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Basement extension rules set to change

Wed, 05/08/2015

Westminster City Council has announced that it will be using legal powers to stem the flow of mega-basements across central London.

Alongside new policies to limit the size and depth of basement construction, the council will be using an article 4 direction to insist that all applications for basements to residential homes have to be considered through the council’s planning process.

Currently, many basement extensions to dwelling houses can be done under permitted development rights, and therefore without the need for planning permission.

Cllr Robert Davis, deputy leader of Westminster City Council, said: “All basements will now go before the council’s planning department, allowing neighbours and local communities to have their say and for developers to demonstrate they will not cause undue harm to neighbours or the character of the area.”

The move is sparked by the City Council’s revisions to Westminster’s City Plan – adopted in November 2013, it is the overarching document that governs planning matters in the City.

The Basement Revision provides a policy framework for determining planning applications for basement development beneath an existing building, where that building is residential or is in the vicinity of residential development.

The City Council is proposing to:

  • limit basements to a single storey except in 'exceptional circumstances'
  • introduce a measure to limit extent of basements to 50% of site area
  • bring forward a new code of construction service to manage impacts on neighbours

The Publication Draft documents for the Basement Revision, and supporting documents can be viewed or downloaded from the City Plan page

Tested by an independent inspector, if successful they will be adopted and used to decide basement applications.

Find out more about basement extensions.

Last updated: 5 August 2016