NIMBY fly-poster feud breaks out in De Beauvoir

The semi-detached house in Northchurch Road on the left, where the basement excavation is proposed.

The semi-detached house in Northchurch Road on the left, where the basement excavation is proposed. - Credit: Archant

A fly-poster feud has broken out in one of Hackney’s most affluent roads as neighbours have labelled objectors to a deep basement excavation “mean-spirited nimbys”.

The fly-posters in Northchurch Road.

The fly-posters in Northchurch Road. - Credit: Archant

A proposal for a basement under a grade II-listed house in Northchurch Terrace, which would be the first for the De Beauvoir conservation area, is currently under consultation.

Several residents have said they fear if the deep excavation goes ahead it could set a precedent for similar developments in the future.

Similar applications have previously been much more common in west London boroughs such as Camden and Kensington and Chelsea, where some neighbouring home owners have reported cracks in their walls and weakening foundations.

In 2008, a basement excavation in a terrace house in Hackney’s Brownswood ward weakened the foundations and tenants were evacuated as an emergency with their possessions having to be lifted out in the following weeks by crane.

Concerned neighbours Michael and Esther Rank have put up posters encouraging others to object to the current proposal at number 42, which also includes a two-storey extension at the rear of the property, writing: “The more objections the better!”

They add: “This is against Hackney’s own rules as the sub-basement will have next to no natural light to make it habitable and will include a light well which is not acceptable in conservation areas like De Beauvoir. All this work will cause a huge amount of noise and disturbance for months if not years.”

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But Martin Durkin, who lives at number 48, launched a pro-excavation poster campaign in response, stating: “There is a mean-spirited campaign to stop the good folk of No. 42 from building down.

“If you’re so averse to a few builders, London is not a sensible place to live.

“It is outrageous that the lovely people at No. 42 should be told what they can and can’t have in their own home.”

He continued: “It is argued that the basement might undermine the foundations of adjoining houses. Even if this were true (and I suspect it is utter codswallop) it’s a matter for No. 42 and their immediate neighbours.

“The character of a neighbourhood is formed not by the houses but by the people, I would hope that those in this street are not so small-minded and petty as to support this unpleasant campaign.”

Thomas Aisling from No. 42 declined to comment.

Hackney Council’s consultation over the development ends next Friday.