The following case concerns the construction of a basement under a new house in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Readers might be aware of the Borough’s progress towards the earth’s core in the wake of ever increasing surface land and property values, and a Compass search will reveal innumerable cases where neighbours have raised concerns about the effect of basement construction on the structural integrity of their properties. In DCS Number 400-010-067, however, it was highway safety which was the principal matter of contention.
The inspector was concerned that during the construction of the basement there was potential for significant harm to road traffic flow, parking and safety due to the movement of construction vehicles. He reasoned that this was particularly so given the narrow, enclosed nature of the mews with significant demand for car parking and only narrow entrances at either end. He observed that the entrances were only negotiable by relatively small vehicles, requiring concrete to be transferred from large delivery lorries outside the mews itself. Whilst he found that the appellant had clearly given some consideration to all aspects of construction traffic management, the submitted draft construction traffic management plan nevertheless failed, in practice, to demonstrate that the construction of the basement would not result in unacceptable harm to road safety.
The following DCP chapter is relevant: 12.211