Islington Council to consult public on ‘super basement’ restraints

Cllr James Murray

Cllr James Murray - Credit: Archant

Deep basement excavations could be banned by Islington Council if a consultation finds they are having a damaging effect on the borough.

ILast month the Gazette revealed that builders were digging one and a half floors down at new houses in Canning Road, Highbury, leading to concerns over the structural integrity of properties nearby and a spoiling of the borough’s character.

Councillors said the problem had emerged as a by-product of the huge house price rise – which makes it easier to recoup the money invested in building an extra room – but were unable to block the excavations as the town hall had no official policy on it.

But now the council have have opened a consultation to the public and property developers with the view to introducing new planning controls.

Cllr James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing and development said: “We’re seeing a growing trend towards big basement extensions as the value of homes in Islington - particularly large ones – continues to soar.

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“We need firmer rules to protect the borough’s gardens and trees for the future, and to prevent long-term impacts on the character and structure of homes further down the line.”

This year there have been 62 householder applications containing basement developments submitted to the council, up from 41 in 2013.

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The size and depth of the excavations have also increased with “super basements” being dug under gardens, losing trees and animal habitats.

Measures proposed in the consultation include new limits on the extent of basement developments to protect the long-term future of the gardens and trees above.

It also suggests a policy to control the heightened flood risks and structural impacts that subterranean developments may present.

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