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Fancy an artificial beach in your basement?


What happens when the super-rich want more space for their London home but cannot extend up or out? Then they dig down and tunnel underneath the Capital’s most expensive streets to create a luxury basement – or even ‘iceberg” mega-basements – multi-storey basements so-called because such large portions of the house sit underground.  

A study of 4,650 basements granted planning permission in some of London’s most affluent neighbourhoods, has revealed hundreds of swimming pools, wine cellar - and even an artificial beach.

Reporting on the survey entitled: Mapping Subterranean London: the Hidden Geography of Residential Basement Developments, which only covers the basements granted planning consent under existing properties, The Guardian newspaper revealed that plans approved between 2008 and 2017 were for:

  • nearly 1,000 gyms;
  • 547 media rooms;
  • 456 cinemas;
  • 381 wine stores and cellars;
  • 376 pools;
  • 340 games and recreation rooms;
  • 242 saunas or steam rooms;
  • 115 staff rooms, including bedrooms for nannies and au pairs;
  • 63 underground garages and parking facilities;
  • a car museum.

Plans were also approved for two basements where each has more than one pool - including one with an artificial beach.

Most of the properties were in Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, Haringey, Camden, Islington and Wandsworth.

The researchers calculated that the combined depth of all of the schemes would be nearly 15,290 metres - almost 50 times the height of the Shard.

Last year, The Telegraph reported on what was then believed to be London’s biggest “iceberg” mega-basement. At around 200 foot long, included in the plans were a Turkish bath, a banqueting hall for 80 people, two bars and a cinema.