New Guidance: Richmond Upon Thames

Creating stunning basements is a challenging business at the best of times. Our clients have decided to make major changes to their properties, investing significant sums into their homes to benefit their families.

Most basements are developed in modest properties by people who need more living space in their homes; the villainous ‘iceberg’ basements which dominate the headlines are very few and far between. In fact, less than 1% of the basements we work on are more than one storey.

As if getting planning permission for a basement, local authorities are constantly throwing obstacles in our way. This time it’s Richmond Upon Thames.

If you would like to speak to a member of our team about your basement options, give us a call on 01628 826066 or email us.

Assessment Process

The London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames (LBRUT) have published new guidance on the assessment of basement proposals – irrelevant of whether they are new extensions or existing cellars, basements, or any other substructure.

We are no strangers to producing impact assessments for our basement proposals, however, LBRUT has stepped it up with a new screening process which could impact the feasibility of basements in the area.

A normal impact assessment would detail how (if at all) the proposed basement would impact the site, neighbouring properties, and the wider natural environment; this includes impacts on groundwater and water transferred via throughflow.

Stages of Basement Assessment

The new stages of a basement assessment are as follows:

Screening Assessment. This identifies any potential matters that may have an adverse impact and if a BIA is required. This stage asks pertinent questions to establish what needs to be addressed within the Basement Impact Assessment.

Basement Impact Assessment. This is standard for most local boroughs; it evaluates the potential direct and indirect impacts of the proposed development. Similarly, the Screening Assessment, the BIA needs to be signed off by a chartered professional in the relevant profession.

This all sounds relatively simple until we move into the specifics of the BIA. Most Impact Assessments will include details on how the proposal will impact the neighbouring properties and wider environment; if the outcome is low, they usually get the green light. However, in Richmond, they now require more information which will not only delay but may even make basement development in the area impossible.


In the past, historical borehole data has been sufficient to use in BIAs, the British Geological Survey provides maps with information on the subterranean characteristics of an area; this information has always been accepted if it comes from within 100m of the proposed site and is less than 20 years old.

Richmond now requires detailed borehole information on-site or from nearby; this includes two data recordings taken within a 12-month period to demonstrate any potential seasonal variations. This means that any project in the area could be delayed by at least a year pending the borehole monitoring.

So, if you live in the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames, and are contemplating a basement project, there is no time to waste. With lead times now extended due to borehole monitoring, it could take up to a year longer than in the past.

Get in Touch

If you are thinking about undertaking a basement project, extending your property or you are an architect who needs some help with a basement project make sure you give us a call. We are the leading specialists in basement conversions and design. You can call us on 01628 826066 or email us. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn for all the latest updates.

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