London subterranean secrets
The subterranean secrets of London’s super-rich have revealed that there are 4,650 basements granted planning permission in some of the capital’s most affluent neighbourhoods, with hundreds of swimming pools and cinemas in the most luxurious developments.
Almost 1,000 gyms, 376 pools, 456 cinemas, 381 wine stores and cellars and 115 staff rooms, including bedrooms for nannies and au pairs, were found in the plans for the basements approved by seven London boroughs between 2008 and 2017.
Another 112 basements were classified as mega, of at least three storeys in depth under the footprint of the house or two storeys in depth and extended under the garden.
Some of the largest were up to 18 metres deep and bigger than the rest of the property above ground, warranting the nickname of iceberg homes.
The most extravagant schemes include a three-storey basement in Holland Park, Kensington and Chelsea, with amenities including a swimming pool, plunge pool, beach, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, media room, gym and staff quarters.
A three-storey scheme in Mayfair, Westminster, which was granted planning permission under an existing basement, features a swimming pool, cinema, car park, sauna, steam room and dance floor.
A single-storey basement in Primrose Hill, Camden, includes a Turkish bath, Roman bath, cigar room, swimming pool, plunge pool, sauna, massage room, cinema, games room and bar, wine store, pilates room, gym and banquet hall.