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Saturday, 25 August 2012

Council uses eco tactics to outwit basement builders

Very stupid people often whine the Dame is anti-Council....what nonsense........
When the Council uses ingenuity, to protect the interests of those who pay officers chunky salaries, she has nothing but praise. Take this example here. 
Residents have voiced their anger at the disruption caused by basement excavations: it seems from this article in the Standard Mr Bore and team have found a way to deal with the issue. 
Well done Mr Bore and team.....

Council uses eco tactics to outwit basement builders

17 August 2012
A London Council has declared war on basement developments by insisting homeowners carry out a costly eco-upgrade of their entire property before they are allowed to dig for space beneath it.
The first salvo of the battle has been fired by Kensington and Chelsea council, which has fielded more than 1,000 applications for underground extensions in the past five years — including ones from Chelsea footballer Frank Lampard and his girlfriend Christine Bleakley, and Take That’s Howard Donald.
It has now refused the owner of a home in Elgin Crescent, Notting Hill, permission to create a basement complex because he “failed to detail how he would improve the terrace property’s overall carbon efficiency”.
The architect of the scheme condemned the council for “entirely inappropriate use of guidance” which will cost the homeowner thousands of pounds, making it financially unviable. 
Jonathan Bore, the council’s executive director for planning, threw out the proposals and said: “The applicant has failed to demonstrate appropriate mitigation for the environmental impact of the proposed subterranean development, in particular the impact of the development on carbon emissions.”
Kensington and Chelsea has introduced a policy directed specifically at basement extensions, amid growing pressure after complaints of noise nuisance and the prospect of damage to neighbouring properties.
It will insist anybody who wishes to build a basement must prove their home meets tough eco-standards before it gets planning consent. The architect for the Notting Hill scheme, Stuart Brown, said: “I can understand the need for new guidelines to regulate the current rash of massive full site basements.
But to insist that the environmental performance of an entire house is upgraded in order to develop an
extension of some five square metres is clearly an entirely inappropriate use of guidance.”
He added: “The costs of complying are prohibitive and out of all proportion.”


  1. Each underground development damages at least the nearest six properties. Every one causes subsidence and heave in nearby houses. It disturbs the water table; adding to their flood risk.

    Till now, the Council seems to have approved every application; at the expense of the less affluent. No attempt has been made to refuse applications due to over development. RBKC has granted permission all those with the money to expand their homes at their neighbours' expense. Houses have fallen down. The Council studiously ignores its many victims.

    Widespread and much publicised anger has forced the Council to announce a marginal change of position. Far more is needed; but perhaps this is a start. However, it's too late for hundreds of people whose homes and lives have been blighted. They are neighbours without the means to take on some of the richest "non-doms" and an uncaring Council.

  2. Anonymous 17.17 is correct. The Council's supposed change of policy is not nearly enough. It won't stop the super rich ruining other people's homes. Those able to afford a basement development will either produce a carbon assessment and hang the expense; or hire lawyers to challenge the policy. So the Council's new policy will only affect those on a budget.

  3. This is not a real change in policy. Mr Bore (an ex-planning inspector) wants to avoid appeals and wants to recommend all basements for approval. The councillors are too weak to stop him and Cockell has not the slightest interest in planning. No peerage at the end of that road!

  4. We The Residents27 August 2012 at 08:50

    Brilliant, brilliant. Why did we not think of this before?

    Difficult to tackle the basement scourge in law but the "procedural route" can slow things up and stop lots of the pestilence. Officials know all about "administrative measures" when they want to stop something.

    Well done Mr Bore

  5. Is this a Gold Medal for Cllr Ahern? The Cabinet Member in charge of Planning promised action before the end of the year

    A much better outcome than the ridiculous Cockell who kept ringing his hands and muttering "its all too difficult".

  6. Mr Bore (what an unfortunate name) needs to use all the procedural resources at his disposal to stop this basement nuisance in its tracks.

    A rare opportunity for Hornton Street to act in the interests of residents

  7. Stand Up For Britain27 August 2012 at 19:36

    A great victory for common sense. We all know that the law is not about justice - it is about the application of rules. When evil is present then democracy needs to find a way to moderate. And Administrative measures to acheive this is the great British Democratic tradition. It is called common sense.

    For once the powers in Hornton Street are acting in the interests of residents. They are to be applauded. It is a question of style and culture. For much too long Cockell's K&C has been Bad style and bad culture. Is there a change afoot?

  8. Sadly no change afoot, Stand Up For Britain. This is not a change in policy. The 'new policy' has been there for some time and has done nothing to stop the non-doms who seem to have access to unlimited funding for their basement extensions. The newspapers have just realised that it is there.

    K&C will continue its decline until Cockell goes. He has little time for the 'Royal Borough' and there is now no one guiding the ship.

  9. Stand Up For Britain28 August 2012 at 07:46

    Depressing comment from 20.32

    But the solution still seems to be "administrative means" to frustrate the rash of basement developments. Councillors must encourage Mr Bore to be extra vigilant, creative, and obstructive of this pestilence in the best "Yes Minister" tradition.

    Cockell of course is a lost cause. But a chance for Cabinet Member in charge of Planning, Irishman Ahern, to make a name for himself and give hard pressed residents and voters a favour. This would also set a good example to the other poodles of the Cockell administration

    This wou

  10. The reality is that you don’t want to believe everything you read in the papers and you don’t want to believe anything that a politician tells you. There is no new policy, it is an established policy and it is simply not working. The council continues to be developer friendly, it is the easy way out. The cost of preparing an eco-homes survey is preventing some residents from carrying out perfectly acceptable small extensions; these are not the ones that are causing problems for the neighbouring community. But if the applicant has enough money to throw at the scheme, it is no hurdle. The policy is doing nothing to stop the major and disruptive extensions that have caused structural failures in neighbouring properties and generally made the lives of everyone around miserable, for months if not years. RBKC requires an eco-homes assessment and frequently a construction management plan and a traffic management plan. All of these are prepared by ‘consultants’ employed by and paid for by the applicant. These consultants have a strong incentive to whitewash the scheme; no one pays a consultant to say that the scheme fails to meet the standards required. The Council makes no independent reviews of these reports and does little or nothing to enforce them. So before anyone thinks that things are getting better, just look at the reality.


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