Plans to cash in on building in the back garden of one of Thornton Heath’s oldest houses has been opposed by residents.

The planning application to build at the rear of Berwick Lodge, at 31 St Paul’s Road has received 12 objections. 

Ward councillor Karen Jewitt also opposed the proposals submitted by Mohamed Bharwani, of Castlemaine Avenue, South Croydon.

Mr Bharwani, who is a pharmacist by occupation and is the director of a number of property management companies has applied for permission to build two, two-storey semi detached houses on ‘vacant land’ at the rear of the house which is in fact the garden.

The application includes provision for off street parking and cycle storage.

Not all neighbours affected by the proposed development were contacted by the council and the application wasn’t advertised in the immediate vicinity. It was only when it was circulated on social media that residents were consulted.

The garden overlooks a number of other gardens and properties on Manchester Road, St Paul’s Road and Luna Road (pictured).

St Paul’s is designated as a Local Area of special Character because of the architecture and date of the properties. Berwick Lodge was built in the 1860s and is the birthplace of Dora, Countess Russell wife of eminent philosopher Bertrand Russell. who campaigned for birth control and was a founding member of the National Council for Civil Liberties. She spent her early childhood years at Berwick Lodge which is on the corner of Luna Road and St Paul’s Square.

Today, the Victorian property is a HMO (House of Multiple Occupancy) having been converted in to five apartments with three one bedrooms, a two bedroom and studio flat.

There are a number of multi occupancy houses in the area and local residents say there is not the capacity or infrastructure for more. 

There was a previous application in 2008 by a former owner of Berwick Lodge to create two bedroom detached bungalows in the garden but this was refused by the council due: “to the poor standard of accommodation afforded to future occupiers by the proposal and in particular the lack of amenity space and the negative impact upon the amenity space for the occupiers of the existing property.”

It also criticised the “cramped layout on the site, poor vehicular access and the officer said it was out of character appearance with the St Paul’s Road Local Area of Special Character.”

A resident on Manchester Road who objected to the proposed development said it would be detrimental to the area and have a ‘negative impact’ on neighbouring properties. 

A number of older trees which neighbours currently enjoy would
 be removed. 

The objector said: “…. the wider area is already overcrowded more development will only add to the problems we are currently experiencing…..problems with parking, overflowing bins and fly tipping. ”

Pre application advice was provided by a council officer and according to the application he had been in support of the proposal. The architecture firm Kirsten Associates, representing the applicant wrote: “Please note that the applicant is very flexible and is open to guidance and suggestions which will help to enhance the proposals and guarantee approval by the Planning Authority.”

A decision is due later this month.