Tough new rules on basement developments in Westminster

Thu, 04/08/2016

New residential basement rules have come into effect as of 1 August 2016, as Westminster City Council responds to the increasing trend of subterranean developments.

From now on, all residential basement developments in Westminster will be subject to the council’s new planning controls which, amongst other constraints, will limit basements to a single storey.

New basements will also not be allowed to be built underneath more than 50% of total garden land.

Over the last 5 years Westminster City Council has received on average 150 applications per annum, and a trend towards more ‘iceberg’ basements where homeowners dig down two or more storeys. 

The noise, dust and impact on traffic (caused by construction vehicles removing soil) has had a significant impact on neighbourhoods, often for an extended period of time. This has led to the council putting in place stricter policies to limit the impact of basement developments on our residents. 

Anyone seeking to construct basements will be expected to adhere to best practice and to undertake neighbour liaison.

Recognising that sometimes it is the cumulative impact of construction sites which can cause most nuisances, the council will ensure that different sites work closer with each other to reduce unwanted impacts. This could mean timing quiet periods to align with other sites, as well as coordination of deliveries to minimise traffic disruption.

Cllr Robert Davis MBE DL, Westminster City Council’s Cabinet Member for the Built Environment, said: “Any development in Westminster must be sensitive to the heritage of our city and take into account the impact on local residents.

“Local people should not have to live with continual disruption as a result of extensive basement developments.

“These tough new rules on residential basements will go some way to addressing their impact on our residents and ensure that those developments that do take place are carried out in a considerate manner.”

Last updated: 24 August 2016
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