St John’s Wood has seen an explosion of basements over the last 15 years due to the high property values in the area. Generally the Society does not object to the development of basements of one level under the footprint of the existing house or if there is a modest intrusion into the garden which does not affect mature trees.
We object to basement proposals which represent an overdevelopment of the site and are out of proportion to the existing house.
We are very concerned about the environmental issues arising from excessive basement developments, notably the loss of our historic gardens, the damage to trees, flooding to neighbouring properties, the removal of large volumes of spoil from the site, the noise from plant, light pollution for neighbours from large light wells in the garden and last but not least, the unsustainability of artificially ventilating underground spaces.
The Society has worked closely with our two major landowners, the Eyre Estate and John Lyons Charity to assist in and influence the creation of their basement guidelines.
The Society was also consulted by Westminster City Council in preparing their basement guidelines and policy.
The construction of basements seriously impacts on the lives of local residents and we encourage anyone who is thinking of creating a basement to take their neighbours into account and consult with them before a planning application is submitted to the council.
Karen Buck MP (above) has been championing the control of basements in Parliament at the request of the Society .
USEFUL LINKS/ READING
Article in From The Wood : Autumn 2018
The Society's Magazine
Pity the neighbours
Digging a basement will always be noisy and cause vibrations beneath the delicate historic building fabric.