The Telegraph has a catty but inaccurate piece on the proposed ‘basement excavation’ (see below) on her £7.95 million Grade II listed new home, The Grove, at Highgate Hill, which was built by Blake and owned by Coleridge. Annie Lennox is a few doors down and friends Sienna Miller and Jude Law in the neighbourhood.
The application which includes basement gym and steam room
local Green Party councillor Maya de Souza has weighed into the debate by warning that the work could disrupt local water supplies.
Explaining her reservations, she said: “My concern is the impact on groundwater flows. This has been known to impact severely on neighbours and can affect water bodies like Highgate ponds as well as causing construction-related nuisance.
“Large basements can mean huge numbers of lorry movements which cause too much disturbance and a risk to other residents.”
She added: “I’ll be asking for proper reports on groundwater and the early submission of a contract management plan and if they are not satisfactory I’d like to see the application refused.”…
One neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: “Kate’s house is beautiful as it is – why is she so determined to turn it into something it is not?”
He added: “The groundwater in Highgate is easily disturbed and can easily cause flooding to neighbours if workers are not very, very careful.
“A number of basement conversions in the area have caused serious problems in the past and the people who live around here just want them to stop.”
So what about the science?
A report by Arup Geotechnics for K&C last year found
A solitary, isolated basement is unlikely to affect groundwater flows. It has been suggested that it may be useful to require subterranean developers to leave a buffer of soil between adjacent basements in order to enable groundwater to flow around and between individual basements. This provision is unlikely to be necessary as the groundwater in London’s water table can tend to find an alternative route, even under obstructions as large as “city blocks”. Concerns about theimpact of subterranean developments on groundwater levels and flows are likely to be misplaced.
However one would expect councillors to actually read the planning application notifications and look at the plans. The application is for listed building consent only. There is no basement excavation Andrew Lloyd Webber stylie.
The application is solely to for modest alterations, not excavations or extensions, as the plans show, including a tiny gym and steam room entirely within the existing sub-basement. I hope the Telegraph and the good Cllr apologise to Queen Kate.