Kensington Digs in With Ban on ‘Mega Basements’

Via: London Evening Standard

Jonathan Prynn, Consumer Business Editor
21 March 2013

The “iceberg home” mega basements dug three or four storeys into the ground with private cinemas, spas and swimming pools are set to be banned in one of London’s most affluent areas.

New draft rules that will limit basements to a single storey and impose much tighter limits on how far they can extend under a garden were today published by Kensington and Chelsea council.

The move follows a huge surge in applications for basements over recent years as wealthy owners have sought to by-pass planning restrictions on changes to their homes above ground by massively extending their living space underneath.

The subterranean extensions have often outraged local residents because of the noise, dust and disruption caused by digging them out, which can last for up to two years.

One recent application approved by the council came from Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and his girlfriend Dasha Zhukova.

The couple want to dig out a two-storey basement at their riverside home in Cheyne Walk as part of a £10 million project that neighbours said would “create a dusty mayhem of a sprawling construction site in a peaceful conservation area”.

One of the most notorious applications was by former Foxtons estate agency owner Jon Hunt who successfully submitted plans for a cavernous basement under his home in Kensington Palace Gardens that included a tennis court and a showroom for his collection of Ferraris.

Read more: here

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