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This is a significant area of concern for the Highgate area, as increasing numbers of homeowners seek to enlarge their properties through this type of development.  As all of us will know, Highgate occupies an area of high groundwater saturation, compounded by the presence of many underground streams and tributaries to the Fleet River.  The Society is anxious to control the spread of mega-basements throughout the Conservation Area, particularly given the documented impacts such projects have on neighbouring properties and gardens, as well as forward planting schemes.

The issue is, however, not only contentious but also complex in terms of navigating planning policy and regulation. Legislation is emerging quickly, and it will be important to bear in mind policies proposed by the Draft London Plan and those that will be implemented as part of the revised National Planning Policy Framework.  The Highgate Neighbourhood Plan also has firm guidelines which are now legally binding for Councils as they make their decisions.

If you are concerned about a basement application in your neighbourhood, The Highgate Society Planning Committee Surgery – Saturdays, 10:30-12:30, 10A South Grove, can offer help and advice on how to respond.  Please also see our webpage on Other Non-Planning Legislation for information on The Party Wall etc. Act.

Further information

For information on Haringey’s most recent policy statements, please refer to the adopted Development Management Plan, and in particular Policy DM18, “Residential Basement Development and Light Wells.”

The Camden policy is still in draft form.

You may also find the following policy statements and documents from other London Boroughs helpful in terms of identifying potential problems resulting from basement development in your immediate vicinity, and in learning about the practices and methods applied to planning decisions on these projects elsewhere.

City of Westminster Supplementary Planning Document.

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Basements Planning Policy.

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames Good Practice Guide on Basement Developments.

The following webpages from other London-based local amenity groups also provide information which some members of the Society have found useful in explaining how basement developments are affecting their locality and outlining how they are addressing the issues which have arisen therefrom.

The Heath & Hampstead Society

The Ladbroke Association 

The St John’s Wood Society 

CRASH (Combined Residents’ Associations of South Hampstead)