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London Councils crackdown on basement extensions

We are all aware that property in London is at a premium and extending can be one way that owners can increase living space. Because of the way that many properties are in classical terraces, space is at a premium and of course there are severe planning constraints on anyone who wishes to extend a house.

However it seems that a number of enterprising owners are extending downwards and adding Gymnasiums, multiple storeys extra of living space and even swimming pools as well as car parking. These underground extensions are very popular in areas such as Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea, the traditionally expensive parts of the capital, but it has not met favourably with many residents, complaining about the noise and disturbance caused by what can amount to years of work. Some are becoming very concerned about the effect that these extensions may have on their own properties.

These basement extensions have been dubbed “iceberg” homes often as there is more space below ground than on the top! A prime reason why there have been so many of these is that owners can get round strict planning rules, but not for much longer it would seem. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is about to introduce restrictions on basement extensions which will limit them to a single story and they will be banned completely from listed buildings.

Where planning consent is required this means that neighbours and other living within the area have a chance to lodge formal objections through this planning process. Robert Davis the deputy leader of Westminster Council has commented that: “Residents have been facing an underground epidemic on their quiet residential streets, and I want to help stop the horror stories of people living next to mega basement construction.” He went on to say “now all basement extensions will have to go to the before the council’s planning department, allowing neighbours and local communities to have their say and for developers to demonstrate they will not cause undue harm to neighbours or the character of the area,”

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