Planning

Objections to Planning Applications

Information on Planning and Design in the QPARA area

The QPARA area includes two Conservation Areas in which planning permission is required for a range of alterations to buildings. The aim of the Conservation Areas is to help preserve and enhance the character of the areas. So if you wondered why the surroundings are so attractive, that’s partly why! There are now only 17 Conservation Areas in Brent as a whole – there were more, but Brent’s failure to protect them through the planning system led to a number no longer qualifying for protection. We all have a responsibility to respect the architectural merits of the area and not seek to carry out insensitive development – after all, that is why most of us chose to live here.

The Queen’s Park Conservation Area (QPCA) dates from July 1986 and now covers the whole area from west of Salusbury Road all the way to Chamberlayne Road, including Harvist Road in the south and Chevening Road in the north.

Brent produced an interesting “Character Appraisal” of Queen’s Park in 2006 full of architectural details and photos. Well worth reading.

What’s called an Article 4 Direction (made under the Town and Country Planning legislation) applies to the QPCA. Read a full list of the properties affected

This means that planning permission is needed to do any of the following to your property
• Most extensions, including porches and basements
• Alterations to windows on the street frontage
• Alterations to entrance doors
• Rendering and painting brickwork
• Changing roofing materials including the colour
• Installation of dormer windows, rooflights and alterations to chimneys
• Erection or removal of front boundary walls, gates, fences, etc
• New highway access (crossovers – see Brent’s Policy document)
• Hardstandings
• Erecting a building in your back garden

Also, satellite dishes cannot be fixed to the front of houses and should not be visible above the ridge of the roof. The installers always want to take the easiest option, but there’s always a signal at the back too. Read an account of one members satellite dish installation “Cowboys on the roof”. Many of these digital services are now delivered via fibre-optic cable laid under the road which avoids the dish problem altogether.
Take a stroll down nearby Fernhead Road and surrounding streets to see what a forest of satellite dishes looks like

Fernhead Road satellite dishes

Planning Permission is not needed for
• Painting entrance doors, window frames and sills
• Painting existing rendered surfaces with British Standard white or off-white
• Erecting single-storey rear extensions less than 50 cubic meters (provided there are no other extensions)

The other Conservation Area is in Kilburn (KCA) designated in 1993 which covers 2-116 and 25-107 Brondesbury Road, 1-109 and 2-146 Brondesbury Villas, 1-36 Honiton Road and 1-38 Lynton Road. There’s also a Character Appraisal of this conservation area.

In the KCA Planning Permission is needed for
• Alterations to the front of a house
• The erection, alteration or removal of a chimney
• Alteration to a front roof slope including the colour of the roof
• Alterations to entrance doors
• Any new building at the front
• A satellite dish at the front or visible above the ridge of the roof
• Erection or removal of front boundary walls, gates, fences, etc
• New highway access (crossovers – see Brent’s Policy document)
• Hardstandings at the front
• Rendering and painting brickwork at the front
• Erecting a building in your back garden

If you are planning any work it’s best to contact the Brent Planning Service tel. 0208 937 5230/5265 who will advise whether permission is needed.
Read more about Conservation Areas on Brent’s website

HARDSTANDINGS can look awful – if the whole front garden is paved over and the boundary wall or fence removed for car parking. Unfortunately some householders have done this without planning permission and it affects the look of the street. Paving over soil also increases the risk of flooding, prevents water from reaching street trees and can cause subsidence to buildings.

Paved over front garden

And another one

Planning permission is needed to pave over part or all of your front garden unless it was already paved over. It’s recommended to use porous materials such as cellular paving, “grass grid” or porous block paving. If a traditional non-porous surface is laid there needs to be soft landscaping or a soakaway to enable water to drain away. Front gardens are also useful habitat for birds and insects so think of planting shrubs rather than paving over if possible. Aerial photos show that the 12 square miles of front gardens are now paved over in London – equivalent to 22 Hyde Parks! So let’s not make things any worse.

Partly paved front garden

Parking and planting in a front garden

Planted front garden

We do acknowledge that we all need somewhere to put our three large wheelie bins though. To see how to get a smaller bin go to recycling

CROSSOVERS
Read Brent’s Policy and Guidance Notes
See also Paving Front Gardens – Environment Agency Advice.

TREES are protected in both Conservation Areas. Permission is needed to prune a tree as well as to fell it. It is sometimes a condition of felling a tree that a replacement should be planted. Garden trees are often as significant as street trees and we encourage you to keep them. Prune if necessary but fell them only as a last resort.
Brent’s very helpful Tree Officer is Lawrence Usherwood Tel 0208 937 5247. Lawrence came to one of our meetings and explained his role.
The only exceptions are trees with a trunk not exceeding 75mm or 3inches in diameter and fruit trees.

DESIGN GUIDE
Brent produced a Design Guide for the Queen’s Park Conservation Area in the early 1990s. For about the last ten years QPARA have been urging Brent to produce a revised edition of this very useful document, but no progress has been made. See a scanned copy of Good Practice Guidelines from Design Guide

BASEMENTS
The construction of basements is highly disruptive to neighbours while the work is going on and may have longer term bad effects to next door properties. It has been discussed at many QPARA meetings and QPARA have opposed applications for basements in the area. Front light wells have been opposed on the grounds that they fail to “protect or enhance” the Conservation Area, and this argument has been successful on one occasion.

A Consulting Civil Engineer attended a QPARA meeting and gave a useful presentation. Read Basements -excerpt from the minutes of the meeting of October 2011. To make your views known, join as a member and come to the monthly meetings

QPARA planning group:
Richard Johnson (east side of the park)
Sue Arnold and Richard Brindley (both west side).