Is this Britain's narrowest house?

IT may only seem big enough for a car but a developer was won planning permission for what could be Britain's narrowest detached house - complete with two double bedrooms.

Will Clarke

IT may only seem big enough for a car but a developer was won planning permission for what could be Britain's narrowest detached house - complete with two double bedrooms.

Plans for the house in Bury St Edmunds show a three-storey building 9ft wide.

It may be inventive use of land but it has drawn criticism from neighbours who fear the new build will clash with the historic area's conservation status and be an overdevelopment of the tiny plot on Albert Street.


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St Edmundsbury Borough Council member David Nettleton, who opposed the proposal at the planning and development committee, said he was surprised the council gave permission for such a small home to be built - describing the decision as “madness”.

“The Borough Council approved an application to build a detached house in Albert Street, which will make it the narrowest in Britain.

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“It will abut eight Albert Street - to the annoyance of the occupants of this semi-detached house and several other residents - replace a small garage and when built it will be about nine foot wide.

“Bury has the smallest pub in the country, The Nutshell, soon it will have the narrowest house. The decision is madness.”

He also called on the council to provide an overarching strategy for the area's development to which the new home could adhere to.

Deputy borough mayor Margaret Charlesworth, who also voted against the plan, said: “I live in the area and I have nothing against the people who want to do this but it must be part of a more coherent approach rather than doing things piecemeal - the development is too ad hoc in a space which isn't suitable. I wouldn't want to live in a 9ft house but some people do want something which is very small.”

Jim Thorndyke, the committee's vice chairman, said: “I wouldn't want to live in it but some people would be happy with a place like that and it fits in with the planning criteria. It is a bit narrow but that is the choice of the person who is going to develop it.”

John Abbott, planning advisor to the Bury Preservation Society, said: “It is unusual and it is probably unique. The society did consider it and they felt it was quite a clever solution to a difficult area.”

Tom Stebbing, architect for the scheme, said: “I think the planning committee were concerned it was narrow but after a site visit they realised it wasn't as narrow as it first appeared and they passed it.

“They were more concerned by its impact on the conservation area. But it continues the line of previous houses and it provides a decent family home on a brownfield site rather than little farm houses on the Moreton Hall, which aren't sustainable.”

A home in Scotland sold for £27,000 in 2000 and, nicknamed The Wedge, has the narrowest frontage of any house in the UK measuring 47inches but is 11foot at its widest point.

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