Permission for Rooftop Terrace in Bloomsbury

We have received planning permission for a new rooftop terrace in the heart of the Bloomsbury Conservation Area.

The site is a terraced, non-listed building with a flat-roof closet wing to the rear. While carrying significant potential for overlooking, we were able to carefully convince the local planning authority that our design – a timber terrace atop the flat roof at rear – minimised overlooking while providing important outdoor space for a maisonette with no garden or balconies.

Access is provided through a staircase enclosed in the style of a dormer window, arising from a traditional butterfly roof. A set-back from the parapet is provided by permanent timber-cladded planters. The terrace space itself appears as a wrapped timber ‘boat’ set within materials of wholly traditional construction, to meet the client’s brief for a modern and natural space while externally maintaining the important appearance of the Bloomsbury Conservation Area.

Unusually, we rejected the informal pre-application advice proffered by the planning officers to apply for a terrace atop the butterfly roof at the front, and instead favoured building at the rear where we thought overlooking and heritage impact would be further minimised. We cited a number of terraces already extant in the area which had followed this methodology over the past twenty years. This approach was then favoured by the planners and subsequently approved with minimal delay, proving the value of local knowledge and experience in designing within a specific conservation area.

The view from the flat roof at rear
A currently underutilised and poorly maintained space is set to become a much-needed garden in what is an increasingly developed area
The terrace is situated at the rear, with access provided through a pitched, lead-roofed stair tower.
From within the terrace the appearance is that of a natural, garden space, while the traditional appearance of the conservation area is maintained from neighbouring properties, many of which are listed.