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BBC weather forecaster urges council to reject basement dig

Same Swiss Cottage road has already seen three excavations and residents have had enough

10 May, 2018 — By Richard Osley

Stav Danous’s letter has been published by Camden Council

AND the forecast for the north-west of the borough is: noise, dust and disruption.

This is the storm warning from one of the nation’s favourite weather presenters, who has appealed to Town Hall planners to block basement digs at homes in Swiss Cottage.

Stav Danaos has filed an official objection to a new excavation plan at a property close to his home on a road near South Hampstead overground station. The area has seen a series of home expansion projects which involve digging below ground.

“I am a professional BBC TV weather presenter and I have to work shifts, often through the night,” said Mr Danaos in his message to the planning department, on public view at Camden Council’s website.

“While I appreciate I have to accept a reason­able amount of noise from traffic during the day, the amount of noise disturbance resulting from the basement digs is completely unacceptable. There have been three excavations on my side of the road and in close proximity and also four adjoining excavations on the street opposite, result­ing in continuous disturb­ance and disruption for several years.”

He added: “I really feel that residents in the street have had enough and wish to object to this planning application.” Several other neigh­bours have objected to another round of digging work, aimed at creating the three-bedroom base­ment flat. The project, if approved, will also see a new rear extension built onto the ground floor. Overall, the building will be split into seven flats.

Peter Symonds, chair­man of the Combined Residents Association of South Hampstead, said: “Residents of this street have had their lives blighted by continuous pollution, dust and noise during the non-stop developments which have gone on here over the past four years.”

He added: “Unlimited basement developments in any one street have already been seen to have the effect of redirecting existing water courses and underground springs with, frequently, disastrous effects for neighbouring properties.”

Peter Symonds from CRASH

Camden’s planning department is considering a number of applications for basement excavations, including in Tufnell Park and West Hampstead.

In the case of the Swiss Cottage applicat­ion, the property’s owners have said there will be no damage to neighbours’ homes.

A basement impact assessment carried out on behalf of the applicants says: “There are no springs recorded on OS maps in the vicinity. The develop­ment is unlikely to detrimentally affect groundwater abstraction wells, wells or springs.”

The application suggests there is a precedent for planning approval. “Many of the properties have lower ground floors set into a semi-basement, while some neighbouring properties of identical design have full base­ments,” it says. “To the rear of the terrace, there is a significant amount of recent development, particularly down the hill, many full width, and most of which have been granted consent in the last 10 years.”

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