Space is at such a premium in the capital’s swishest postcodes that the only way to get more is to dig down. This has led to a boom in mega basements, also known as iceberg basements. This form of home improvement has become so popular that The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea passed a policy to reduce the size of these basements and to make it tougher to get planning permission, and Westminster is adding a ‘basement tax’ of £8,000 to all builds. From SW1 to SW7 and NW1, we’ve taken a look at London’s most outrageous basement conversions.
Damian Hirst, Regents Park
Artist, entrepreneur and art collector Damien Hirst is currently in the middle of constructing his mega basement. The plans include a 150ft gallery with double height ceilings to display his art collection, which consists of works by Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol and Picasso, as well as a 25-metre pool and a car park.
Leonard Blavatnik, Kensington Palace Gardens
Leonard Blavatnik, a Ukraine-born American businessman and investor, is believed to have built one of London’s biggest and deepest basements under his mansion in the uber-affluent Kensington Palace Gardens. This gated street was once the centre of the diplomatic community in London and is now known as ‘billionaire’s row.’ Blavatnik’s iceberg basement is said to consist of a pool, gym and a garage to house his collection of cars.
Andrew Lloyd Webber
Composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber, is another famous face who has excavated a mega basement under his London home. However, very little information on what he has built is out in the public domain. He joins the long list of celebrities such as Nicole Kidman and Roman Abramovich who have all extended underground.
Stuccoed townhouse in Knightsbridge
Source: Westminster council
This typical white stuccoed townhouse in Knightsbridge plans on having a two-story basement conversion that will almost take up the entire plot of land. This homeowner wishes to add a pool, gym, sauna, cinema and staff quarters.
Foxtons mega basement in South Kensington
Jon Hunt, the owner of London’s most controversial estate agents, Foxtons, is currently going through a bit of a basement nightmare in leafy South Kensington. Hunt has been embroiled in a planning row with the French embassy for a number of years. In 2008, he was awarded planning permission to create an iceberg basement which would make his property one of the largest and most valuable in London. However, his neighbour, the French Ambassador, launched a legal battle against him. The Ambassador lost.
In response to the case brought against him, Hunt and his wife changed their plans to make a smaller basement. Due to a technicality the planning department rejected this, which means the billionaire can build his mega basement after all. However, due to access issues he and his neighbours, the French embassy and the High Commission of India, are still fighting over the proposed plan. The plans include an infinity pool and an indoor tennis court.
Not all basements need to be iceberg mega basements and the vast majority of the time the planning process is simple and easy. At Simply Basement, we will guide you through the planning process and help you every step of the way. If you would like to add more space to your home with a basement then contact Simply Basement for a free site survey.Share this: