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FRIDAY, 18 APR 2014
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London residents fighting Mikati group’s plans for basement
A view over Cadogan Place is seen in Kensington, London April 13, 2012. (REUTERS/Olivia Harris)
A view over Cadogan Place is seen in Kensington, London April 13, 2012. (REUTERS/Olivia Harris)
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BEIRUT: Residents in one of London’s posh neighborhoods are fighting plans by caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s M1 Group to develop a “mega-basement” beneath two apartment buildings that they complain will disrupt their lives with unwanted noise, the London Evening Standard reports.

The British daily reported Tuesday that the M1 Group, a holdings company founded in the 1960s by Mikati and his brother Taha, “Wants to dig out a two-level subterranean extension for a 50 ft [about 15 m] pool, cinema, wine cellar, and staff quarters below two properties in Cadogan Gardens, Chelsea.”

The plans, which are scheduled to go before the neighborhood boards of Kensington and Chelsea next week, are being opposed by some of the residents of the block of 10-flat mansion, who are now appealing to the landowner, the Earl of Cadogan, to block the development.

One resident told the Standard: “One of the reasons I moved here was because of the peace and quiet.”

The resident added: “We are in the center of London but you wouldn’t know it. All the neighbors respect each other. If they let them dig this out, the noise and disruption would be enormous. I for one would move out instantly, and from what I hear many others here would do the same.”

Earlier this year Kensington and Chelsea put forth guidelines to limit basement dig-outs to a single floor, but they have been challenged by developers, the daily reported.

The M1 Group is a privately owned, multibillion-dollar financial and industrial conglomerate with interests in telecoms, real estate and transport, as well as oil and gas.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 19, 2013, on page 3.
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