Hedge fund boss faces £800k council bill for two-storey basement plans

In a bid to curb London’s basement building frenzy, Kensington&Chelsea Council has asked a hedge fund honcho to stump up more than £800,000 in order to build a two-storey basement. (Read our feature on London’s billionaire basement mania.)

Reade Griffith, founder of Polygon Investment Partners, wants to build a subterranean extension under his two adjoining Kensington townhouses to make room for a swimming pool, spa and ‘treatment ‘area. The basement is equivalent to eight average-sized new-build family homes.

The council has asked for the exorbitant levy because of the size of the basement, which is estimated to cost £4m to build.

Known as ‘Section 106 agreements’, councils are entitled to demand huge payments for large-scale commercial developments of housing estates, and not domestic homes.

Earlier this week, Prime Investors Capital was ordered to pay £600,000 for social housing and a further £100,000 for “public art” to turn Admiralty Arch into a luxury hotel. It had paid £60m to lease the site for 99 years.

“My goodness, I’ve never heard of anything like that,” Stuart Robinson, head of planning at global property agents CBRE, told the FT. “This is completely off the scale. You don’t normally get these agreements with residential applications.”

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