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 Armstrong & Co Solicitors

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Side Return Extensions and Loft Conversions
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Posts: 128
Joined: May 2010
Post: #1
18-08-2014 12:25 PM

Hi All,

We are looking to expand our current home rather than move out of the area as i fear that a bigger house in the area is now out of our price range so we are considering both a side return and loft conversion instead.

We would like to know others experiences of side returns/lofts in terms of
+ what they would have done different?
+ design choices you wish you made
+ ball park build costs (I know spec will greatly change this)
+ Lewisham Council planning controls i.e. any gotcha regulations we need to be aware of

any help/advice is appreciated


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Posts: 1,394
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #2
18-08-2014 02:33 PM

One house in my road has a basement extension.

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Posts: 128
Joined: May 2010
Post: #3
18-08-2014 02:55 PM

think basement is too extreme for us.

actually one firm was mentioning we could build a wine cellar into the side return!

I pondered for a minute what life would be like if my only concern was how to store 200 bottles of wine at the right temperature.

at which point my 20month old decided to pour a glass of water on the carpet to wake me out of it

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Posts: 15
Joined: Oct 2013
Post: #4
19-08-2014 03:20 PM


I'm just coming to the end of a loft extension at my property in SE23, the cost does vary hugely depending on the spec that you go for but for a standard sized loft extension I'd budget for 40/45k including a bathroom suite, tiling etc and vat. Lewisham council have been easy to deal with and any reputable building firm will probably take care of that side of things along with party wall agreements etc.

Haven't gone for the side return but I have two friends that have, one opted for full width doors to the garden, the other didn't and regretted it.

Hope that helps!

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Posts: 18
Joined: Mar 2012
Post: #5
19-08-2014 09:59 PM

We did a loft extension about 7 years ago - the best thing we've ever done to the house. We went from 3 bed to 4 and added a decent size separate bathroom. It cost around £50k including all bathroom fittings, tiling etc. and decorating. I've mostly heard only good things of the various loft companies in the area. Building control is very strict which means that the companies have to do a good job, by and large. The company will do all the liaison with them and it will need to be signed off as well.

Main tip from me is that time invested in the design is definately time well spent. Oh, and do get friendly with the neighbours. It is a huge and messy job and will really affect them as well, so one of your 200 bottles of wine might not go amiss as a present!

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Posts: 8
Joined: Nov 2013
Post: #6
19-08-2014 10:27 PM


Our loft conversion was finished last week and we love it. So long as you do it within Permitted Development so no more than 40 cubic metres it's pretty straight forward. Ours cost around £45k for an extra 2 bedrooms and a shower room. Happy to discuss more and to give you any tips. Good luck!

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Posts: 128
Joined: May 2010
Post: #7
20-08-2014 09:54 PM

Thanks for info everyone, we are still digesting it all and getting quotes.

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Posts: 128
Joined: May 2010
Post: #8
22-08-2014 09:57 AM

Hi slondon,

Did you have to lower any ceilings to increase the loft height?

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Posts: 221
Joined: Jan 2007
Post: #9
23-08-2014 08:38 PM

From what I see and hear, these extensions (side return and loft) are becoming more and more common in this area, as people find moving to a bigger house is too expensive. The house opposite mine is having exactly this done at the moment.

It might be worth you having a look at other planning applications in the area, you'll be able to see details of the companies that have done them. and plans submitted, many of the houses in this area are of a similar design so this should be useful. You can search for planning applications here:

I'll PM you the link to the planning application for the house on my road.

Good luck! I'd love to do this if we could afford it!

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Posts: 128
Joined: May 2010
Post: #10
02-09-2014 08:57 PM

Thanks Jane, that's really useful. Apologies for the delay in response.

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Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2014
Post: #11
03-09-2014 03:09 PM

I have just come across this thread discussing kitchen side return extensions. We did our loft conversion about 4 years ago and certainly haven't regretted it - we had a lovely big bedroom / office area and bathroom. We are now considering doing a kitchen side return and have already spoken to one building company about the options available to us and have their quote. But would like to talk to a couple of other builders. So if you have any recommendations for a good reliable builder / building services company to approach for a quote we would be very grateful.
Many thanks

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