RBKC 's newly adopted policy does not rule out 'mega-basements'

Posted by Sara Hanrahan on
The controversial draft Core Strategy Policy CL7 on basements was approved by the Inspector on 2 December 2015 and has now been adopted by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. 

Policy CL7 (b) makes it clear that basement development "must not comprise more than one storey".  The justification for this policy is set out in paragraphs 34.3.46 – 34.3.72 of the Basements Planning Policy document and is to apply to "all new basement development."  

It is recognised that although basements are a useful way to add extra accommodation to homes there are concerns on the impact on the quality of life of neighbours.

"Planning deals with the use of land" the policy notes explain " and it is expedient to deal with these issues proactively and address long term harm to resident' living conditions rather than rely only on mitigation".  

In restricting the size of basements the Council seeks to "protect residential living conditions in the Borough by limiting the extent and duration of construction and by reducing the volume of soil to be excavated".  

However, there is an exception for "large sites".  Paragraph 34.3.56 of the Basement Planning Policy defines "large sites" as being more than one storey "and greater than half the garden or open part of the site may be permitted in certain circumstances".   

We accordingly anticipate a number of applications  for double basements to proceed in reliance on this exemption but great care will be required to fall precisely within the permitted circumstances.

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Sara specialises in urban redevelopment projects, particularly advising in relation to compulsory purchase and affordable housing schemes.

Sara Hanrahan
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