Above is a photo of a project in Merryfield Close, in Verwood.

Essentially the brief was to extend over the existing garage roof to create extra bedroom space upstairs. Fairly straightforward you’d think, right? Wrong. Kind of.

Architecturally, it was pretty straightforward, but the process of getting to where we are int he above photo has been long and arduous.

Several years ago, the client put in a planning application for a similar scheme that was refused by the planners. Why? Because on the adjoining piece of land there is an oak tree that partially overhangs onto the clients property. Not enough to need removing or even pruning to fit the extension in, but enough to worry the relevant people into turning down the planning application.

So, a couple of years on the council have cut said oak tree right back of their own volition, such that any concerns about the proposed extension must be void, so the client contacted yours truly about putting in another application, he also employed a tree specialist to report on the potential affect of the extension on said tree. “None” was the basic upshot.

Sadly, on the back of the council’s tree officer’s report the application was refused again.

This did trigger some strong language and gnashing of teeth. BUt once everyone had calmed down and realised the council were just doing their job, we took some advice from Gary Palmer from Avita Planning, who advised that we had a relatively strong case if we wanted to appeal the decision.

Which we did.

And we won.

After several very long months.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not having a go at the planners, they simply took the advice of a specialist in making their decision, and if we’re honest, if they’re going to err, it’s best they err on the side of caution, or things like the IMAX centre get built, but it’s good that we have a system in place where planning decisions can be appealed. Very good in fact.

On to the build itself, it’s being carried out by Dave Shiner of Dream Build Construction, and is coming along nicely.

Rather than using steel beams to carry the new walls above the garage, we opted to use timber frame. All methods of construction have their pros and cons, but the advantage of timber frame in this instance is that we didn’t need to do any work to strengthen the foundations, or start wielding heavy lumps of steel around in what is a fairly small space, plus it’s gone up very quickly, which is a bonus.

One thing that does normally concern me about extending properties, is that it can be devilishly hard to find an exact match for the brickwork, and this can lead to the extension standing out a mile when it’s finished, but all credit to Mr Shiner, he’s found a very close brick, and I believe that when it’s finished, unless you were looking for it, you’d be hard pressed to know that that wasn’t how the building was built in the first place, which is a really good thing. (In the photo above, where the scaffold stops is basically where the new brickwork meets the old, have a look, it’s pretty good!)

Anyway, more on this one to come…..