|"Beware! Iceberg Ahead"|
For owners of townhouses, the opportunity to increase the footprint can be a challenge as outside space is typically at a premium. The is particularly true when you look at homes located in wealthy London boroughs where not only is outside space limited but also planning restrictions are commonplace, and it therefore requires some innovative thinking when it comes to dramatically increase living space.
In recent years, we have seen a rise in planning applications for subterranean developments, where architects (who are literally thinking ‘outside the box’) create plans for huge underground extensions of single, double or even triple storey basements in order to add significant square meterage to their clients’ homes.
Also known as ‘mega basements’, these extensions have become increasingly popular, yet are also creating a stir with many applications being disputed by neighbours who are concerned about development occurring below their own properties (not to mention the disruption caused by the huge excavation work).
Only this week we saw an article published about a £15m Kensington townhouse that had been painted in red and white stripes, mimicking the style of a beach hut, in an alleged protest to neighbours who disputed a planning application for such a development taking place at the home.
While some councils are now starting to put new rules in place to restrict the extent of basement plans, it does highlight the point that when you’re about to embark on the purchase of a new home, it pays to do your homework to understand what planning applications have been submitted that could impact on your own property.
Landmark’s PlanSearch Plus provides an overview of residential and commercial developments and planning applications that may have a significant impact on the property being purchased. It also includes other pertinent neighbourhood data, including the Local Development Framework (which will indicate where new applications may be made in future), information regarding schools, population demographics, housing types, average prices and a summary of key local amenities.
By reviewing PlanSearch Plus as part of the conveyancing process, purchasers can be are forewarned about any potential developments that could infringe not only on the enjoyment of their new home, but also its future value.
After all, just because one can’t see any visible signs of development, with iceberg homes growing in popularity, you never quite know exactly what’s happening beneath the surface.