A London council is seeking to impose an average £8,000 fee for securing planning consent on a below-ground extension – already dubbed ‘the basement tax.’
London’s Evening Standard free newspaper says Westminster council is set to introduce the fee with revenue going towards a dedicated ‘basement enforcement team’ of 15 officials who will monitor construction of subterranean extensions and whether it complies with restrictions on noise, working hours and truck deliveries.
The Standard says the move follows a huge surge in the number of planning applications for vast basements, some with facilities such as swimming pools, saunas, gyms and cinema rooms over the past decade.
Westminster planners receive around 150 basement applications annually and have already enforced size limits.
“We’re sticking up for local residents, many of whom have found the explosion of basement development in recent years hellish. It is right that those who want to build basements should contribute to this new service, which will work to help mitigate the negative impacts” explains Robert Davis, Westminster council deputy leader and ‘member for the built environment.’
“Westminster city council supports the right kind of growth and is not against all basement development, but they must be carried out in a way that is considerate to local residents and the environment” adds Davis in a quote carried by the paper.