Karen Buck, MP for Westminster North, has introduced a Private Member’s Bill to Parliament that is designed to strengthen the ability of local councils to resist basement development. The Permitted Development (Basements) Bill 2013-14 had its first and second readings on 13th and 22nd November. Sir Malcolm Rifkind, MP for Kensington is among its presenters.
The Bill would limit basement construction to a single storey and half the extent of any garden and stop it altogether under listed buildings and their gardens – as is proposed by Kensington & Chelsea’s revised policy (and that of Westminster). It would also require planning applications to show how contractors proposed to transport earth and materials without blocking people on foot and vehicles – a key issue in narrow streets.
Ms Buck made a strong case for action in the House but, given the failure of a previous Bill, the small geographical extent of the problem (a few London Boroughs), and the Coalition’s understandable wish to support investment and jobs in construction, it is hard to see the Government supporting it. That means doom.
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