Karen Buck MP

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Basement excavations - the story continues

A total of 818 basement excavations have been applied for in Westminster since 2008 - with the overwhelming majority being granted. Updated figures confirm that, while we wait for the introduction of a new policy to strengthen planning controls, the proportion of applications being refused continued to fall.

Year (Apr-Mar) Approved Refused Total

2007-2008 65 21 (32%) 86
2008-2009 62 17 (27%) 79
2009-2010 67 25 (37%) 92
2010-2011 70 28 (40%) 98
2011-2012 161 22 (14%) 183
2012-2013 121 19 (14%) 140
2013-2014 123 17 (12%) 140

Westminster Council confirmed to me last month:

"The basements SPD/guidance is currently with the Cabinet Member for Built Environment to agree for formal adoption. We have an officer attending RBK&C's basements Examination in Public, which is currently underway. A few issues have come out of this which we are considering and these may have a bearing on our emerging approach to basements".

On the issue of approvals/refusals, the Council tell me:

"As before, the refused permissions are not necessarily refused on the basis of a basement excavation but could be for other factors such as height, massing, design etc. Similarly, those approved will include schemes that are not solely basements but include other works to a residential property".

No-one is, of course, objecting to the idea of any and all basement excavations. Concerns relate to the number of developments, cumulative impact within a neighbourhood, individual schemes according to size and associated nuisance. And in some cases, the difficulties in dealing with owners/developers to enforce Party Wall agreements, building control and so forth.

A total of 818 basement excavations have been applied for in Westminster since 2008 - with the overwhelming majority being granted. Updated figures confirm that, while we wait for the introduction of a new policy to strengthen planning controls, the proportion of applications being refused continued to fall.

Year (Apr-Mar) Approved Refused Total

2007-2008 65 21 (32%) 86
2008-2009 62 17 (27%) 79
2009-2010 67 25 (37%) 92
2010-2011 70 28 (40%) 98
2011-2012 161 22 (14%) 183
2012-2013 121 19 (14%) 140
2013-2014 123 17 (12%) 140

Westminster Council confirmed to me last month:

"The basements SPD/guidance is currently with the Cabinet Member for Built Environment to agree for formal adoption. We have an officer attending RBK&C's basements Examination in Public, which is currently underway. A few issues have come out of this which we are considering and these may have a bearing on our emerging approach to basements".

On the issue of approvals/refusals, the Council tell me:

"As before, the refused permissions are not necessarily refused on the basis of a basement excavation but could be for other factors such as height, massing, design etc. Similarly, those approved will include schemes that are not solely basements but include other works to a residential property".

No-one is, of course, objecting to the idea of any and all basement excavations. Concerns relate to the number of developments, cumulative impact within a neighbourhood, individual schemes according to size and associated nuisance. And in some cases, the difficulties in dealing with owners/developers to enforce Party Wall agreements, building control and so forth.

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