Assembly calls on Mayor to limit excessive basement developments

05 March 2014

A motion agreed unanimously by the London Assembly today calls on Mayor Boris Johnson to take action to limit excessive subterranean development across London.

With increasing number of large-scale basement developments taking place in the capital, the Assembly has urged the Mayor to include specific changes to planning policy to limit the size and depth of new or extended basement schemes.

Murad Qureshi AM, who proposed the motion said:

“Planning applications for basements developments are an increasing problem in London’s boroughs as these renovations are turning large homes into ice-berg houses with some three story deep below ground bringing the risk of flooding and structural damage. The Mayor needs to acknowledge this is an expanding problem in London and incorporate a strong policy to protect Londoners against excessive development.”

Steve O’Connell AM, who amended the motion said:

“London’s boroughs are already taking action to try to limit inappropriate basement developments but they need the Mayor’s support. He should develop a specific policy that ensures London’s subterranean landscape development does not blight resident’s lives.”

The full text of the amended motion agreed at today’s meeting reads as follows:

“This Assembly notes that inappropriate basement development is an increasing problem within London. In the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, for example, planning applications for basements rose from just 13 in 2001, to 182 in 2010, and to 307 in 2012. Some of these renovations are turning already-large homes into massive iceberg houses, and can cause flooding, sink holes and structural damage to neighbouring buildings.

Despite the rising concern, the draft Further Alterations to the London Plan (FALP) does not include a specific policy on subterranean development. Although draft Supplementary Planning Guidance and the current policy on sustainable design and construction require consideration of some issues, London must adopt stronger policies to help boroughs prevent unnecessary basement development, such as prohibiting extensions under listed buildings and limiting the size and depth of new and redeveloped basements.

This Assembly therefore calls on the Mayor of London to revise the FALP to include a specific policy against inappropriate basement development.”

Notes to editors

1. Watch the webcast.

2. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

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