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Basement excavation landmark ruling due

PUBLISHED: 10:03 04 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:43 07 September 2010

A LANDMARK ruling will be made by Camden Council tonight (Thursday) on plans to build a basement in Hampstead. An application to dig out a subterranean leisure complex, including a swimming pool, in South Hill Park has been recommended for a

Tan Parsons

A LANDMARK ruling will be made by Camden Council tonight (February 4) on plans to build a basement in Hampstead.

An application to dig out a subterranean leisure complex, including a swimming pool, in South Hill Park has been recommended for approval by planning officers.

The proposal will be discussed by the development control committee. Anti-basement campaigners believe this will be a crucial ruling that could set a precedent for all future basement applications in Camden.

Heath and Hampstead Society chairman Tony Hillier says that, if the plans are approved, it will create a genuine danger of flooding in the property itself and in neighbouring houses.

He said: "The geological and hydrological report supporting the application we believe to be seriously flawed.

His view is based on a report commissioned by the City of London Corporation and submitted to the council. It highlights concerns over the impact the excavation could have on underground water flows.

Mr Hillier added: "The basement goes below the level of the pond next door which is a designated reservoir.

"I don't think Camden Council is aware of these problems because they weren't in the developer's report.

"We and the City are making the committee aware of the problems and I would be very surprised if it does not turn the application down.

"I think given the legal and geological facts, it will be a seriously important decision.

"We feel very strongly that this application shouldn't go ahead.

"There are a number of these applications in the pipeline in Hampstead and, unfortunately, a number which have already been approved."

The plan under discussion are part of an application to refurbish the property. It includes extensions at the side and back of the house and replacement of the garden boundary wall.

A Corporation spokeswoman confirmed that the authority had requested a more detailed flood assessment before Camden gives the plans a green light.

A spokeswoman for Catherine Lee Architects and Interiors said: "The application has been carefully analysed by Camden Council and found to be in accordance with all planning and other relevant policies.


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