Planning & Environment

Excavating new basements may rarely be an issue outside of London (Edinburgh restricts itself to conversion of cellars), but the recent English High Court decision in Eatherley v London Borough of Camden shows the complexities of applying the definition of “development”.

The judge held that development of a new basement, when there is nothing underneath at present, could involve two activities:

  • enlargement, improvement and alteration
  • also an engineering aspect of excavating a space and supporting the house and its neighbours

As a result, the planning authority should have assessed the additional planning impacts of the engineering works to decide whether they amounted to a separate activity of substance.


Neil Collar

Partner at Brodies LLP
Neil is a partner at Brodies LLP and consistently rated as one of Scotland’s leading planning lawyers. He is well known for both his planning inquiry advocacy and his advisory work. Neil has a particular interest in renewable energy developments.
Neil Collar