Spare a thought for your property

Urban design is important in the way it contributes to the overall beauty of Essex

David Knight, chairman of CPRE Essex, urges us to consider the appearance of our homes if we’re considering an extension  

New Year’s resolutions abound at this time of year. Could it be to move house, or maybe extend your existing one?
Political uncertainty probably favours the latter option. So, if you take that route, spare a thought for the aesthetic pleasure the property can give you and others who might be just passing by.
Estate agents would argue that by extending a property it adds to its value.
That is true to some extent, but there are many examples, particularly in a suppressed market, where ugly and inappropriate extensions have made selling very difficult and resulted in price reductions.
You could be thinking “What has this got to do with CPRE Essex? It’s all about picturesque countryside”.
Well, not entirely. A large part of Essex is metropolitan, so the aesthetic value a property brings to the neighbourhood is important.
How often have you driven or walked down a street of houses built to good speculative order only to find one or more extended in an inappropriate manner?
Felted flat-top roofs jutting out in every direction; loft extensions at the front of the property that ruin the original flow of the roofline; new bricks very different in colour to the originals and not delineated by a natural break such as a downpipe or rendering; roof tiles not mixed in with a few old ones from the back of the house… and so on.
Consider using your proposed extension as a time to enhance the existing property. Modern acrylic painting systems are so easy to use and much more tolerant to being applied in damp conditions, as are rendering paints, but the effect can bring pleasure to your family and other passers-by.
A final point: if you can afford to move and not extend, it will not only leave the property’s integrity intact but could also free up affordable property to others on the housing ladder.