I'm against Hampstead's new underground movement

I AM writing to express my support for the campaign by the Heath and Hampstead Society against the granting of planning permission by Camden for underground extensions (Basement craze will dig up a hole load of trouble, H&H July 12) having been in a simil

I AM writing to express my support for the campaign by the Heath and Hampstead Society against the granting of planning permission by Camden for underground extensions (Basement craze will dig up a hole load of trouble, H&H July 12) having been in a similar predicament.

The Hall School applied for permission to construct an underground swimming pool. On the school's own estimate this would have taken at least nine months and 300 lorry loads of earth would have had to be removed. The misery this would cause to neighbours and the damage a fleet of heavy lorries alone would cause to the area can easily be imagined, coupled with the very real risk of permanent subsidence damage to our homes.

Camden managed to reject this application as it would have involved the destruction of a long established protected tree. The decision was upheld by the planning inspector following an appeal.

Clearly there must be something wrong with a system which can allow the construction of luxuries such as underground gyms and swimming pools, whilst at the same time the very real concerns of neighbouring residents - whose lives are going to be disrupted and whose homes may be seriously damaged - are not taken properly into account.


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It is really not good enough to be told, as we were, that if such a development is given permission all a private individual can do is wait and see, and if in fact his home is damaged his only recourse is to seek compensation himself, it being a purely private law matter.

In Kensington and Chelsea these wider considerations are taken into account and planning permission will not be given if neighbouring properties would be adversely affected.

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ANTHONY KAY

Crossfield Road, NW3

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