Residents’ group objects to Lisa Armstrong’s plans to build in her back garden

A group of residents have raised objections to the celebrity makeup-artist Lisa Armstrong’s plans to build several structures in the garden of her recently acquired riverside home.

The No Garden Grab group, which successfully opposed a residential development in another riverside garden at 17 Hartington Road, is now aiming to prevent this project on similar grounds.

Lisa, who is the ex-wife of celebrity TV presenter Ant McPartlin, has submitted four planning applications to LB Hounslow in order to build structures in her 226ft long garden. She is seeking permission for a gazebo, pergola, swimming pool and pool pump room.

The pergola would be at the immediate rear of the house with a 30sqm metre pool in the middle of the garden. Further down would be a 44.4 Sqm gym and a timber summerhouse with a deck right next to the river, which could be up to four metres high.

The No Garden Group says the structures, some of which have already been erected and for which retrospective planning permission has been sought, should not be built on a ‘functional flood plain’.

Lisa has recently bought the house after her widely publicised divorce from McPartlin in which it was reported Lisa received a £31million settlement. She has employed a designer friend to create a ‘dream home’ to live in with her new partner, having bought the property in September 2020, for £3,725,000.

The No Garden Grab group said there had been no notice posted outside of the property since the submission of the applications and residents were unaware of any consultation regarding the proposals. The group said they had discovered the plans had been submitted ‘by accident’.

Image above: highlighted in red are the proposed structures submitted in Lisa Armstrong’s combined planning applications (taken from Hounslow.gov), a birds-eye view of the property (taken via Google Maps)

Planning committee recently unanimously rejected riverside luxury homes development

LB Hounslow has a policy of no buildings in back gardens, as part of its environmental policy to retain as much green space as possible. It also tries to avoid building in functional floodplain.

A Hounslow Council planning committee rejected a proposal to develop housing behind 17 Hartington Road on 6 January 2022.

Councillors voted unanimously to reject the construction of four houses in the garden of a Victorian house in Hartington Rd, a decision which was made despite borough planners recommending the scheme’s approval.

The No Garden Grab group had gathered more than 500 signatures for a petition started in objection to the plans. Some argued the proposed development garden was a prominent wildlife habitat, home to protected species including bats, nesting geese and owls. Others argued about the importance of a natural defence against surface flooding when the river overflows.

Developers told The Chiswick Calendar a mistake had been made by the Environment Agency in designating the site a ‘functional floodplain’. The Environment Agency changed their advice when the developer made them aware of existing flood defences – a river wall.

Residents groups and environmentalists argued the proposed new houses would require a complex, expensive, high maintenance underground drainage scheme consisting of tanks and electric pumps to mimic what trees and soil does already.

Image above: developments were proposed for this site at 17 Hartington Road and were rejected unanimously by councillors

‘All development is prohibited on 3b Flood Zones’

Speaking about Lisa Armstrong’s planning applications, The No Garden Grab group said:

“The back garden, like others along this stretch of Hartington Road, falls in Flood Zone 3b – functional floodplain which is designed to act as a safe storage area for floodwater in the event of a tidal breach of the flood defences. That is why all development is prohibited.

“A proposal in 2020 to construct a 2-storey pool house at a neighbouring property was rejected for being unacceptable development in Flood Zone 3b. This proposal for a large gym, pool pump room and summerhouse should be refused for the same reason.

“The back gardens in this area are also at high risk of surface water flooding as shown in the mapping of Hounslow’s latest Surface Water Management Plan (November 2021). Increasing the impermeable area through construction means excess rainwater cannot drain away safely.

“It is vital that there is greater awareness of these very real flooding issues amongst homeowners and that Hounslow Council is consistent and transparent in applying existing planning policy to avoid increasing the risk of flooding in this vulnerable area.”

The application references are P/2021/4940; P/2021/4941; P/2021/4942; P/2021/4943.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Riverside residents campaign to prevent luxury houses being built on the ‘functional floodplain’

See also: Lisa Armstrong shows off her new home

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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