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Fury over plan to bulldoze Greenwich house on road 'that's like portal to Narnia'

MyLondon 4 days ago Joe Coughlan

Londoners who say their area is so secret and magical it's like living in Narnia fear plans to replace a Georgian-style house with an “enormous” modern home will ruin the area.

The South London house on Meadowbank in Blackheath, Greenwich, was built in a neo-Georgian style dating back to the 1930s. The new home planned for the site will be three times bigger than the current house and include a larger kitchen, master bedroom with dressing room, and rear terrace.

Sheila Connell, who lives in Blackheath Park, said the plans involve “substantially demolishing” a beautiful house in the conservation area.

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A CGI plan for the back of a new house on Meadowbank, Blackheath © Suzanne Brewer architects/Greenwich Council A CGI plan for the back of a new house on Meadowbank, Blackheath

Speaking at a planning meeting for Greenwich Council on November 22, she said: “This area is approached from Blackheath Park, through a passageway that leads to a most picturesque and quiet location. Almost like a portal into the magical world of Narnia in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

A previous application for the site was approved in 2015, allowing an extension to the side and back of the house. Peter Hadley, a planning consultant representing the applicant, said the new side extension is a more “traditional design than previously approved”.

Rosemary Clements, representing the Blackheath Society, said she “strongly opposed” the application. She pointed out that the original house was planned by Charles Bernard Brown, who gave an “engaging, skilful touch” to the design. She stated that Mr Brown’s work has been regarded as “the most important surviving example of Georgian architecture in the country”.

Ms Clements added: “These proposals do not respect the host building, their bulk overwhelms the original building’s scale, and they impose an alien aesthetic. Charles Bernard Brown’s designs deserve better treatment than this.”

Mr Hadley said the previous plans - that said the original house would be demolished - were “probably a bit gung-ho”. He said the new plans would preserve the original house, and only direct neighbours would be able to see the planned changes.

Gladys Jones, who lives next door to the property, said no plans had been made to safeguard her house during the building. She said: “I’ve had no discussions whatsoever about this particular proposal with my neighbour. The first time I knew about it was when I saw a notice on the lamppost.”

Also included in the application are plans for a new basement in the house, including a gym, cinema, plant room and office. Ms Jones said the plans for the new basement were “frightening”, and was worried about how it would impact her house’s shallow foundations.

She said: “I have heard horror stories about issues with new basements, especially in this part of London with its subsidence problems. There are no basements in the nearby houses, allowing this would create a precedent.”

Mr Hadley said he appreciated Ms Jones’ concerns, with planning officer Luke Sapiano saying the extension would “not cause any concern” for loss of light on Ms Jones’ property.

At the end of the meeting, the committee approved the conversion of the house on the conditions that Ms Jones agrees to the works and that a report on the impact the new basement will have on the area will be sent to the council.

Have a story you want to share? Get in touch joseph.coughlan@reachplc.com.

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