Search

Victory against Hampstead mega-basement that risked plunging family home ‘into abyss’

PUBLISHED: 16:39 09 April 2014 | UPDATED: 16:39 09 April 2014

Oliver Froment's home sits on two columns at one side. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Oliver Froment's home sits on two columns at one side. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

A father has won his battle against a huge basement leisure complex after planning chiefs agreed the project could have caused his house to collapse.

Father-of-two Oliver Froment breathed a huge sigh of relief after Camden Council rejected his next door neighbour’s plan for an underground cinema, library and games room in Pilgrim’s Lane, Hampstead.

Councillors sitting on last Thursday’s development control committee feared that the 3.75metre-deep excavation could have jeopardised the stability of Mr Froment’s home, which sits above the ground on two pillars on one side.

The proposed excavation area went right up to the columns holding up the house, which he shares with his wife and children.

The 63-year-old managing director of a financial services firm criticised the council’s planning officers for recommending the scheme’s approval.

“I have given up months of my life to this and been a nervous wreck,” he said.

“What I can’t understand is how the application got this far in the first place.

“If the planning officers had done their jobs, it would have saved a huge amount of taxpayers’ money and individuals’ money.”

Committee member Cllr Flick Rea (Liberal Democrats) said that her “gut instinct” was that “this is a house that’s going to fall into the ground”.

Neighbours including Lady Pamela Hare, The Countess of Listowel, and solicitor Nusrat Zar, an expert on human rights and freedom of information, also opposed the project.

Ms Zar, who lives two doors away, said: “The application could cause harm and result in ground instability and the risk of flooding.

“Mr Froment’s house is at real risk of damage or even collapse and it could leave an entire row of houses exposed to water overflow.”

Hampstead Town members Cllr Linda Chung (Lib Dem) and Cllr Chris Knight (Conservative) both spoke out against the application, with the latter saying the building was in danger of falling “into the abyss” if the excavation went ahead.

Councillors were also concerned about the size of the excavation, saying it was only slightly smaller than a design rejected in 2011.

Michael Doyle, the applicant’s agent, said: “We have not yet decided whether to appeal or submit another scheme, but my client is very disappointed.

“The councillors’ decision contradicted officers’ advice. This was a much-reduced scheme.”

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

The Alternative Clothes Show returned to Crouch End last Saturday, March 25, where students from City and Islington College joined local models to showcase a range of dazzling outfits crafted using recycled materials.

13:57

A former MOBO award winner took part in a five-hour drumming marathon at King Alfred School to raise money for Comic Relief on Red Nose Day.

Detectives from Camden have released CCTV footage of a man they would like to speak to in connection with a burglary at Holborn Mosque.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Parents are concerned their toddlers’ dirty nappies will be abandoned by Camden Council once they cut services, following chaos when they tried to register for a free weekly collection.

Friday, March 24, 2017

A British Transport Police officer was today fired for using “excessive and unnecessary force” on a member of public during an arrest at St Pancras station.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Hampstead couple Haleh Babavand and her husband Ash Parsa spoke to the Ham and High about their experience of home schooling.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Runners preparing for the YMCA North London’s Crouch End 10km event on Sunday May 21 can now join weekly training sessions every Tuesday evening up until race week.

Friday, March 24, 2017

A team of Hampstead schoolgirls have beaten 8,000 rivals to reach the final of a competition to find the best code breakers of the future.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now