Camden closes basement development ‘loophole’

All basements digs will need planning permission from June next year

As expected, Camden Council is following Westminster, RBKC and Islington in clamping down on subterranean extensions.

The borough has agreed to deploy an Article 4 Direction, removing permitted development rights and meaning that all basement excavations will need planning permission as of 1st June 2017.

The move, said a statement, “closes a loophole” and has been made in response to “residents’ concerns over the growth of basement development in the borough”. It also allows Camden to manage impacts of construction like noise, vibration, and construction traffic.

Councillor Phil Jones, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Transport & Planning: “We have agreed to introduce new planning controls to directly tackle the concerns of our residents surrounding the development of basements. These will ensure that all basement developments in the borough require planning permission.

“The newly agreed control is called an ‘Article 4 Direction’, and will mean that all basement excavations will need planning permission and will be assessed against the Council’s planning policies, closing a loophole where a basement built entirely underneath the footprint of the building did not need permission.

“Residents applying to build basements will need to demonstrate that it would not harm neighbouring properties, or cause flooding or ground instability.”

Camden is also proposing to follow other central London boroughs by introducing a new policy for basements in its Local Plan, which will set limits on the size of basements, including to 50% of the garden area, and to one storey in depth.

In other planning news, RBKC has kicked back at new regulations granting a new permitted development right for light industrial uses.

Following the Government’s announcement in April, planning permission will no longer be required for a change of use of a light industrial unit to resi from October onwards. The Royal Borough thinks this will make it very difficult to protect the remaining light industrial premises that it has, causing job losses and “degrading the contribution that the Borough makes to the wider economy”.

As such, a non-immediate Article 4 Direction has been made to keep the requirement for planning permission in place in the wards of St Helen’s, Golborne, Notting Dale and Colville, along with the Lots Road area. Other premises have also been also marked for protection across the borough.