A developer’s plan to build an extra floor on top of existing flats using new planning rights has been turned down.

The proposed scheme, which would have seen 48 flats added to blocks at Chandos Way and Britten Close, in Hampstead Garden Suburb, was rejected by a majority of councillors at meeting of the strategic planning committee on Tuesday (December 1).

It had been applied for under permitted development rights, which were expanded by the Government this year to allow automatic permission for up to two extra storeys to be built on top of existing flats, providing certain conditions are met.

Planning chiefs at Barnet Council had deemed the development acceptable and recommended it for approval. But due to the “level of public interest” in the scheme and the history of the site – which had previously seen similar applications turned down – it was referred to the planning committee.

The council received 265 objections to the scheme, including one from MP for Finchley and Golders Green Mike Freer, and none in support.

Nick Jenkins, of Smith Jenkins planning consultants, spoke against the plans on behalf of more than 140 leaseholders opposed to the application.

Mr Jenkins said: “The design will unbalance the carefully planned outer state. The glazed lift shaft add-ons would look incongruous, as would the extended staircase towers.

“The impact upon residential amenity would be massive – quite simply building over existing homes. Over 200 skylights will be blocked up. This cannot be right.”

Mr Jenkins also claimed the scheme would cause “parking stress”. Only 16 new parking spaces were included in the plans.

Cllr John Marshall (Conservative, Garden Suburb) claimed the development would have a detrimental impact on a conservation area and criticised the “inadequate” parking and the plan to build over the skylights.

But the applicant defended the plans and claimed the scheme met all the conditions needed to win approval.

He said it was a “carefully planned and referenced design” that would “work with the existing buildings, not only in the material choice but also in massing, details and uniformity”.

The applicant also pointed out that a planning inspector had judged a previous application “would not result in unacceptable harm to the living conditions of the occupants of the existing flats”.

The plans included “sun tunnels” designed to allow light through the building and make up for the lost skylights.

When planning officers went through a list of conditions that the development needed to satisfy in order to gain approval, councillors raised several objections.

Committee chairman Cllr Shimon Ryde (Conservative, Childs Hill) criticised the appearance of the planned development, claiming it was “unbalanced”. Cllr Julian Teare (Conservative, High Barnet) called it “incongruous” and claimed the parking and traffic ramifications had not been thought through.

Following the discussion, councillors rejected the proposed scheme on four grounds. They said the position of the balconies did not meet one of the conditions of the new planning legislation, the scheme would unbalance the building’s appearance, increase on-street parking stress, and the lift shafts would have an impact on the amenity of existing and neighbouring residents.