Plans go in for Claridge’s mega-basement

Neighbours consulted about five-storey, 1,800 square metre extension, but what will Westminster's new 'sub squad' say?

Mayfair institution Claridge’s has lodged plans for the mother of all subterranean extensions, just as Westminster steps up its long-running battle against basement projects.

The Maybourne Group wants to add another five-storeys under the Art Deco wing of the world famous Grade II listed luxury hotel, to make room for some “must-haves” including a swimming pool, wine cellar, in-house chocolatier and back of house.

The 1,800 square metre addition would entail works on Brook Street, Davies Street and Brook’s Mews and 700 letters have been sent out to local residents. The consultation ends next week and we’d bet on some pretty colourful responses from neighbouring addresses.

Maybourne argues that the project would actually benefit locals by cutting down on the number of delivery vans needed by the hotel.

A spokesperson told the Mail: “Claridge’s is excited about our future development plans to put in place state-of-the-art, sustainable technology and systems which will further enhance services for our guests, staff and neighbours, taking this iconic Mayfair hotel’s vision into the next century.”

Robert Davis, Westminster’s deputy leader and cabinet member for the built environment, told The Times: “Westminster City Council supports the right kind of growth and is not against all basement development but they must be carried out in a way that is considerate to local residents and the environment.”

Claridge's by Tim Westcott

The news comes in the same week that Westminster announced plans to levy a charge on subterranean developments to pay for new nuisance policing measures.

The council has stepped up its battle against “un-neighbourly” developments, unleashing what it’s calling a “subterranean squad” to keep a beady eye on things.

“The noise, dust and traffic impacts of basement development have had a big effect on local residents”, said the council in a statement, “and they will now have a group of dedicated council officers to contact”.

After receiving an average of 150 applications for such projects every year since 2011, tough new rules were recently brought in to limit basements to a single storey and no more than 50% of total garden land.

This latest initiative – the first of its kind in the country – will police subterranean projects across the borough from this month onwards.

The big news is that the service will be funded by a levy on those building new basements.

The new charges will cover the cost of delivery of the service “based on hourly rates” – a resi basement scheme will cost around £8,000 on average and it’s estimated that the largest developments will be charged “around £30k”…

Check out the Claridge’s plans here

Images: Down the stairs at Claridge’s by Boss Tweed (CC-BY-SA-2.0)

Claridge’s by Tim Westcott (CC-BY-SA-2.0)