A basement development in Richmond likened to one under a house in Barnes that collapsed last year has been approved despite safety concerns.
The planning application to build under a house in Selwyn Avenue was unanimously approved by the council’s planning committee on Wednesday night, subject to a number of conditions and building regulation compliance.
The safety profile of "ice-berg" developments has been raised after a multi-million pound riverside townhouse, which was undergoing extensive basement work, collapsed in Barnes in November 2015 and Selwyn Avenue resident Elaine Young said she feared history might repeat itself.
Ms Young also highlighted how there have been three sinkholes in the road in the past decade, and how her own house, next door to the property for which the application was made, has very shallow foundations.
She said: “It could cause expansive and ongoing damage to our house.
“Building controls have been unable to prevent serious damage to houses such as those that recently collapsed in Barnes, Lewisham and Hackney.
“There has been a large sinkhole in the middle of the streets on three occasions to my knowledge and the road was closed for months.”
The house in The Terrace, Barnes, collapsed in November 2015
Wendy Edmonds, who lives in nearby Pagoda Avenue, 14 homes away from the property, also expressed her concerns about the development.
She said the foundations for her own home were just 12in deep and it had been underpinned extensively twice since she had bought it in 1978 after 19 cracks were found across the property.
She said: “If you just underpin the wall between 62 and 60 it won’t be enough [to be structurally safe].”
The application was recommended for approval by council officers and was approved unanimously by the planning committee.
Councillor Clare Head said: “There are a lot of worried residents and we can understand why from the history.
“We have to rely on the building regulations; it will not be built if it is not safe.
“I am confident we have got a tried-and-tested method and we should follow the officers’ recommendations for approval.”