Published: 11:10, 22 November 2020
| Updated: 11:12, 22 November 2020
They says an Englishman's home is his castle.
But in the case of 11a Addington Street in Margate, that could be pushing it, with an ambitious plan to create a tiny house out of a small former annex attached to a row of historic terrace properties.
Owner Nick Small insists his scheme to convert the building - which would have a total floor space of just 23 square metres over two storeys - would be a positive contribution to the regeneration of the area.
He says it will also bring the Grade II-listed building, which he claims has been vacant for 17 years and used at times by squatters, back into use.
But objectors say it is too small for residential use and would be better off as a studio or small shop.
National standards, set out by the government, say for a one-bedroom dwelling with a shower room the requirement is it be at least 37 square metres in size.
But Mr Small, in planning documents submitted to Thanet District Council, believes his plan to be viable, although he admits the size is raising concerns.
"I intend to make virtue of the limited space by developing the property as an open plan, mews-type studio, using the maximum high-quality compact fittings, materials and space-saving design," he wrote.
"I believe my proposal for residential use would represent a positive addition to the regeneration of the area, bringing back into good use a building which has for a long time been unwanted, empty and problematic.
"It would contribute to the housing stock at a time of need without negative impact on the character of the conservation area, and with minimal impact on the wider environment."
Mr Small says the building, formerly the annex to number 9 next door, would have a well-equipped breakfast bar, shower room and utility cupboard, with adequate space for sleeping and bedroom storage.
But critics say it is far too small and dispute that the historical structure has been a squat over the years.
Shaun Collier, from the Thanet Motor Centre located directly behind, calls the plans wholly inappropriate in his objection to the council.
"I do not oppose any appropriate restoration of the property taking into account its historical importance in a conservation area, but given the internal floor areas the use of the annex as a dwelling is wholly inappropriate given the councils recent adoption of the new local plan and national described space stands.
"I feel that Mr Small's application shows no regard to maintaining the historic listing of a building but shows only interest in maximising profits.
"For planning to accept this application would surely show a lack of regard to the most appropriate use of the building and the retention of its history and the aesthetics in a conservation area."
Neighbour Louise Oldfield, chair of Margate Conservation Area Advisory Group and secretary of the Hawley Square Residents' Association, raises concerns about the size and the impact on the historic building.
"As a neighbour with a keen interest in local history, architecture and a small business owner, I hoped to see this little structure be brought back into some other suitable use," she wrote to Thanet council.
"There is a high demand for studio office working space.
"Why not explore this type of use (rather) than conversion to a residential dwelling in a space so small we would be risking an avalanche of tiny shoebox homes that aren't fit for people to live in?"
She says the historic structure needs to be protected.
"This rare surviving designated heritage asset would be far better if sensitively and appropriately restored and made available for commercial use rather than converted into an unsuitable residential dwelling that entails unacceptable harm to a historic structure and the designated Conservation Area and the amenity of neighbouring properties and business."