Tiny Kentish Town street aims to set ‘historic’ legal precedent over basement builds

10:00 11 August 2014

Residents of Quadrant Grove in Kentish Town are defiant over a neighbour's plan to build a basement. Residents from left are Andrew Bache, Nicole Segre, Len Whiting, Khursheed Singh, Lynn Whiting, Barbara Thorndick, Lucinda Sturgis. Picture: Dieter Perry

Residents of Quadrant Grove in Kentish Town are defiant over a neighbour's plan to build a basement. Residents from left are Andrew Bache, Nicole Segre, Len Whiting, Khursheed Singh, Lynn Whiting, Barbara Thorndick, Lucinda Sturgis. Picture: Dieter Perry

Dieter Perry

Residents of a tiny street in Kentish Town could set an historic precedent over the legality of future basement builds after becoming embroiled in a “bizarre” planning war with a neighbour and the council.

Households along Quadrant Grove have formed a united front to block the construction of a basement in their “fragile street” – and to oppose controversial powers being used more and more to bypass planning regulations.

It comes after an application for the one-storey basement faltered last year when an independent report procured by Camden Council raised serious questions over the structural impact construction would have on neighbouring houses.

The applicant has now instead sought a “certificate of lawfulness” from the council, allowing them to use “permitted development” powers to build the basement without needing any permission.

The group of furious 40 opposing residents – which includes a high profile QC, a structural engineer and a prominent housing expert – are intent on taking their fight to the courts, the outcome of which could shake up the city’s entire basement construction industry.

Resident Barbara Thorndick, former chief executive of a prominent housing association, said: “Our tiny street cannot cope with basement work, both structurally and in terms of noise, dust and congestion.

“And we’re incredibly worried about the impact it will have on our houses. Basements have become a cause of so much aggro in neighbourhoods across London. They’re not solving the housing crisis and it’s time they were brought under control.”

Building down has become big business in London as property prices continue to rise and land space remains tight.

Amendments to planning laws in 2009 made the practice easier for households, but the residents of Quadrant Grove hope their case will see a reversal in 2014.

Quadrant Grove resident Christopher Sallon, a prominent QC, said: “The law on whether permitted development covers basement builds like this needs to be cleared up.

“We’ve sought legal opinion from expert barristers who say the powers do not cover basement builds. And they say we have a high chance of winning should we need to get an injunction.

“It’s something that has never been taken to the courts before so we could set a precedent across the whole metropolis.

“We recognise it’s very tempting for families to build down but these are tiny little houses with no deep foundations.”

The council is understood to have sought its own legal opinion on the issue but has so far refused to provide it to the residents. The group is currently awaiting its decision on whether construction of the basement will be granted under permitted development.

But their local councillor, Labour’s Alison Kelly, said: “The council must do all it can to make sure the development does not go ahead.

“The residents of this unique oasis of calm mustn’t suffer months of disruption.”

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 13:38

Four Weddings and a Funeral film star Sophie Thompson donated a piece of art to an exhibition in aid of the National Hospital for Neurology in Queen’s Square, Bloomsbury.

Yesterday, 07:00

They say the allegations are part of a smear campaign against them by cyclists who want to see CS11 implemented in North West London.

Mon, 18:23

A banned pet owner who crammed dozens of animals into her filthy Crouch Hill home has been spared jail – again.

Mon, 13:38

Plans to double the size of Brent Cross Shopping Centre in a £1.4billion makeover have been revealed by its owners today.

Mon, 12:52

The husband of West Hampstead mum Nazanin Ratcliffe has won the backing of more than 100 British politicians in calling for foreign secretary Boris Johnson to secure her release from a five-year jail sentence in Iran.

Mon, 11:17

Plans to develop Hornsey Town Hall into a hotel were approved by Haringey Cabinet on Tuesday, despite an impassioned last minute plea from campaigners

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Cyclists say they are lucky nobody was seriously injured after tacks were discovered on the roads inside Regents Park as the row over a proposed new cycle superhighway in north west London escalates.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news


Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now