Barnet architects | Residential architect projects

At GOAStudio London residential architecture we have extensive experience with working with the Barnet planning department and we are familiar with all the relevant planning policies that might apply for your home project. Please see below links to some of our Barnet residential architect projects.

Your personal requirements, the setting of the property, and the immediate context of the property are some of the factors that will determine what home alterations the Camden planners will be prepared to allow. We will advise you about what is reasonable to expect to get approval for, what might be tricky but still possible to get approval for, and what most likely the planners will say no to.

According to the Barnet Council residential design guidance these are some of the key considerations that will determine the outcome of your planning application. Below we have copied and highlighted extracts of the most relevant current policy and advice for your home project.


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Architect designed rear house extension Finchley Central Barnet N3 Construction stage 200x200 Barnet residential architect projects

Summary planning and design guide | Barnet residential architect advice


Barnet is an attractive borough which is largely suburban in character and contains a variety of density levels, buildings and townscape typologies which reflect its historical development. Its suburban character is mainly made up from a mix of detached, semidetached and terraced housing and contains many good examples of historic residential developments for example in Hampstead Garden Suburb, Totteridge, Cricklewood Railway Terraces and Monken Hadley.

Design has a strong role to play in the planning system, both in terms of plan making and decision taking. Good design is not simply a matter of preference or taste. It creates successful places capable of providing people with a good quality of life. Good design is fundamental to delivering many of Barnet’s planning objectives including managing housing growth to meet housing aspirations as well as the protection and enhancement of the suburbs. Therefore, this Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) provides greater details on the design aspects of residential developments as set out in Barnet’s Local Plan and the London Plan.


Extensions to houses both individually and cumulatively can have a profound effect on the appearance of an area and on the amenities enjoyed by the occupiers of adjoining properties. In general, extensions should reflect the design of the original building, whilst having regard to the character of the area and the residential amenity enjoyed by neighbours. This means ensuring that the extension does not significantly impact on people’s enjoyment of their own home or garden.

Not all houses can be extended. This may be due to lack of space or their position or design will mean any extension would harm the street scene or local amenity. In addition, there is a limit to how much most houses can be extended. The cumulative effect of extensions and their impact on the appearance of an area should also be taken into account. This means that proposed additions, which meet all the guidelines included in this SPD, may still be considered unacceptable and be refused planning permission.


Extensions to properties should not be overbearing or unduly obtrusive and care should be taken to ensure they do not result in harmful:

  • loss of privacy by overlooking adjoining properties
  • loss of light or overshadowing of adjoining properties, particularly loss of light to main windows serving principal rooms such as living or dining rooms
  • loss of outlook from adjoining properties
  • sense of enclosure or overbearing impact on adjoining properties
  • loss of garden, landscaping or open space, which contributes to local amenity
  • loss of parking space that is desirable to retain

An extension at the rear of a property may affect the applicant / householder’s amenities by restricting natural light to existing rooms requiring, artificial light to be used for much of the day which will cost more in energy, be less sustainable and affect the enjoyment of the accommodation.


Proposed extensions should be consistent with the form, scale and architectural style of the original building, particularly where it is a period or suburban property. Consistency with the original type of a building can be achieved by:

  • Respecting the proportions of the existing house
  • Using an appropriate roof form
  • Matching materials and details
  • Use of innovative design that can add and improve the building outlook
  • Matching the window style, proportions and position
  • Reflecting the character of the original house.

Whichever type of design is proposed, the following rules should apply:

  • The extension should normally be subordinate to the original house
  • The extension should respect the original building and should not be overly dominant
  • The height of the extension should normally be lower than the height of the original building. For example, this can usually be achieved for a two-storey side extension by stepping down the roofline and setting back the front building line.


Side extensions to existing buildings can be unacceptably prominent features in the street […] Where gaps between houses are a common feature of a street, then proposals which close such gaps or create a terracing effect by bringing buildings too close together are likely to be rejected.

Side extensions should not be more than half the width of the original house. In addition, the setting back of the front wall of side extensions from the front building line can help to reduce the visual impact on the street scene. First floor side extensions should normally be set back 1 metre from the front main wall of the existing house.

Pitched roofs help extensions fit in with the street and may be required for single storey extensions. Pitched roofs, following the same pitch as the existing roof, will normally be needed for two storey extensions and be set down at least 0.5 metre from the ridge of the main roof. Side windows or other detailing can help improve the appearance of a flank wall.

In order to reduce the visual impact of two storey or first floor side extensions, there should normally be a minimum gap of 2 metres between the flank walls of properties at first floor level (i.e. a minimum gap of 1m between the boundary and the extension at first floor level for most two storey extensions).


The depth of a single storey rear extension, normally considered acceptable for terraced properties is 3 metres, for semi-detached properties it is 3.5 metres, and detached property is 4 metres.

Single storey rear extensions to the original house, need to ensure that:

  • the depth and/or height of the extension does not cause a significant sense of enclosure, or loss of outlook from, or light to, principal windows of habitable rooms of neighbouring properties
  • they do not look too bulky and prominent compared to the size of the main building and garden to which they relate
  • if the garden space is in breach of amenity standards then application will normally be refused
  • in addition, if the adjoining house is at a lower level or has a rear building line set back from your rear building line, the depth of the proposed extension may need to be reduced in order to protect amenity of your neighbour.

