The High Court & Policy changes
Consultants, architects, developers and homeowners will recall the landmark Eatherley v LB Camden High Court case as reported in the National press.
Mr Justice Cranston ruled against LB Camden who issued a Certificate of Lawfulness for a one storey basement dig. Mr Eatherley's lawyers argued the proposed work included a substantial engineering operation which was not within the permitted development rights.
Prior to this, London Boroughs had started to implement Article 4 Directions to control basement builds that were originally deemed (by some authorities) as permitted development. The London Borough of Kensington Chelsea made an A4 Direction on 15 April 2015 to remove permitted development rights for basement extensions to single dwelling houses across the Borough. The London Borough of Camden (certainly pushed by the context of Kentish Town case) Article 4 Direction for basement development came into force on the 1st June 2017. This effectively ends the ability for householders to build a basement under their homes under PD. To add to the hurdles, LB Camden, at a similar time, imposed more stringent planning policies on basement builds including rules on overall coverage, set backs etc. The document requirements for basement builds are substantial and require external auditing by some London authorities.
On top of the construction costs, basement builds are not to be taken lightly and are subject to a number of up front costs and stringent policy tests.