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Sunday, 19 October 2014
BASEMENTS ON HOLD TILL YEAR END
From the Kensington Society
Basements on hold until the end of the
The Council announced today, 17thOctober,
that it will not be determining applications for development proposals
which include subterranean development, and such proposals will not be
reported to the Planning Applications Committee, unless there are site
specific material considerations which make this appropriate or they
comply with the current Core Strategy, the existing SPD and the emerging
This is big news following over a year
of consultations on a new basement policy.
Initially the residents were very
excited that there would be tighter controls over basement construction.
However, the planning department position remained that until approved it
would not take into consideration the emerging policy. Following
two consultations the Council revised the policy which was sent to the
Planning Inspectorate in April and which went to the Examination in
Public held last month. Meanwhile the basement contractors mounted a
strong campaign to persuade people to apply for deep basements over the
proposed 50%of the garden restriction. Both
the public and the Councillors on the Planning Applications Committee
were frustrated to find that the draft policy would not be considered as
an reason for refusal and the PAC Councillors were advised that the
applications could not be refuse. The result was the approval of a
series of large double basements.
As the draft policy has now gone
through successive stages of the approval process, it should have been
given more weight, although the degree of objection and any uncertainty
about the likely outcome must also be a consideration. Having nearly
reached the end of the process – we are expecting the Inspector’s report
on the Examination by late December – the Council has now proposed to
hold off making any decisions on basement applications until they are
clear what the future policy will be. This should ensure that there is
some consistency in the decisions made on cases to be decided in the next
few months and that no one would have grounds for complaint.
In other words, if the new policy is
accepted basements will be limited to 50% of the garden, to one level and
not under listed buildings. However, if the policy is not accepted
all the applications which are held in abeyance will be determined in
line with the revised policy whatever that is.