Kensington and Chelsea wins its bid to restrict "billionaire" basement extensions

Jessica Morris
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Kensington & Chelsea has won its bid to limit "billionaire" basements (Source: Getty)

Kensington and Chelsea has won its bid to limit the size of multi-storey basement extensions, amid complaints regarding the building projects of a number of rich residents.

The London Borough won approval on new rules which will restrict so-called "dig-downs" to just one storey below ground level.

The extent to which basements can be spread under a garden has also been reduced, from 85 per cent to 50 per cent. Construction underneath historically listed buildings will also be banned.

So-called 'billionaire' basements, where another floor is dug out of the basement, have been popular in prime central London for years now. Buildings that are over a hundred years old have been fitted with underground swimming pools, spas, ballrooms and even tennis courts.

But local residents have been plagued by loud noises and unsightly building structures in wealthy boroughs across London.

Tim Coleridge, cabinet member for planning policy at Kensington and Chelsea council said:

Basements have been the single greatest planning concern our residents have expressed to us in living memory. Many have experienced years of misery from noise, vibration, dust and construction traffic.

Two years ago we started drafting a policy to try and strike the right balance between addressing our residents concerns and the genuine need for people to expand their homes.

It hasn’t been easy and basement developers have aggressively opposed us every step of the way. We are delighted that the Inspector agrees that we have got it right while at the same time praising us for our extensive public consultation.

This ruling is a victory not only for the Council but also our residents who have been overwhelmingly supportive of what we have been trying to do

Last year, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich was given the go-ahead for a £100m home in Chelsea, which included plans to excavate a two-storey basement.

The new guidelines will formally be adopted on 21 January at the next full council meeting.

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