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Thursday, 14 November 2013


Basements Your MP needs support for the Basement Bill
As many of you know this borough accepts that some basement extensions can be approved without the need or the restriction of a planning permission through the permitted development rights.  We have fought a long battle with the borough over this concept.  As it currently stands certain basements can be built without any planning control.  Without getting into whether a basement should be or should not be, the main problem is through permitted development, there are no means to control traffic, construction noise or nuisance, EcoHome requirements or any other of the controls which planning can and should apply. 
Can we ask that you read the following and write to our own MP and Karen Buck supporting this bill? and
See below:

On 12 November Karen Buck, the Labour MP for Westminster North, introduced a Private Members’ Bill under the Ten Minute Rule, which received its First Reading accordingly. The Bill has not yet (as of 14 November) been printed, so we do not know exactly what it will contain, but the general purpose is evidently to make it easier for local authorities to control and restrict basement developments. Ms Buck’s speech in the House of Commons can be read here:

The Bill is supported by 8 other London MPs: Sir Malcolm Rifkind (Kensington), Mark Field (Cities of London and Westminster), Glenda Jackson (Hampstead and Kilburn), Frank Dobson (Holborn and St Pancras), Barry Gardiner (Brent North), Gareth Thomas (Harrow West), Clive Efford (Eltham) and Andy Slaughter (Hammersmith). The first two are Conservatives, the others Labour. We imagine that the reason for the non-inclusion of our MP, Greg Hands, is that he is a Government whip (recently promoted to Deputy Chief Whip).

Those who wish to subscribe for automatic updates on the progress of the Bill can do so by going to this lin


  1. A great service from the Kensington Society urging us all (INCLUDING COUNCILLORS) to write to Karen Buck MP and Malcolm Buck MP with support for their Private Members Bill. If we all do this and get our friends to write too, then the Kensington Society "goes viral" and this could be very powerful

    1. Here is a copy of the email that WASP sent to Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP

      Dear Sir Malcolm
      I strongly support the Private Members Bill that you and Karen Buck MP are pursuing in the House of Commons to give local Councils more powers to control basement developments.
      London economics are skewed compared with the rest of the country and house values (£ per square foot) RELATIVE to building cost are now huge and getting even more so as property values continue to rise. There is a huge incentive for owners and developers to create wealth by digging very large basements. Unfortunately the built estate (and particularly the Victorian terrace dwellings that are typical of London) were not designed to take the strains which inevitably develop in neighbouring properties. Often with serious collateral damage.

      I am a resident of Kensington and have direct experience of the noise, disturbance, inconvenience and terror for the elderly which has now reached unacceptable levels. We badly need a more balanced approach and recent experience has shown that legislation is needed to restore some semblance of normality.

      Yours sincerely

  2. This is Democracy in action!

  3. Kensington Resident15 November 2013 at 07:55

    Sir Malcolm, your Borough needs you

  4. The developers have made it abundantly clear that if Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea try to tighten up basement planning regulations, they will throw the legal book at the two councils. They are completely awash with money for legal challenges, they have the best lawyers and will inevitably win that battle. That is why K & C have pulled back on taking their new proposals to the Planning Inspectorate. The worry is that, if and when the developers win this battle, they may then come back again to remove even the very modest constraints that currently exist on subterranean works. And they will probably win that battle too.

    It is perfectly clear – and I have made this point time and again on Hornet – that the ONLY way we can stop this is via primary legislation. There is no point blaming Cockell, or Ahern, or Coleridge, other than that they have clearly failed in their duty to persuade our own MP to act. Karen Buck must be commended by everyone, even we Tories, and all London MPs must unite to force anti-basement legislation through as quickly as possible. The Mayor of London clearly also has a prime role to play here – especially if he aspires to become Kensington’s MP in 2015.

    Another One Who Knows

  5. Rifkind, Cockell, Ahern and Coleridge were/have been asleep on the job. Karen Buck MP has at last given a wake up call and all of us (including the sleepers) need to come in behind her. With vigour

  6. Every Resident Association Chairman should forward the Kensington Society letter to their residents and urge them to write to Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP and Karen Buck MP


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