BBC presenter fights Camden Council over Belsize Park home extension

One of the BBC’s most senior presenters could be forced to pull down a roof extension to her Belsize Park home.

Camden Council is set to order Zeinab Badawi to knock down a bedroom and en-suite extension at her million-pound Edwardian house, off Haverstock Hill, when its planning committee meets tonight (Thursday, January 12) at the Town Hall.

Planning officials claim she did not have permission to build the extension in the Belsize Conservation Area in July last year.

In planning documents Iceni Projects town planning consultancy, which is representing the BBC World News presenter, said the 52-year-old had suffered “increasing stress” after the council started threatening action unless the extension was removed.

Nick Cooper, of Iceni Projects, said the broadcaster had previously sought advice from the council, but was told planning permission was unnecessary.

He said: “[She] was informed that an application would not be necessary, as the work could be carried out under permitted development and it was not in a conservation area.

“In recent discussions, council officers have not disputed this.”

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He added that one of the news reader’s children lived in the room and it was “central to the continuance of family life at the property”.

The council said it had no record of giving this advice to Ms Badawi.

Planning officials are recommending that the council refuse retrospective planning permission and order Ms Badawi to pull down the roof extension, saying it is out of keeping with the rest of the area.

Planning documents say: “The dormer extension, by virtue of its size and siting, creates an unacceptable obtrusive and incongruous form of development.”

The council received five letters of support for Ms Badawi and one letter of objection, which complained of a loss of privacy, sunshine and that the extension was out of keeping with the other Edwardian buildings in the area.

Mr Cooper added: “The disruption caused by having to remove the extension would clearly impact severely on the applicant and her family.”

The council’s planning committee will make a decision this evening (Thursday, January 12).