Roof terraces are one of the most common developments in London, everyone wants to utilise their property to the maximum. Many properties with existing rear extensions have access to the roof, but the roof is considered "dead" and wasted space. It would seem common sense to utilise this space for use as an outdoor terrace.
Yet perhaps unsurprisingly, most councils do not allow access to these roofs, except for maintenance of the roof or for emergency access.
There are areas in London that have a lot of precedent, and roof terraces are a feature of the area. In this case, a roof terrace may be considered feasible as long as it meets all the following criteria:
The terrace does not overlook the neighbours - This can be avoided by erecting a high wall at the edge of the terrace, or a lower wall that is set in away from the edge.
The terrace walls do not block the daylight or sunlight of the neighbours - The walls of the terrace would be obscured or frosted glass, or a wooden trellis to prevent a loss of light to the neighbouring properties.
There is precedent in the area for roof terraces - If there is precedent it is important to establish if the other terraces or balconies have planning consent. If they don't, they might be considered 'lawful' if the terraces have been in use for over four years, however in this case - this cannot be used as a precedent. If there is no precedent for roof terraces, it is almost certain to be refused on the basis of character, as roof terraces are not an accepted feature of the area, and this may set a "negative" precedent for other properties.
The above guidance is general advice and may not be applicable for all cases. There are some councils that require a 1.7m fence or wall around the terrace, and some that require the terrace not to exceed 50% of the roof width, and / or 12 sqm. in total.
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