Basements: a few things to consider

A few facts: RBKC is the smallest London Borough by area and the fourth most densely populated with a legacy of Georgian and Victorian terraces. A shift away from town houses to mansion blocks during the Edwardian period allowed the buildings to be taller and thus housing many more people. Although they have less of a visual impact, Basement Planning Applications are more complicated due to their effect on the quality of life, traffic management and the living conditions of local residents.

Protect Your Trees!

Emphasize the important role of the garden. Yes, this is their number 1 priority.
The basement must not exceed 50% of the garden space and the rest of the garden must be aligned with your neighbour’s. Damage to or loss of trees comes in 4th on the list so make sure you provide a full tree survey and tree protection proposal if your application is likely to affect trees either on-site or nearby. You must retain 50% of the existing garden to allow natural landscape and character to be maintained. Moreover, support biodiversity and allow water to drain through to the “Upper Aquifer” (London’s impermeable clay lies beneath a series of gravel terraces fed by rainwater from the Thames Valley. This is known as the Upper Aquifer).

Look Down, Not Up

The Planning Authority resists applications for building basements under listed buildings, since they view them as a threat to the foundations, integrity, scale, and fabric of the building. Not only can an excavation pose a risk of structural damage it can also negatively modify the building’s foundation.

Don’t Stop the Traffic

Try to limit the depth of your excavation to a single storey. Not only does the excavation process create noise and disturbance, but the removal of spoil will require a large number of vehicle movements in the tight knit streets of terraced and semi-detached houses. A significant increase in traffic congestion will raise the Planning Officer’s resistance to the project.