Basement Conversion Design & Build to a Large Victorian House in SW18

London’s Basement Planning Regulations, Recent Changes

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BackgroundBasements have caused some controversy in certain circles for some time. There was an unsuccessful attempt to introduce a subterranean development bill into the House of Lords. There have been a number of local campaigns to limit the rights of homeowners to dig basements. A lot of the issues that have been reported were a result of less than optimal site operations. In spite of adverse comment very few, if any, issues have been reported where established reputable contractors have been employed to carry out the works.

What has happened?

After a campaign mounted by a group of residents RBK&C published a draft policy. This draft policy was examined in detail
by a Planning Inspector appointed by The Secretary of State to determine the lawfulness of the proposals.

The Planning Inspector supported some of the Councils proposals and thus a new policy has been officially adopted by the Council. This at the moment only applies to RBK&C, however a number of other Local Authorities have indicated that they would like to impose a similar regime.

RBKC made the following press statement:

“Now after a two-year process, the council has announced that a government planning inspector has given the green light to its proposals to curb the scale of developments.

Basement extensions will still be permitted but the new rules will restrict how far they can stretch under a garden, limit them to a single storey in most cases and ban developments under listed buildings altogether. Council cabinet member for planning policy Tim Coleridge said: “Basements have been the single greatest planning concern our residents have expressed to us in living memory. Many have experienced years of misery from noise, vibration, dust and construction traffic.

Two years ago we started drafting a policy to try and strike the right balance between addressing our residents’ concerns and the genuine need for people to expand their homes.

“This ruling is a victory not only for the council but also our residents who have been overwhelmingly supportive of what we have been trying to do.” The new guidelines are set to be formally adopted at the next full council
meeting in January.” At the time of writing this mean that they are now in force.

What has changed & what does it mean?

If you are planning a single story basement under the existing footprint of the house, that is not listed, it is still possible, in most
cases, to gain planning consent for a basement.

However, the detail of the submissions that are required and risen considerably to the extent that successfully processing these kind
of applications first time round is beyond a normal Architect/Surveyor’s practice. This is where specialist consultants
such as OLBC come into the picture. And indeed many Architectural practices are now making use of specialist services, such as those that OLBC offer, to
obtain these consents.

What has happened?

Westminster has adopted, some aspects, of the RBKC policies as well as having an enforcement team to ensure compliance.

Specialists such as OLBC are strongly advising clients to act and apply for consents in some boroughs that are contemplating changes.

The costs of applying for planning permission under a regime, such as RBKCs, are £17,000 upwards whereas.

However, and it does vary a bit depending on the local authority, costs are considerable lower at present other than Camden, RBK&C, Westminster and to a less extent Hammersmith and Fulham. The permission will be perfectly valid for three years once it is granted.

How can OLBC help?

OLBC have a 100% track record of gaining planning consent for basements throughout London.

We won’t waste your time with speculative applications.

Proven Basement Planning expertise throughout London

We have previously worked with the local authorities below to achieve Planning Permissions and Certificates of Lawfulness under Permitted Development. Please click on the local authority for some sample consents we have obtained (this is not an exhaustive list):

City of Westminster

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

London Borough of Merton