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London borough tightens basement rules

The London borough of Kensington & Chelsea has announced plans to tighten regulations on construction of new basements following a Health & Safety Executive (HSE) inspection of sites across the capital at the end of last year.

The borough said that the results of the HSE inspection, which lead to 26 out of 41 sites inspected being issued with a prohibition notice, combined with the significant rise in applications for new basement construction has created a need for improved regulation. The borough reported that it received 256 applications for basement schemes last year compared with 64 in 2003 and the rate of increase was matched by a rise in complaints from neighbours about projects give the go-ahead.

Borough cabinet member for planning policy Tim Ahern said that the new regulations are likely to restrict excavation to just one storey and force residents to apply for planning consent even if the site has permitted development rights. The new planning documents are expected to be drawn up by the end of this year.

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