Basement Review Draft policy and other measures for public consultation

Comment ID 417
Document Section Basement Review Draft policy and other measures for public consultation 2- Review of the Core Strategy box1 34.3.74 [View all comments on this section]
Respondent Miss Arbuthnot [View all comments by this respondent]
Response Date 31 Jan 2013

Page 14 paras 34.3.74    Not ‘Construction traffic CAN cause …’ but ‘Construction traffic INEVITABLY causes …’  (When has it ever not?!)   ‘… must demonstrate …’ – How?  Can this be quantified in some way?  What recompense to the Council and the Council Tax payer is to be levied to deal with damage to the highway outside the application site, and to resurface the highway subsequently if/when damage occurs?  Suggest that the Building Owner be required to pay in full for resurfacing the highway, and to pay the minimum of an equivalent sum to the Council to recompense the local residents for the related inconvenience.   Ditto to Thames Water and to other utility companies.


Page 14 paras 34.3.74 and 75             In this area, a significant number of properties are digging out their basements at the same time, taking years about it in many cases.   The roads are blocked with the boxes built into the road to hold the debris, with the grab hire lorries, with the skips, with the cement lorries, such that traffic flow is severely impeded, often for years at a time.   Parking spaces are taken away for the purpose, when the number of spaces available is already significantly less than the number of cars with permits.   More than one basement excavation in a small area causes horrendous congestion and can significantly lower the quality of life for the neighbouring residents, who can no longer assume that they will be able to go down a neighbouring street which may well be blocked by lorries and skips.   At times this is so bad as to constitute a form of harassment, albeit not necessarily with malicious intent.   The conditions you suggest can only be applied property by property, but when a number of properties are doing the same thing concurrently, the effect, however well-planned one or two of them are, can be appalling.   Para 75 specifies that they must take into account the cumulative effect, but how is this to be achieved? 


Neighbours of these properties can suffer economic loss through no fault of their own for which they are not compensated.   In particular, they may have to employ additional cleaning help and additional administrative help, as well as needing to use more of their own time – and the time of many people in the Borough is very expensive.   Not only so, but if the Council Tax has to be used for rectifying damage to Council property and if the Council Tax is not increased proportionately, there is an opportunity loss.   Should these costs and expenses not be borne by the Building Owner, who is in any case adding value to his property?  Adjoining Owners, many of whom are novices in these matters, should be informed in full of all their rights and privileges, and of any and all protections afforded to them under the law.   I am aware of one case where an Adjoining Owner refused entry to the Building Owner because a Party Wall Notice had not been issued, and where the Adjoining Owner was told that, under the terms of the Act, the front door could be knocked down in order to force entry.