The Independent London Newspaper

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Mews residents face two years of building disruption as double basements get the go-ahead

Residents Mike Sibley, left, and Paul Singer who are opposed to the basement development

Published: 12 September, 2013
by WILLIAM McLENNAN

CONTROVERSIAL plans to excavate a double basement and create ­luxury homes in a quiet Marylebone mews were given the green light this week, despite fierce opposition from residents.

The development in Oldbury Place will see “substantial demolition” of the former stables and workshops to create three townhouses with double basements to be used as cinemas and gyms. 

A 500-strong petition opposing the scheme was handed to Westminster Council planning officers  and objections were also raised by St Marylebone School for Girls, the Princess Grace Hospital and the Maldive High Commission that will also be affected by the building work.  

Councillor Ian Rowley, speaking on behalf of local residents, outlined the opposition to the excavation which will require two years of building work to remove nearly 1,000m3 of soil.

He said: “What’s proposed is seriously excessive, disproportionate and inappropriately located.

“First of all there’s the ground water issue, which has been found six metres below the property, which means this is a real threat to the water table and drainage. Also, there’s a real risk of subsidence and damage to foundations of listed housing abutting the rear facade of the development. The whole of this basement development mania is really quite recent and so we don’t have that many cases we can look at for the long-term impact of allowing excessive basement developments and the impact on listed buildings.”

After listening to the objections the panel of councillors gave permission for the development at a planning committee meeting on Tuesday night. 

Judy Sibley, who lives opposite the development, said: “It is unbelievable that the council let this controversial application go through. This is a gross overdevelopment of a restricted site in a small mews. People across Marylebone objected to the council. Over 500 people signed our petition.  And did the council listen to our detailed objections?  No. Did they listen to the developer and his planning consultant? Yes. 

“Is this the democratic process?”

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