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It makes financial sense to fit a retrofit basement and dig down

Basement envy puts Fulham street at top of ‘digdown’ table

Residents on a street named one of Britain’s hotspots for basement excavations today claimed the financial benefits of extending are so great that it’s “inevitable” that anyone who can afford to will get one.

Analysis of planning applications has revealed that more “digdowns” have taken place in the area around Peterborough Road in Fulham than probably anywhere else in the country.

Seven basement planning applications have been filed for properties on the road in the past year alone, while on some neighbouring streets it is difficult to find a house that does not have a basement extension.

Applications regarding basements have gone up by 42 per cent in Hammersmith and Fulham in the last two years.

Estate agents say a basement extension in the area typically adds £1 million to the value of a £2 million home.

Residents said that space there is so valuable that anyone who can afford to build an extension will do so. Kenny Laurenson, 49, a creative director who lives in the area, said: “The cost of doing a conversion is far less than the value you’re going to put on the property.

“Sooner or later everyone realises that, it’s inevitable. If you can afford to do it, you’re going to do it.

“If you see someone else getting one done you’ll probably get one done as well.” Mother Selina Craver, 43, said the lack of garden space in the area gave people little option, saying: “That’s the only way with these houses, to extend down or up.”

Silvia Benini, 42, who works in fashion and is currently on maternity leave, added a basement extension as part of a complete renovation when the family moved in. She said: “We’ve got a big family, need more space and it will add more value to the property.

“I don’t think it’s just this street, it’s the whole area. If you turn the corner and go down Studdridge Street and further down there you will find lots of building sites, people doing extensions.

“Property in this area has gone up a lot recently so as well as adding space it’s a good investment opportunity.” Ann Rosenberg, 72, who runs Brooks Blues Bar in Hammersmith, said basement extensions were a fact of life for the area.

She said: “It’s not noisy for me but it is for my neighbour on the other side. There are quite a lot of basement extensions further down.”

Ed Mead, director of estate agent Douglas & Gordan, said the increased value of a house with a basement extension makes it a “no-brainer”.

He said: “If you had a property worth £2 million, you would be putting the value of the house up to £3 million with an extension. It would probably cost about half a million to build.

“Which is why it’s a bit of a nightmare moving to a street like that. Before you move it’s worth checking if your neighbour has built a basement extension yet, because if they haven’t they probably will do soon.”

Property experts said the area’s good schools and proximity to Chelsea attracts buyers, especially those who can’t afford Chelsea. They said the increasing numbers of foreigners moving into the area had given it a more “funked up” feel over the last five years.


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