Specialist urban planning consultancy, Hybrid Planning & Development has successfully gained Prior Approval from the London Borough of Barnet for a two-storey roof extension to include 34 new residential apartments on a mixed-use building in Colindale.

Completed in 2016, Mar House is an eight storey, mixed-use premises on Edgware Road comprising ground floor commercial units, 95 residential apartments and several live-work units. Working on behalf of the new owner and developer, Old House Group Limited, Hybrid used Part 20, Class AA of the GPDO to successfully secure a two-storey upwards extension.

“When our client acquired the site in July 2020, the building needed significant upgrade and refurbishment works, not least of which was the replacement of combustible cladding installed by the previous developer. Working closely with fire and façade engineers, we were able to gain planning permission for these essential works, but funding for the mounting costs was proving a concern,” explains Hybrid’s senior planner, Aaron Henecke.

“As such, we quickly devised and implemented a multi-stage planning strategy to secure additional residential units on the site using the new Class AA Prior Approval route, alongside a separate mezzanine application, which brought the total number of new apartments to 43, an increase of almost 50%. With this significant value added, our client is now able to forward-fund the cladding replacement and refurbishment works, plugging the gap in the limited public funds available and ensuring costs won’t trickle down to tenants,” added Aaron.

To ensure the new flats provide high quality living environments, Hybrid engaged specialist consultants in daylight and sunlight, noise, architecture and transport. Importantly, all new flats will meet the Nationally Described Space Standards and will benefit from ample natural light and ventilation, as well as policy-compliant levels of car parking and cycle storage. Designed by Ackroyd Lowrie, the two-storey extension will appear as a complementary and sympathetic continuation of the existing building, with matching fenestration and materials, as well as including rooftop PV panels and a green roof.

Aaron continues: “Given previous issues with the building and the complexities involved, we knew early and honest engagement with existing tenants and local stakeholders was critical to achieving a favourable outcome. Ultimately, proactive engagement with Barnet Council helped ensure a holistic approach and it is our belief this is one of the first and largest Part 20, Class AA approvals granted in London, so we are thrilled to have established this exciting precedent.”

Mar House was approved in June 2021 and work is scheduled to commence later this year.