The conservation and amenity society for the Ladbroke Conservation Area in the

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea





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Basement development is perhaps the most contentious subject with which the Ladbroke Association has had to deal in recent years, almost entirely because of the appalling noise, dirt and damage that neighbours frequently suffer during the construction of a basement development, often lasting two years or more. We were among the first to campaign to make basement construction more tolerable for those living nearby, and are still campaigning for reforms, both by Government and by the local Council.

These pages aim to give some useful information both for those planning basement developments and for those unlucky enough to live next door to a property under which a basement is being excavated, as well as describing what the Ladbroke Association is trying to achieve by way of changes to the current system.




Click here for RBKC policies on basements


The Ladbroke Association Survey and Report on subterranean developmentn

   The Association has long been concerned about the impact of subterranean developments in the Borough as a result of the relatively large number of planning applications that have now been granted for constructing single or multi-level basements under existing house and gardens.

    In Spring 2009, the Association selected a number of properties in the Borough where planning permission had been granted for a significant basement development, and conducted a survey of the occupants of neighbouring houses to establish what their main concerns were. Based on the replies received to the survey, the Association prepared a Report with recommendations for improving the way that such developments are dealt with in the future. These recommendations are addressed both to the Council and to Central Government. Some of our recommendations have been adopted; others we are still pressing for, as this is an issue that continues to cause enormous concern.

The links below provide a web view of the Report; a PDF version for printing; and a separate summary of the responses:




The changes that we would now like to see

In the light of developments since our survey and report, in 2012 we drew up, inconjunction with the Chelsea-based Considerate Basement Development Group, two updated "wish-lists" of changes that we would like to see to make basement development more tolerable for those unfortunate to live next door or nearby. One of these lists sets out the changes that we would like to see made to the policies and practices of local authorities in areas afflicted by basement development. Unfortunately, however, the power of Councils is tightly constrained by current legislation and by central Government. Our second wish-list, therefore, sets out the changes that we believe should be made by central Government. Both wish-lists have been updated to take account of developments up to December 2015. There are links to our two wish-lists below.




Attempts at legislative change

Various attempts have been made in recent years to introduce new legislation in order to mitigate the problems caused by basement construction.


The Localism Bill (2011)

 When the Localism Act 2011 was being taken through Parliament, a number of peers tabled amendments to it to provide for local authorities to have better control over basement construction in their area. None was accepted by the Government.


Subterranean Development Bill (2011-12)

 In December 2011 Lord Selsdon introduced a Subterranean Development Bill in the House of Lords. It received its Second Reading on 10 February 2012, with many peers making speeches in support – see

Record of Debate. But the Government did not make time for the Bill to be taken any further.


The Bill was drafted with the help of a group of surveyors from the Pyramus and Thisbe Club – an association of people with a special interest in party wall matters who collectively have enormous expertise. It was described as “A Bill to make provision for the regulation of subterranean development work; to establish a code of practice for subterranean development work; and for connected purposes”, and contained a lot of useful material. We hope that Lord Selsdon will find an opportunity to revive it some day. Text of Selsdon Bill..



The Permitted Development (Basements) Bill (2013)

 Karen Buck, MP for Westminster North, one of the MPs who has been most active in pushing for a better deal for those living near basement construction works, tabled this “10-minute rule bill” in 2013. 10-minute rule bills are effectively a way for back-bench MPs to make a gesture and never get any further, so no text for the Bill was published, but it was described as “A Bill to regulate the construction of new basements and extensions to basements; and for connected purposes”. It was debated in the House of Commons on 12 November 2013.


Debate in the House of Lords on 12 March 2015

Lord Dubs asked a question in the House of Lords on 12 March about any Government plans to change the law on basements. Several other peers intervened in support, but the Government spokesman again toom the line that Councils already had sufficient powers to deal with problems caused by basements. Text of debate.


Basement Excavation (Restriction of Permitted Development) Bill 2015-16

Karen Buck, MP for Westminster North, tabled a second "10 Minute Rule Bill" on basements on 16 September 2015. It is due to have its second reading on 29 January 2016, which will give MPs an opportunity to debate the issues. However, as explained above, 10 Minute Rule Bolls rarely get any further, although they can serve to put pressure on the Government. Text of Karen Buck's speech introducing the Bill.


Planning (Subterranean Development) Bill (2015)

Lord Dubs tabled this Bill which had its second reading on 20 November 2015. It provides for a presemption against basement development and for a special planning regime for basements, under which, if there was significant ,ocal opposition to a subterranean development or it is likely to cause unreasonable disruption to neighbours, Councils could only grant consent if the basement was considdred reasonably necessary for the proper enjoyment of the relevany property. It will only progress further if the Government makes time available, which seems unlikely at present, although the more pressure is put the more likely this is to happen.

Text of Bill.

Record of House of Lords debate on the Bill.




Party wall matters.

Click here for information on the Party Wall Act and party wall awards in the context of basement development.





The results of the Ladbroke Association survey clearly showed that noise was perceived by most people to be the major problem arising from the construction  phase. The Milner Street Area Residents Association has prepared a useful note on Noise Control in RBKC. Although is is not specifically about noise from basement excavation, some of it may be of interest to those suffering from basement construction noise.

The Council is also now preparing its own code of practice on construction noise, which we welcome.


This page was last updated on 30.11.2015.