Middleton Advice paper: How do I get permission for a basement in London?

9th December 2015

There are plenty of good reasons to extend your existing property in London, rather than move. Transferring from a typical £2m to £3m property would incur additional legal, agency and Stamp Duty costs in the region of £320,000. This money could alternatively be invested in your current home and would very likely enjoy an instant premium as soon as the building work is complete.

Planning scrutiny.

With lateral and loft space practically saturated and often subject to planning constraints, it’s not surprising that Londoners have been creating basements in order to obtain valuable extra square footage. Even this has now come under scrutiny from Planning and Conservation departments, leading to a secondary trend – the joint planning application between neighbours.

Beyond conventional limitations.

According to architect Alex Tart, “In order to look beyond the conventional limitations imposed on household extensions, we have increasingly encouraged our clients and potential purchasers to consult with their neighbours on possible joint applications.”

In particular, this process can eliminate typical challenges associated with building extensions on restricted sites in built-up areas, namely the loss of light to neighbouring properties. When adjoining properties apply simultaneously for extensions alongside one another, such problems can be eliminated and can instead offer mutual benefits to the owners.

Advantage of joint applications.

There are plenty of precedents now for joint applications which have succeeded where single applications would almost certainly have been refused or subjected to restrictions which would have impinged on the cost/benefit equation.

From an architectural perspective this enables property-owners to develop impressive schemes which stand out from the norm, and add hugely to their quality of life. On the investment side, these projects can often offer a greater return. They can often be completed more economically and with less overall disruption, in particular if the work is carried out at the same time and potentially even by the same contractor.

Middleton advice. Fall in with your neighbours. Download this Advice Paper as a PDF.

Thanks: Alex Tart Architects. 

Advice papers. Middleton Advice is a series of top-level answers to questions that are often raised over the course of our client relationships. It’s important to note that you should not proceed with any investment decision on the basis of the advice contained in these papers without further consultation with Middleton or other professional advisors. Information accurate at publication date of October 2015.

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