London Boroughs Crack Down on Basement Conversions

January 9, 2015 11:17 am

london conversion home

Homeowners are often conflicted when thinking of ways to improve their home – in London, where space is at a premium, the choice is often whether to build up or down. While basement conversions enjoyed a boom over recent years, particularly in the more expensive areas of London, their popularity may be coming to an end as London boroughs commit to reducing the number of applications they accept.

In 2001, the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea received 46 planning applications for basements, in 2013 it received 450 – these conversions often cluster on certain streets, sometimes causing structural damage to streets and neighbouring houses.

Both loft conversions and basement conversions offer an excellent way to gain more space in your home when there isn’t the option to extend outwards and you prefer not to move – they also add significant value onto your home. However, loft conversions are typically completed in far less time and don’t always require planning permission. There are also fewer concerns such as waterproofing and how to introduce light, since these issues are either non-existent or easier to resolve when working a the top of a building.

New Regulations Favour Loft Conversions

Many London boroughs are bringing in regulations that limit the amount that can be excavated under a home, thereby limiting the potential size of a basement conversion. For example, Kensington and Chelsea is limiting excavation to a single storey (in most instances) and to 50% of the footprint of a house. If a homeowner would like to add the maximum square footage to their home, a loft conversion is the clear winner as they can be built to much more than 50% of the total footprint of the house.

(Image via the Guardian)


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