Throughout the last 10 years, the number of mega-basements approved in London reached 4,650, revealed a study by Newcastle University.
These basements include:
- 1,000 gyms,
- 380 swimming pools,
- 460 cinemas,
- 380 wine cellars,
- 120 staff rooms.
The depth of these basements combined reached an astonishing 50,000 ft.
Commonly known as iceberg homes, these houses in wealthy areas such as Kensington and Chelsea are reaching 59ft deep, with some even including artificial beaches and car museums.
The billionaire, Jon Hunt’s six-bedroom house in Fulham, West London, has a basement that covers the majority of the footprint of his property.
At Wycombe Square in Kensington, a private pool and leisure deck can be found in the basements. In the Marylebone area of North West London, a Turkish bath is included in the basements living room. Primrose Hill, North London, has an aspiring plan, by developer Robert Beecham, for a 200 ft mega basement.
In the study, it was additionally revealed that there were 785 large basements, going at least two storeys down, or one storey under the garden, and 112 three storey deep mega basements. 67 of the mentioned are in Kensington and Chelsea, and 34 in Westminster.
These basements include:
- 550 media rooms,
- 340 games rooms,
- 240 saunas or steam rooms,
- 60 underground garages.
The Labour MP for Kensington and Chelsea, Emma Dent Coad, said the following to the Guardian:
“I have sympathy for people who need more space for an expanding family. But building a beach under your mansion when you’re hardly going to be there is something else entirely. While we have people sleeping on the streets we really have to look at what we’re doing in our borough because that is bad planning.”
The below is a table from the Newcastle University study showing;
‘The Most Popular Amenities by Basement Type’
It was concluded in the study that over the past decade, the sharp rise in basement construction is due to
“emblematic of the profound plutocratisation of London.”
The authors, headed by professor of cities Roger Burrows, said:
“The global excesses of wealth, focused upon such a small fragment of the global population, now find spatial expression in many of the neighbourhoods of central London. At a time when so many households face a crisis in their housing circumstances, the new subterranean geography of London is deeply symbolic of the realities of the intensification of global inequalities and their spatial expression.”
The biggest mega-basement in London is set to cost a whopping £70 million.
Following approval in 2016, Robert Beecham’s home in Primrose Hill is set to include;
- a 200ft-long basement,
- a banqueting hall for 80 people,
- a Turkish bath,
- a salt grotto,
- a room to store cigars,
- two bars,
- a gym,
- a pool,
- a jacuzzi,
- a juice bar,
- a kitchen,
- a cinema,
- a Roman relaxation and massage room.
As part of the agreement, he will be donating £600,000 to affordable housing in Camden.