Loft Conversion

78 Heathwood Gardens, London SE7


Render of proposed loft conversion to 78 Heathwood Gardens - Greenwich London.



The proposal is for a loft conversion to the rear of the main house and on top of the outrigger roof. The house is part of a Victorian terrace where the houses along the street have predominantly had similar loft conversions as are proposed here. The clients require a loft conversion to accommodate a growing family who wish to stay put and a study is required for the clients to work from home. The house has been modernised on the back with a largely glass rear extension and window slot skylight.


The proposed two dormers have a gross volume of 39m3 when the outrigger dormer and the main house dormer are combined. This is acceptable under Permitted Development guidelines and policy for Greenwich. The dormer on the outrigger is set into a raised roof and chimney to create minimum impact on the exterior and create an effect of the dormer being inset into the roof – without creating a sense of over bearing that not raising the roof would create. The neighbours are in agreement with the proposal and are happy for the shared chimney and party wall to be raised. This dormer has two windows – one is a round open-able window and the other a cantilevered box window, which will facilitate extra desk space in the study. The dormer in the main roof has a large single glass panel that slides into the wall and its opening is protected by a glass balustrade to form a Juliette balcony. The main dormer helps to form a master bedroom that shall have a shower room. The ceiling height in both rooms shall be an allowable height of 2.3m but no more – in order to minimise impact. The height of the dormer on the main house is the same height as the dormer that has been built next door and two doors along. In the dormer roof there shall be a slot skylight that runs along the length of the stairs and skylight above the bedroom and shower room. There is also another skylight proposed that is located towards the front of the roof facing the street set above the bed in the main room.


The loft is accessed by a new stairway that leads up to a landing from which the study is accessed. From this landing there are two treads that lead to the bedroom door to the master bedroom. This change in level is required in order for the existing ceiling of the outrigger first floor to be maintained and used as the new floor – thereby reducing the height of the outrigger dormer. The proposal also includes three skylights, including a strip light above the new staircase and one in the master bedroom and one above the shower room.


Both dormers are to be clad in zinc, including the box window for the study on the outrigger. These are similar in appearance to the lead on the roof below. Permitted development policy cites that materials should be “similar” to what exists, please note - this is not the same as “matching”. Also, a planning inspector commented on a recent appeal case (in red letters attached below) that “similar” is acceptable. In this appeal decision (attached below on paragraphs 6-8), the inspector concludes that cladding a dormer in zinc would meet the terms of the 2008 order (even though the house roof was tiled) on the basis that the existing dwelling house makes use of lead.

The round window and sliding glass panel are to be aluminium framed. The skylights are to be low-level Velux windows set above the master bedroom and shower. The strip skylight above the stairs shall be a raised upstanding construction due to the length of the glass. The raised roof shall be constructed with retained slates – as will the chimney be built of retained bricks and chimney pots.


The proposal is of a volume that is less than the limit required for Permitted Development. It is designed in such a way to mirror the modern extension of large glass openings on the ground floor and is modern in character to be in keeping. The proposed dormers will offer the clients a chance to stay in the community and enjoy the house they have lived in for many years. The street has numerous examples of similar loft conversions, many of which have been clad in materials that do not match the existing roof material (please refer to local precedent study and location plan). In conclusion this is a modern interpretation of a loft conversion that offers a positive addition to an adapted house in a way that is in keeping and has a reduced impact on the outrigger due to the adjusted context of the raised roof and chimney.