With land becoming a scarcity in London and strict legislation on how high you can build, individuals and developers are looking to build downwards. This is not a new phenomenon and has been common for many years now, but the trend is now becoming more widespread, extending beyond the most expensive postcodes. In fact, a recent news story appeared in the Evening Standard (2016) regarding the planning consultation process in RBKC and apparent lack of awareness on a massive mega-basement extension by Charles Delevingne.
The purpose of these basements will vary from individual to individual, but will typically include a room for an office, gym, pool and Jacuzzi and sometimes an elevator. The nature of Grade 1 and Grade 2 listed buildings – found in locations such as St. James Park in Westminster, or even Kensington, Chelsea and Belgravia – are likely to have these types of improvements. But it is important for individuals to consider the significant upheaval and disruption this may cause for the neighbours.
Interestingly Charles Delevingne has spent nearly two years seeking planning approval and overtime this has incurred significant costs drawing up party wall agreements – which often require involved and complicated negotiations and advice. Remaining aware of the consequences this planning could cause is important.
You should also keep in mind any ‘hidden costs’ – For instance a standard basement will typically cost circa £500 per square foot, often increasing to £750 – with ordinary size mega-basements often exceeding beyond 1,000 square feet at a typical price of circa £500,000. Needless to say employing highly qualified professionals such as architects, developers and planning consultants is of the greatest importance and must be considered within your costings.