Neighbours are lobbying the council after builders started converting a home into bedsits in Golders Green without planning consent.

Work had already begun on an extension at the rear of the semi-detached house in Temple Gardens two weeks before Barnet Borough Council demanded a planning application was submitted.

To comply with planning laws, most first floor extensions need to have planning permission from the local authority. 

Richard Morawetz , who lives next door to the property, said: “We finally got consulted about the first floor development last week – but it’s ridiculous we’re being consulted about something that is already there.

“I think it’s clear that if the council lets this go ahead, it sets a precedent for other developers to do the same. I’m stunned this can happen and no one seems willing or able to stop it.”

So far 15 neighbours have signed a petition against the plans to extend the building which will be used as bedsits for a maximum of six people.

Dr Helen Fry, who has lived in the road for 15 years, said: “The owner has gone about this in a cowboy, gung-ho fashion and we desperately want something down about it.

“It’s not in proportion with the rest of the street and it’s already so big that it’s affecting light getting to neighbouring properties.”

Neighbours are also concerned about the effect it will have on house prices and parking in the area.

The applicant, Ozcan Hassan, told the Times Series he plans to apply for a house in multiple occupation (HMO) licence and submitted a planning application to the council as soon as he was made aware that this was necessary.

He said: “After the council told me, I submitted the plans – everybody can make a mistake. I have stopped the work on the first floor extension at the moment but will be working on the loft conversion which I don’t need permission for.”

Despite this, Mr Hassan said he believes he does not need planning permission because the extension is not within two metres of the neighbouring properties and is not higher than three metres – the qualities of a permitted development.

Dismissing the neighbours’ concerns, he added: “They can’t tell people what to do and where to live.”

Ward councillor Dean Cohen said he has been made aware of the situation and is liaising with council officers.

He said: “I can assure you it’s on the radar and I’ve brought it to the attention of officers and it will be dealt with as it should be. If the building is not lawful then enforcement action will be taken.”