Basement Extensions Don't Go Down Well with Neighbours

Article excerpt

Byline: MIRA BAR-HILLEL Planning Correspondent

A CRAZE for basement extensions is triggering complaints from neighbours across London.

The number has doubled in many areas as families seek to improve their houses rather than sell in a falling property market.

But those living near the developments, which cost up to [pounds sterling]3 million, say they are intolerably noisy and accuse councils of failing to police the disruption.

TV host Matthew Wright has spoken of his year-long "nightmare" as his neighbour in a Primrose Hill mews undertook a major basement extension.

He said the noise and stress caused him to quit his Radio 2 show. Even earplugs would not cut-out the din caused by contractors working for architect and developer Ian Patty.

At its worst, residents claimed a cement mixer smashed a sewerage drain and leaking cement left their toilets blocked. Wright, 43, said: "I've been assaulted by noise and vibration for more than a year. I wouldn't wish what I've been going through on my worst enemy. Vibrations from the work can be enough to shake the whole bed while I am in it." Residents' association treasurer Mariusz Stochaj, 45, said: "There was a total lack of consideration for the neighbourhood." But a woman living opposite, who asked not to be named, said Mr Patty "was very apologetic and has made peace with everyone". Mr Patty could not be reached for comment.

Wright, the host of Channel Five's The Wright Stuff, faces more disruption.

Camden council planners will decide on a similar scheme across the road on Thursday. Wright said: "I fear that another huge double basement will be too much for such a small, stressed community to bear." A new extension in Kingstown Street is planned by former Merrill Lynch banker Patrik Zeigherman and includes a home cinema and gym. …