‘Landmark’ basement case is resubmitted

An animator who lost a landmark case for a proposed basement extension under his small terrace house in Kentish Town has provoked the wrath of his neighbours by resubmitting his application.

James Ireland lost his first fight for a bigger basement at his railway cottage home in Quadrant Grove in October 2014, after neighbours successfully argued against a “loophole” which allows homeowners to dig for extra space without full planning permission.

Mr Ireland initially applied to build a 350 square foot bedroom complete with en-suite bathroom beneath his £1.2 million home, but councillors on Camden’s planning committee disallowed it, despite their planning officers recommending approval.

Now, just over a year on, Mr Ireland has again asked the council to consider his request for a certificate of permitted development for the construction of a basement.

Such certificates allow for minor redevelopment to a property where the work will not significantly impact on other residents.

Round two of Quadrant Grove’s basement wars has now broken out, with one disgruntled resident writing in their letter of objection: “The level of disruption and noise pollution to the residents during the course of the excavation and building works will be intolerable.

“Because this street is so small, nearly all residents will be affected by this...These houses are not solidly built and have minimal foundations, and so the impact on the houses on either side, and possibly further in the terrace, is almost inevitable.”

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The Quadrant Grove Residents’ Association has written to the council to express “the strongest possible objection” to this proposal.

Christopher Sallon, a criminal barrister who chairs the association, wrote of his concern over the council’s approach to permitted development (PD) rights.

He wrote: “We wish to register our deep concern about the way in which Camden policy and decision making in this area is evolving.

“First, there is a real perception that the council is not adopting an entirely even-handed approach between applicants and objectors in this area....It has become apparent from a number of recent cases that instead of deciding each renewed application on its merits, the council has adopted a pro-forma rubber stamp approach which tends to favour applicants, and which, owing to 40 per cent cuts by central government, is wholly cost-driven.”

Camden gave a seminar for all councillors on its revised policy towards permitted development last October, after planning chief Cllr Phil Jones said that due to the risk of losing costly court cases, the council’s approach towards PD “must regrettably change”.

Planning officers will be obliged to look at Mr Ireland’s proposals again before making their recommendations to the council.