repaired building.  There was then an interesting twist to the viability issue : - The appellant company is related to another company which owns adjoining buildings to the west.  These buildings, listed grade II*, had been recently refurbished as very substantial single family dwellings. 

The appellant admitted that they had acquired 2 Derby Street to gain control and ultimately remove uncertainty over its future, to prevent it blighting the other buildings.  This undermined the appellant's viability case, since if the reasons for acquisition were as they admitted, they may not be concerned about whether, on its own, refurbishment of the building was viable or not.  Furthermore, the appellant's suggested that, if the scheme for the roof extension was not allowed it would not refurbish the building, appeared rather hollow. 

Appeal Dismissed
The Inspector agreed with the Council on the contribution the existing roof made to the roofscape of the conservation area and also considered that the proposed design of the roof extension related awkwardly to the L-shaped plan form and would be detrimental. 

On considering the historic fabric the Inspector stated that if rebuilding had taken place then old timbers were used and it was most likely that the original roof
form had been maintained.  He considered that the roof was a significant part of the special architectural and historic interest of the building and that it complemented the interior.

He also took the view that it was inappropriate to include the cost of the building in the calculations-- accepted the City Council's calculations and concluded that the roof should be retained.

The Inspector finally considered that the prospect of the building remaining in poor condition was unlikely and that if it did the City Council could serve the notices to secure its future.  The appellant has now submitted applications for low-key refurbishment of the building, retaining all original features, including the roof.

Robert Ayton

Head of Design and Conservation (Central Area)
City of Westminster

Tel: 020 7641 2978