The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has successfully resisted a judicial review challenge to its decision to grant planning permission for a basement development in a Victorian terraced property in the Norland Conservation Area.

A neighbouring resident challenged the grant of planning permission on the ground that it was contrary to the Council’s 2015 basement policy which restricted basement development to a single storey. He argued that previous extensions to the property in the 1960s and 1990 had exhausted the rights to any further basement development. He further alleged that in granting permission the Council had failed to properly have regard to the preservation or enhancement of the character and appearance of the Conservation Area.

Mr Justice Hickinbottom rejected both grounds of challenge. He found that the Council’s interpretation of policy CL7 was correct – it only applied to prevent the creation of a second basement floor where a basement floor had previously been added to the property since 1948, and did not apply where the original lower ground floor had merely been extended laterally. In reaching its decision, the Council had proper regard to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character and appearance of the Conservation Area and its decision that the proposed development would preserve its character and appearance was legally unassailable.

Isabella Tafur acted for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.