March update

Basement development rights

We have mentioned previously that there are concerns about the impact on neighbours of basement developments. At present, many of these fall into the category of “Permitted Developments”, which would mean that they don’t need to go through the normal planning process. However, the law is not clear on this point and may not be intended to cover developments, such as basements, which involve major engineering works.

At present, Camden Council does treat applications to dig out basements as Permitted Developments. This has been challenged by a local group, who have taken legal advice and have concluded that there is a strong argument for Camden to take a different view, as some other local authorities have done. Camden concede that this is a difficult area, and have now said that it intends to use its planning powers to withdraw these rights (through the use of ‘non-immediate’ Article 4 directions) throughout the borough. When the directions come into force, basement development will need planning permission and take into account the Council’s planning policies. However, this process could take a year.

Meanwhile, the local group that has been pursuing this issue intends to challenge Camden’s current position in the courts. They are keeping the legal costs to a minimum and have raised some of the money they need, but would very much welcome contributions towards their fighting fund. If you would like to make a contribution towards this, please let us know and we will put you in touch with the group. We have no mandate to spend IARA funds in this way.

Camden Community Connectors

Are you worried about an older person who may be isolated? Were you seeing them more than you do now? Maybe they have lost a loved one or their health has deteriorated? If the answer is yes, you may be interested to know about this new service.

Camden Community Connectors helps isolated or potentially isolated older people (over 60) find and join activities that suit their interests and needs. They can support people to deal with any difficulties that they may have in joining in and give them the confidence to make contact with the practical and emotional support of volunteers.

They are working across Camden to reconnect communities and are part of Ageing Better in Camden, a 6 year project aiming to increase local community opportunities and help more older people to access them. Please pass this information onto anyone that may benefit from this support and contact Camden Community Connectors for details of what they are doing and how you can get involved. Call Sarah, based at Castlehaven Community Centre, on 07834 177 151 or email sarah@camdencommunityconnectors.org.uk. You can also visit www.camdencommunityconnectors.org.uk or call freephone central number 0800 161 5716.