Jude Law’s neighbour’s basement plans ‘won’t cause row’ like actor’s gym excavation

The neighbour of Hollywood actor Jude Law has lodged plans for a basement extension on a historic Highgate street – but his architect has reassured the community that it won’t ruffle as many feathers as the A-lister’s own excavation.

Hampstead-raised architect Nick Burns has submitted proposals for a single-storey basement underneath his Grade-II-listed home.

The house is adjacent to that of Sherlock Holmes star Mr Law, whose own plans for an underground gym at his listed home in 2011 initially sparked considerable concern from members of the Highgate Society.

But Mr Burns’ Kentish Town architect Richard Keep, who also designed Mr Law’s basement, said the new application is no cause for alarm. He said: “We are not going anything to change the house’s appearance and we are doing what all the other houses have done in terms of their basements. All the other basements in the street go down to that level, so we are just filling in a gap,” he added. “We showed the Highgate Society around to let them see what we are doing, so I don’t think there will be the same kind of press [as before].”

Despite the reassurance, Highgate Society planning and development chairman Elspeth Clements remained cautious about the application. She said: “It would be more reassuring if we had a comment from an engineer to this effect as it’s impossible to predict, particularly with historic houses, of what the impact of this would be.”

Mr Burns submitted the plans last week to extend the house’s existing cellar to create pottery workshops, a studio and extra bedrooms for his grandchildren underneath the footprint of the entire house and part of the back garden.

He plans to retire at the house with his wife after 45 years of working as an architect in Hong Kong.

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The house was originally built as the dining room and billiard room for Mr Law’s £8million Georgian mansion, but was divided in the 1950s to become a self-contained home. Mr Law’s basement excavation was believed to be the first on the architecturally-renowned street - the name of which cannot be revealed for privacy reasons.

Despite initial concern, the plans were approved without a single objection after Mr Law was said to have “charmed” the Highgate Society and his neighbours.

Mr Keep, of Richard Keep Architects in Grafton Road, said that because the house already has a cellar, there is no risk of flooding.