Primrose Hill woman claims basement excavation is ‘ruining lives’

Primrose Hill is known for its row upon row of pretty and expensive houses.

But for one woman, living in the exclusive area has become a nightmare.

Clare Latimer, 61, could be forced to leave her home in Elsworthy Road after building work next door, which includes a basement excavation, caused cracks to appear in her adjoining flat.

Ms Latimer claims constant drilling and banging from builders is making her and her neighbours’ lives a misery.

She said: “It’s very unsettling because the cracks are getting larger and we know this noise is going to go on and on, then I’m going to have to move out of my home while it is repaired.

“I’ve worked hard all my life and now I have retired and this has just ruined it. It’s dreadful and it’s such a shame because this is such a lovely area but these basements are just ruining everybody’s lives.”

According to Ms Latimer, the problems began in August after the collapse of a wall on the building site next door.

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She said: “At about 7am there was an almighty crash and my friend who was staying round went into the back garden and saw great clouds of dust appearing.

“We then noticed there were small cracks right the way through the house and since then it’s got worse. I think somewhere along the line there has been huge incompetence.”

Michael Preedy, a representative from Shore Securities Ltd, the Isle of Man-based company behind the development, said the collapse of the wall had been a “disaster” for the project.

He explained: “The building moved on the right-hand side which is why it looks crooked. What we needed to do was make sure the building was stable so a lot of scaffolding went up.”

Mr Preedy said the collapse of the wall was caused by a “slippage” and that the company is now awaiting permission from Camden Council to re-build the fallen structure before they can continue with the basement excavation.

But he insisted the wall’s collapse had not caused the cracks in Ms Latimer’s walls and that they could have been caused by “shaking” from basic building work or be “as a result of the wet weather”.

He confirmed the company were obliged to carry out or pay for any repair work required as a result of the development.