Leigh Street was set out on former agricultural land owned by the Worshipful Company of Skinners who granted builders permission to build a new row of terraces in 1809. Originally occupied as dwellings by middle class professionals the terraces now house a variety uses including: offices, flats, restaurants, cafes and estate agents. The street forms part of the Bloomsbury Conservation area and is Grade II listed.
9 Leigh Street had previously been converted into flats and later registered as an HMO. When purchased there was ongoing enforcement action related to unlawful internal alterations to the property that the new freeholder inherited. This posed an issue in how to resolve the enforcement action whilst maintaining and enhancing the property as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).
Mark Fairhurst Architects were appointed to commence negotiations with the enforcement, environmental, planning and conservation officers at Camden Council to see how the various aspects of the alterations could be corrected whilst also improving the existing layouts of the building.
Meetings were held with the council officers to understand the issues relating to the listed building and HMO requirements. Design options were tested to establish a solution that responded to all concerns.
To the rear of the property at basement level an original lean-to annex had fallen into disrepair, possibly originally used by a housekeeper. The building was renovated introducing a new bed platform over a shower room thereby maximising usable space for the bedroom.
To comply with HMO space standards for bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens along with heritage issues relating to the insensitive alterations it was agreed to remove shower rooms from ground and first floor primary living spaces restoring the former proportions of the original house. A reorganisation of the building has allowed the enforcement action to be revoked and new planning and listed building application approved and the works to be carried out.
The renovation work has led to a restoration of a number of original features such as plaster mouldings, windows, shutters and architraves. The future of the building has been safeguarded and its continued use as an HMO retained.