However, where there is significant harm to neighbours or residential amenities, deeper extensions than that of neighbour’s house would be inappropriate. In such cases each proposal will be considered on its own individual merits. Two storey rear extensions which are closer than 2 metres to a neighbouring boundary and project more than 3 metres in depth are not normally considered acceptable. This is because they can be too bulky and dominant, and have a detrimental effect on the amenities of neighbours.

Flat roofs should not normally be used as balconies as loss of privacy to immediate neighbours almost always results. This applies to side as well as rear extensions. Flat roofs on two storey rear extensions are not normally acceptable because they do not relate sympathetically to the house.

Proposed extensions on properties located within a designated conservation area will need to ensure that they preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area.


Large, front extensions will not normally be permitted because of their effect on the street scene and character of the area in general.

Where it is considered that a building may reasonably be extended forward (for example, on occasion detached houses in low density areas or in roads with irregular building lines), the following principles should be observed:

  • the new roof should normally reflect the roof form of the existing house (e.g. pitched with tiles to match)
  • front extensions should fit in with the architectural style of the house
  • care should be taken to ensure that front extensions have regard to, and do not conflict with, existing architectural features such as bay windows
  • windows should be positioned where they do not have a harmful effect on the amenities of neighbouring properties


Additional, usable space can sometimes be created by converting roof space, providing this is carried out sympathetically. This often involves the formation of dormer windows or the insertion of roof lights. Many houses in Barnet have roofs that are too small for conversion, or in some cases, dormer windows or roof lights may be out of keeping with the character of the area.

A dormer roof extension is a vertical window or opening in a sloping roof, having its own roof, either flat, pitched or curved. Such extensions can have a significant effect on the appearance of a house and their design needs careful consideration.

Dormers on the front of semi-detached or terraced houses will not generally be acceptable, due to their unbalancing effect on adjoining houses and the general street scene. Any exceptions are extremely limited and usually only where original front dormer extensions exist.

The following points should be considered for dormer roof extensions:

  • Design – should reflect style and proportion of windows on the existing house. Dormers may have flat, gabled, hipped or curved roofs and subject to the criteria on position, should normally align with the windows below.
  • Position – Dormer roof extensions should not overlap or wrap around the hips or rise above the ridge. Adequate roof slope above and below the dormer is required on semi-detached and terraced properties, the dormer extension should be set in at least 1 metre from the party wall, flank wall or chimney stack. In smaller terraced houses where due to internal physical constraints dormers that are set in less than 1 metre will be taken into account providing such constraints and any minimum Building Regulation or fire regulation requirements are clearly and robustly demonstrated.
  • Scale – Dormer roof extensions should normally be subordinate features on the roof and should not occupy more than half the width or half the depth of the roof slope. Dormers which wrap around the hips will not normally be considered acceptable
  • Proportion – To retain the balance of the house, the dormer roof extension should not normally be wider than the window below it and the dormer cheeks kept as narrow as possible. For smaller enclosed houses, such as terraces consideration and allowance will be given to internal workable space and Building Regulation requirements for wider roof extensions. On side dormer extensions, where there is a requirement to provide adequate headroom for stairs, the extension should still be set away from the ridge and clear of the hips.
  • Overlooking – Care should be taken in the design and location of new dormers, including side dormers to minimize overlooking.
  • Materials – The window materials and design should be in keeping with those on the rest of the house. The dormer cheeks should be finished with lead, tiles, slates or other traditional materials, and the top of flat roofed dormers should be finished with lead or zinc. The use of roofing felt for the roof, cheeks or face of the dormer should be avoided.

GOAStudio London residential architecture and interior design is an award-winning practice, specialising in architectural services for residential projects across London.

As your local residential architect our team aims to provide a friendly and professional service for your home project.

Our approach is based on carefully considering the particular aspects of each scheme before coming up with a creative way for you to instil your unique stamp on what we do and how we do it. 

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Architects Registration Board (ARB).

Appoint us for Barnet residential architect projects in the following areas:

East Finchley, Hampstead Garden Suburb
Church End, Finchley
Muswell Hill
Brunswick Park, Friern Barnet
North Finchley, Woodside Park
Totteridge, Whetstone
Brent Cross, Hendon
Mill Hill
Colindale, The Hyde
Golders Green, Hampstead Garden Suburb

 Barnet residential architect projects

For more information about the Barnet planning department, policies and requirements please click the link above to be re-directed to the Barnet Council website.

Name and origin

The borough of Barnet contains plenty of Barnets — High Barnet, Chipping Barnet, Friern Barnet, New Barnet… All derive their names from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘bærnet’, which suggests the clearing of woodland by burning. It was first recorded as Barneto in 1070. []

Barnet planning department

You will probably need planning permission if you want to build something new, make a major change to your home – e.g. building an extension, or change the use of your property. There are different rules depending on what you want to do and the relevant planning policy that applies to your property. At GOAStudio, your Barnet residential architect, we have a proud record of dealing with the local authority planners and building control inspectors and we are on hand to assist with your application and successfully handle every stage of your project.

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We are creative problem solvers who will deal with any construction, planning, and design issue relevant to your home project.

GOAStudio London residential architecture limited, 86-90 Paul Street, EC2A 4NE, Hackney

GOAStudio London residential architecture limited, Chestnut Avenue South, E17 9EJ, Waltham Forest

t: 0203 984 3005

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