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Westminster Council sets up new basement development watchdog

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Westminster City Council will fund a new team to reduce nuisance from basement developments, funded from a charge on property owners who build them

The dedicated team will monitor noise, dust and traffic impacts from basement development as part of the council’s new code of construction practice.

The council says that the charge will cost homeowners around £8,000 on average, with the largest attracting a charge of about £30,000.

Robert Davis, Westminster deputy leader and cabinet member for the built environment, said: ‘We are sticking up for local residents, many of whom have found the explosion of basement development in recent years hellish.

‘It is right that those who want to build basements should contribute to this new service, which will work to help mitigate the negative impacts.

‘Westminster City Council supports the right kind of growth and is not against all basement developments, but they must be carried out in a way that is considerate to local residents and the environment.’

The new team will help co-ordinate deliveries to reduce impacts, check that developers are keeping neighbours informed, enforce stricter working hours and provide a point of contact for residents.

The council said that, ‘as a final resort’, it could use traffic powers to limit the number of licences for basement projects on any one street at a time.

Last year, the council introduced new rules which would restrict the depth of basement schemes to one storey in most cases. It is also proposing to remove such schemes from the permitted development regime.

Bad basement build

Unsafe basement build 2

An unsafe basement-excavation project photographed by Health & Safety Executive officers in the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham


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