London council to introduce basement tax

5 September 2016

Wealthy London homeowners who plan to dig underground extensions are to be hit by Britain’s first “basement tax” in a fresh crackdown on “anti-social” iceberg homes, the Evening Standard has reported.

Under the new rules, residents in Westminster will have to pay an average levy of £8,000 to secure planning permission for the often hugely unpopular subterranean excavations.

The money raised will pay for a dedicated basement enforcement team of 15 officials who will monitor whether construction work complies with restrictions on noise, working hours and number of truck deliveries.

The so-called “sub squad” will also act as a point of contact for complaints about neighbours who are carrying out excavations. 

The move follows a huge surge in the number of planning applications for vast basements over the past decade, some with facilities such as swimming pools, saunas, gyms and cinema rooms. 

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.”

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