DC Casebook: Housing new build - Basement space avoids amenity claim

An enforcement notice against the excavation of rear gardens to create basements at three south London buildings has been quashed after an inspector held that satisfactory living conditions would be provided and the works would not unacceptably limit amenity space.

Each building was being converted into five flats. The inspector noted that plans for the ground-floor flat in each property showed four bedrooms. He agreed that more space was unlikely to be needed in these, but held that this was no reason to refuse permission for an increase in their size.

Provided the basement space was part of one or more of the ground-floor flats and not a separate unit, he found that dismissal could not be justified on the basis of unsatisfactory sunlight, privacy or outlook. He held that living conditions would only be unsatisfactory if the space were used as a separate flat, noting that the deemed proposal was not for this use.

The council argued that the amenity space provided would be unacceptable because it was at basement level and enclosed by high walls. The inspector observed that this was not unusual in cities, adding that four flats in each property would have no garden at all.

DCS Number 100-058-504

Inspector Doug Morden; Hearing.

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