Mr O' Connor, Cranbrook MD should read this articulate letter from a Westminster resident about his companys' activities.
Submitted by Anonymous on Fri, 2013-08-16 14:24.
Basement Developments in Westminster
As a local resident in North Westminster and having directly suffered the consequences of interference with foundations in basements at any level and by however small an excavation with power tools, steel frames, lorries and skip deliveries, the endless heavy noise vibration, the levels of air pollution over periods of up to two years 6 days a week, I am concerned at any basement development and industrial scale alterations where the house next door becomes effectively a heavy industrial works site for inordinately lengthy periods.
Residents die during heavy building works. The elderly and sick are at extreme risk from such unhealthy disturbance. They are no longer living in a residential area, but above a building site.
Health bills will increase as disturbance to neighbourhoods increase. Yesterday a skip delivery (mere) at 7.45 a.m. Lorry with clanking chains backs up running onto the curb, narrowly misses a car, clanks onto the far curb, depressing the curbs and cracking the paving (cost to the Council). Builders commence emptying bag upon bag of dusty materials into the skip. Cars and window ledges and windows within 20 minutes are coated with a film of thick dust. We are breathing this. What does this do to our health and to our children's health 6 days a week for the next two years ?
The other consequence which is not generally of concern to Westminster City Council is the devastation of our terrace housing stock, the irreversible and irreparable damage to the structure of terraces as whole buildings, the damage to the houses on either side which are now marred with vertical and diagonal cracks with windows and doors which won't open and close. the stucco details which start to fall off, yes, and this is without going down even one storey !! The Council needs to consider what it is allowing to be done to the town plan, literally, how historic architecture is being literally wrecked for the short term gain of those wealthy enough to purchase properties from developers, or to engage the basement development firms who are readily assisted to negotiate planning by the Head of Building Control and the Head of Planning, as basement developments are "easier to push through", on the pretext that they don't actually affect the town plan because they can't be seen by the public.
That of course is rubbish as you only need to look at the back of the houses on Courtnell Street, or Talbot Road W2 to see the appalling mish mash that has become of the backs of the buildings, visible actually from Artesian Road. Then on the outskirts of Westminster opposite Kensington and Chelsea we only need to take a quick look at the mess that Ledbury Road has become to see that Westminster Town and Country Planners need to go back to school on the historic built environment. The calm line of our wonderful stock of terrace buildings is being turned into a shanty development of the four by four accommodation variety with security gates great gate posts and as Pasolini said of the Fascist extensions and false porticos of the rich and invasive....
built with the concrete or pissoirs.
We need an alteration in the designation of the use of buildings for development from residential to heavy industrial. Then health safety mechanisms might apply for emissions of polluting particulates and noise insulation. The developers wreck the pavements and the neighbouring houses, they shouldn't be allowed to do this in the first place, but if they do cause damage they should put the street, the pavements, the trees and the neighbouring houses back to how they were before the works and Westminster City Council should not just say oh it's up to the Party Wall Surveyors who are only an extension of the developers team and in the same Pyramus and Thisbe club as the District Surveyors and the same lodge of trouser legs.
Anon for fear of reprisals