Wealthy London homeowners planning to dig underground extensions beneath their properties will be hit by Britain’s first “basement tax” in a fresh crackdown on so-called iceberg homes.
Under new rules enforced by Westminster yesterday, residents will have to pay an average of £8,000 to get planning permission for basement extensions, which are often hugely unpopular with neighbours.
The size of the fine will be decided by the council and will depend upon the scale of the project and the likely disruption it will cause.
The tax so far only applies to homes in the London borough of Westminster but if the policy is a success it is thought the basement tax could spread throughout the capital if other councils follow suit.
Westminster bosses claim the noise, dust and traffic impacts of around 150 basement developments which take place each year in the borough, have had a significant negative effect on local residents.
The move follows a surge in the number of planning applications for vast basements on multi-million pound town houses, some with facilities such as swimming pools, saunas, gyms and cinema rooms over the past decade.
The number of planning applications to dig basements in London has doubled in two years, as soaring house prices mean homeowners can make a healthy profit from such developments.
The money raised will pay for a basement enforcement team of 15 officials who will monitor whether construction work complies with restrictions on noise, working hours and number of truck deliveries.
This “sub squad” will also act as a point of contact for complaints about neighbours carrying out nuisance work.
Recently-introduced rules include planning controls which limit basements to a single storey, and forbid them from being more than fifty per cent of total garden land.
Robert Davis, Westminster City Council deputy leader and cabinet member for the Built Environment, said: We are 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. 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.
Homes which already had basement extensions dug out will be unaffected by the new tax.
The size of someone’s basement tax bill will be calculated depending on how extensive the work they want to do it. A residential basement scheme will cost around £8,000 on average, but the largest developments will be charged around £30,000. The new charges will cover the cost of delivery of the “sub squad” service, based on hourly rates.
News Source TelegraphNews