A hole lot of trouble

A basement dug in haste could lead to a £20,000 fine and a criminal record
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A builder who created chaos in a quiet street in a Fulham conservation area by attempting to dig a basement under his own home faces a huge fine and a criminal record for not getting planning approval.

Last year, Piers Rance asked Hammersmith & Fulham council for permission to add an extension and garage to his house in Cloncurry Street, SW6, and excavate under the garden to create the new basement.

But before the application had been heard, Mr Rance had already started the work, digging out the basement and leaving only the façade of the house still standing.

When the council declined to approve the extension, Mr Rance appealed to a Government planning inspector, who visited the street and concluded his project “would neither preserve nor enhance” the Bishops Park conservation area and would “cause harm to its character”.

Mr Rance now faces a criminal prosecution for going ahead with the work, for which he could be fined £20,000.

Councillor Nicholas Botterill, deputy leader of the council, said: “Mr Rance appears to have virtually demolished this house in a conservation area. Most people in this borough realise that their actions impact on others. We are keen to create a borough of opportunity and welcome responsible development. People simply cannot take matters like this into their own hands.”

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