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Alas, No More Tricked-Out Basements for London Billionaires

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The (ludicrous) London micro-trend of creating multi-level basement extensions to evade the city's preservation codes will soon come to an end, to the dismay (surely) of many billionaires and oligarchs. The building of luxurious subterranean playgrounds, which has given rise to the term "iceberg homes," has now been banned by the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the exact neighborhood where Tamara Ecclestone, of the Formula One racing family, created an underground spa for her dogs, and where Jon Hunt, a real estate magnate, won permission to construct a tricked-out basement with a tennis court and a car museum for his Ferrari collection.

Wealthy tax-payers will still be allowed to build ostentatious below-ground recreation areas, but their flights of fancy will now be limited to a single story, unless they live in historic listed buildings, in which case they will have to dispense with plans to, say, build Olympic-sized swimming pools with the same marble as the Taj Mahal, or create completely unnecessary rifle ranges. The new building rules are set to be formally adopted in January, thank heavens. Photos of a 19th-century mews house that recently got the "iceberg" treatment, below:

· Vast basements outlawed for wealthy property owners [Telegraph]
· All Lifestyles of the Rich and Richer posts [Curbed National]