Neighbours in mews get the basement blues

NEIGHBOURS are furious over plans to demolish two houses in an iconic Belsize Park mews and replace them with a bigger house and basement

Marc Mullen

NEIGHBOURS are furious over plans to demolish two houses in an iconic Belsize Park mews and replace them with a bigger house and basement.

Developer Michael Nathanson has applied to demolish two, two-storey houses in Daleham Mews, just doors from Lord of the Rings actor Sean Bean.

Mr Nathanson wants to replace the homes with a four-floor building complete with sunken courtyard and underground TV room.

Neighbours now fear the development will undermine their homes, which are built without foundations, and are also angry about possible long-running disruption from the works.

Gordon MacLean, chairman of the town sub-committee of the Heath and Hampstead Society said: "I am sure we will be opposing this. We don't like this sort of intrusion in the mews. It's far too big. It's not on. It's conspicuous from Daleham Gardens.

Most Read

"Access for construction will be very difficult indeed, and the works will cause obstruction to everyone."

Another nearby neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "I am absolutely dreading it if this is approved. I am worried about my house and I work from home. The noise from these works will be unbearable."

Daleham Mews has traditionally been used for car mechanics' businesses and was built in the mid-nineteenth century.

In its planning statement, Belsize Architects say the design is only relevant from the mews aspect as the house is not visible from the rear. In its submission it cites two other properties which were given permission for basements - at numbers 11 and 29.

Number 29 is also owned by Mr Nathanson, and was bitterly opposed by residents.

Mr MacLean said: "Although number 29 looks okay now it has been a nightmare for people living on the mews. It was left unfinished for two years.

"It's an example of a basement development that is no more than a damn nuisance to everyone."

Last September Mr Nathanson first submitted plans for the house, but they were withdrawn in October. Residents say there is little difference in the new plans.

Councillor Chris Knight said Camden Council should "toughen up" on applications for basement developments, which can cause massive disruption for neighbours.

"The effect on neighbours' properties does worry me, but if done properly the house with the new basement should be structurally sound," he said.

"Whilst heads of terms can be agreed with neighbours if cracks do appear when work is going on, neighbours have to use lawyers, which no one wants to do."

Mr Nathanson was unavailable for comment.