstead landlord who refuses to pay a controversial levy saw him bring a top barrister to his court hearing.

Yesterday, 09:48

Opponents of the 100 Avenue Road development suffered a major blow last night as Camden voted through a controversial plan that will funnel seven lorries a day through residential streets in Swiss Cottage.

Thu, 17:35

The families left homeless by the fire that destroyed the upper floors of Willow House in East Finchley last week said Barnet Council treated them “like ants to be squashed” in the immediate aftermath of the fire.

Thu, 12:44

The Temple Fortune community was celebrating on Tuesday after Barnet’s Finchley and Golders Green planning committee unanimously rejected plans to build housing on the old Templars Tennis Club.

Thu, 12:10

Tens of thousands of pounds, weapons and drugs were seized after searching a garage in the Peckwater Estate on Tuesday morning.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now