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...building a mega-basement

If the old adage is to be believed, money may not buy happiness, but it can certainly buy you a 1,700ft mega-basement beneath your exclusive £4million West London property. At least, it might if it wasn’t for the protestations of your pesky celebrity neighbours.

Mark Underhill, National Operational Accounts Manager with Simpson Millar’s Conveyancing Department, takes a look at the furore surrounding the application for a mega-basement, which has got residents of a swish London suburb up in arms.

Cause for consternation

The trouble started when Nick Pointon, the Vice President of Finance at the company responsible for the once unfathomably popular ‘Candy Crush’, submitted an application for an unfathomably large basement to be installed beneath the £4 million terrace situated in the swankier than thou enclave of Barnes, West London.

The suburb, a tranquil ‘village’ with tree-lined pavements and red-brick housing, also happens to be home to famous faces such as ex-Gunner turned pundit, Lee Dixon; former custodian of the Swingometer, Peter Snow; and ‘Mog the Forgetful Cat’s’ chief wrangler, Judith Kerr, none of who are too chuffed with Mr Pointon’s proposals.

Local residents’ cause for consternation lies not only with the disruption and noise that the dig out threatens to bring to the gentle repose of the street, but also from the fact that one of Mr Pointon’s neighbours had a similar installation undertaken in 2009, which caused damage to 3 properties in the road and has been blamed (along with other mega-basements popping up in the area) for the subsidence affecting some of the properties therein.

“Orchestrated neighbourhood campaign”

A total of 102 complaints have been lodged with the council handling the application, yet they appear to have fallen on deaf ears, with the planning officers set to approve the proposals. This is despite the houses in the area, which are over 100 years old, not having been built to accommodate such oversized basements, the sheer weight of them requiring the sturdy foundations upon which they stand to guarantee their integrity.

In his defence, Mr Pointon claimed that he was the victim of an orchestrated neighbourhood campaign, unfairly targeting him because of the experiences following previous basement digs. He added:

“We want to set the standard for all basement construction in Barnes and we have demonstrated it through the planning process. This is the most thorough basement application ever put in.”

Commissioning searches and property surveys

Mark Underhill comments:

“This news item demonstrates the importance of not only getting the right searches carried out before committing to buying a house, but also commissioning a property survey.”

“A local authority search will reveal planning decisions in the area that might affect the property you are considering for purchase, whereas a property survey will reveal underlying problems such as subsidence or other structural defects that could prove considerably costly if discovered after you’ve bought the house.”

“This underlines why a seasoned conveyancing solicitor, who has the expertise and experience to guide you through the property buying process, is your best bet. If you are looking to buy a property, we can help. Get in touch with one of our conveyancing team today.”

Written by Mark Underhill.

For more information on conveyancing and the services offered by Simpson Millar, please call:

0808 129 3304

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