Frustration boils over ‘gym’ build in Fortune Green garden

A FORTUNE GREEN man has branded Camden’s planning policy “totally incompetent” after a neighbour was allowed to build a 3.5 metre structure housing a full kitchen and spanning half of the garden, despite applying for permission for a much smaller flat-roofed gym.

Although the structure overlooks a large part of University College London lecturer Michael Stewart’s family home and garden, new planning laws mean that it could actually be legal despite deviating substantially from the approved plans.

However the new rule doesn’t apply if the owner of the building, a Mr G Cherchian of Cricklewood Broadway, is using it as a multiple occupancy property by providing a number of homes in one house.

Mr Stewart alleges that there are already numerous separate residences at 11 Richborough Road, and that the property is connected with four separate water supplies. He fears the new ‘gym’ is to be transformed into yet another dwelling – which would contravene planning laws.

Since raising his initial concerns with the council, it has confirmed it is looking into who is living in the property.

Mr Stewart, who lives with his wife and two young children, said: “We are amazed that Camden Council feels this is an appropriate building. The roof was supposed to be a flat roof but the developer just added an extra roof with eves which brings the height up to what must be three and a half metres. It is huge and in my view hideous and must have a negative impact on the value of our house.

“With the boxed sky-lights at the back, which were not in the plans, the height is about 3.8 metres.

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“Inside there is a full kitchen with gas stove and the whole room is huge, easily big enough for a living space – and I can’t see why you need a full kitchen in your garden gym.”

Mr Stewart is also considering applying for an injunction on a separate set of building works Mr Cherchian is carrying out, including foundations dug beneath the party wall of the property.

A spokeswoman for Camden Council said: “We are aware of concerns regarding the building works being undertaken at 11 Richborough Road.

“We have written to the owner to request a visit and if necessary will take the appropriate action.”

Mr Cherchian was unavailable for comment.