The council had granted planning permission to convert the sitting room into a garage in 1969, when the couple who owned the house for forty years carried out most of their home improvements. I can't think why more people didn't follow their lead. In fact, if anyone is thinking of carrying out a similar modification to their own home I have the original plans here:
Unfortunately for us the fact that permission had been granted meant that we had to apply for permission to convert it back. It seemed to take ages to get all the bits together, but we finally sent our application in at the end of November 2006. To be fair to the council, they did seem to realise their earlier mistake, and the planning officer who came round to look at it was very kind. 'Well, it's a lovely area!' she exclaimed brightly. Luckily for us the neighbours next door have an enormous and not very architecturally distinguished extension at the back so she saw no problem with the glass box. We got planning permission for the whole caboodle at the end of January 2007, with the proviso that we paid for the parking space to be reinstated outside our house as we were removing a parking amenity from the street by demolishing the garage. I wanted to argue that nothing had been parked in it except a large family of spiders since about 1975 but I didn't want to push our luck. I had been wondering ( and having nightmares about) what we might do with the place if permission was refused. Delight the neighbours by opening an MOT centre perhaps. Or make a bit of money on the side by charging shoppers to to park there on a Saturday.
New Year 2014 in Phuket
4 years ago