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Fury at plan to dig seven basements in one Chelsea street



Basement plan: Ovington Street in Chelsea Picture: Google Street View

Jonathan Prynn, Consumer Business Editor
Joshi Herrmann

The owner of seven houses on a quiet street in Chelsea has caused uproar by winning planning permission to dig basements under all of them.

One resident, retired interior designer The Duchess of St Albans,  said it was “absolutely outrageous” that so much disruption should be inflicted on locals.

The seven early 19th century homes on Ovington Street are owned by a British Virgin Islands registered company called Property Investments (Chelsea) Ltd.

Earlier this month it was given the green light from Chelsea & Kensington council to create single storey underground living spaces under each of them in one of the biggest mass basement applications ever seen in London.

Because the houses are all Grade II listed the basements will have to be dug out under the back gardens rather than the homes themselves.

Another resident businessman Paul Hearn, said: “Everyone was absolutely gobsmacked,” by the planning approval. He aded: “I border one [prospective basement], I’m one away from bordering a second and I have two opposite me.”

Residents have calculated the street, where houses fetch around £4 million, will have to cope with more than 100 lorry movements a week during the peak of the work.

But planning adviser Kevin Scott who worked on the application said there was “no intention to start digging basements immediately” and the timing of the planning application was largely driven by the council’s plans to place much tighter controls on them.

The planning permission is valid for three years and the construction work is lightly to spread over that time, Mr Scott said.

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