London's biggest-ever joint extension project to go ahead:Ladbroke Grove residents win historic planning victory - against council wishes

Determined residents in a west London street have pulled together to win permission to add an extra storey to their Ladbroke Grove homes - against the wishes of Kensington & Chelsea council.

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Eighteen residents have made possible “don’t move improve” history in Ladbroke Grove, clubbing together to extend their homes en masse after a government planning inspector backed their proposals.

In what is believed to be the largest such collective venture in the UK, the Ruston Mews householders have won permission to add an extra storey to their properties, against the wishes of Kensington & Chelsea council.

The residents of houses along the north side of the mews — where three-bedroom homes sell for up to £1.5 million — drew up their plans last year. Council planners twice blocked the scheme, claiming enlarging the homes would spoil their character and ruin the look of the street.

However, it was announced today that an appeal lodged last autumn has been upheld after a planning inquiry.Work can now go ahead. 

“We are absolutely thrilled,” said Bafta award-winning film-maker Ian Knox, 62, who, with wife Sarah, 42, has lived at the mews 12 years. “When we first moved here it was just us two. Now we have two lovely girls and only two bedrooms. We are bursting out of the place.”

The family want to stay in the area but believe that buying a larger home close by would cost an extra £500,000. Extending each Ruston Mews house by about 300sq ft will cost the families an estimated £80,000 to £100,000 apiece.

Mr Knox said that the plan took shape when several neighbours began complaining about their lack of space, and gradually a group was formed. Each owner contributed £2,000 to get plans drawn up to add an extra floor to their post-war terrace house. This money also paid for a planning consultant, two planning applications and the appeal.

<“It was a very cost-effective way of doing things,” said Mr Knox.

The families will now have to draw up a contract agreeing to co-finance the build, which Mr Knox hopes will begin later this year. 

Of course nothing runs smoothly. People living opposite the terrace have objected to the noise and disruption that the work will cause, a position Mr Knox says he “perfectly understands”. He hopes that doing the extensions in one go, rather than piecemeal, will help minimise the upheaval of a major build.

A combination of high prices to move up the property ladder plus stiff moving costs is inspiring a record number of Londoners to extend the homes they have rather than move to a new one. 

According to a recent study by Nationwide, adding an extra floor to a property, or converting the loft, can increase its value by more than 20 per cent.

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