New planning controls for basement developments

Camden Council has agreed to implement new controls to effectively address residents’ concerns over the growth of basement development in the borough.

Currently, under national legislation, planning permission is not required for a basement that is built entirely underneath a property and does not extend beyond it, for example, underneath the garden or surrounding land.

Councillor Phil Jones, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Transport & Planning
“We have agreed to introduce new planning controls to directly tackle the concerns of our residents surrounding the development of basements. These will ensure that all basement developments in the borough require planning permission.

“The newly agreed control is called an ‘Article 4 direction’, and will mean that all basement excavations will need planning permission and will be assessed against the Council’s planning policies, closing a loophole where a basement built entirely underneath the footprint of the building did not need permission. 

“Residents applying to build basements will need to demonstrate that it would not harm neighbouring properties, or cause flooding or ground instability.”
Councillor Phil Jones, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Transport & Planning

The new control means that the Council also has greater powers to manage impacts of construction like noise, vibration, and construction traffic. The changes will come into force on 1 June 2017.

You can read more information about Article 4 Directions on our website.

The Article 4 Direction is one part of the Council’s strategy to manage basements. Camden’s existing approach requires developers to demonstrate that a basement does not harm neighbouring properties through a basement impact assessment, and this is subject to independent verification commissioned by the Council. Most basement permissions require a Construction Management Plan (CMP).

Since April 2016 all CMPs are required to pay a fee to fund the specific technical input and sign-off that is required to ensure that the obligation is actually complied with and ensure that the planning objective we are seeking to secure is actually achieved (compliance with the CMP). In addition, the Council proposed to introduce a new planning policy for basements in the Local Plan which sets limits on the size of basements, including to 50% of the garden area, and to one storey in depth.