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Probe launched into house collapse in West Hampstead

Authorities have launched an investigation into how a five-bedroom home in West Hampstead collapsed, with builders fortunate enough to be away before the event occurred. 

The London Fire Brigade was called when the million-pound property at 163 Sumatra Road, which is adjacent to the Kingdon Road junction, collapsed from the roof to the basement. 

The basement conversion collapse revealed the empty shell of a home. The property was in the process of being renovated. There were no reported injuries and some residents from nearby homes were evacuated as a safety measure. The neighboring families have since been allowed to come home and the road is open once more. 

One witness who was staying in the vicinity said that she walked past the basement conversion collapse and was surprised that no one was injured. She confirmed that it had been empty at the time the collapse occurred.  

A Health and Safety Executive spokesperson confirmed that they were working with the building control department of Camden Council to determine how the basement conversion collapse had happened.  

Back in October 2013 the home had been on the market for £1.4million. Flats on the same road generally sell for close to £650,000. 

The housing department of Camden Council knew about the property, which it said had been empty for some time. 

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In April 2014, Drawing and Planning Ltd representative Jeremy Stein received planning permission to excavate and widen the property’s existing basement. The plan also called for two lightwells to be created at the back of the property.

The planning permission expired three years later, in April 2017. An appeal was lodged but subsequently rejected. 

Witnesses said that builders were working at the property until the day of the collapse, although it was not known what work was being done. 

Through a spokesman, Mr. Stein said that he was no longer associated with the property, although he is still registered as the legal owner.  

West Hampstead councillor Phil Rosenberg demanded a thorough investigation to ensure that all processes are sound and neighbours remain safe.

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