Residents and Hampstead’s Conservative local councillors have been fighting against one of Camden’s largest basements, on Ornan Road.
The proposal requires digging under Ornan Court, possibly destabilising next-door Rosslyn Court: both large blocks with shallow foundations.
Camden Council was going to wave through the plan until councillors Stephen Stark and Oliver Cooper asked for it to be subject to full scrutiny.
The Council’s planning officers nonetheless recommended it be approved and the mainly Labour-led Planning Committee approved it.
This is despite it involving the building’s partial underpinning: risking differential settlement and damage to the neighbouring building.
Despite the complexity and danger, no basement construction plan — critical to minimise the risk to neighbours — has been provided.
Why did Camden Council recommend approval without a basement construction plan? Cllr Stark — a chartered civil/structural engineer
and party wall surveyor — has raised concerns.
A previous proposal was turned down for affording the new basement flats inadequate natural light. The new application has two
FEWER windows, so why was this acceptable? Cllr Stark has challenged this.
Residents queried that it appeared that the Labour councillors on the committee improperly followed the lead of the Cabinet member. Cllr Stark queried this, but was sadly dismissed.
The planning process must change to reflect our area’s unique character. With experts like Stephen Stark as Conservative councillors, Hampstead is well served in the fight against over-development.