Daimler-Benz heir wins planning row over ‘tasteless’ basement plans
9:30PM GMT 06 Feb 2013
Gert-Rudolph Flick, 68, has won planning permission to start the extensive work to his £30 million west London home despite fierce local opposition.
Neighbours, led by Mr Lloyd Webber, the cellist, were left horrified by the German industrialist s plans to create a vast two-storey, underground basement for his seven-bedroom, six-bathroom mansion, near Onslow Square, South Kensington.
Mr Flick, estimated to be worth at least £350 million, and his third wife Corinne, 45, a German confectionary heiress, had submitted detailed plans with Kensington and Chelsea council, that disclosed their extraordinary renovations to Park House.
They included building two rooms to house clothes one for winter wear and another for summer a luggage store, 50ft swimming pool, gym, cinema, beauty and treatment room, steam room and passenger lift.
Construction, forecast to take at least three years to complete, will involve spending 12 months digging a 30ft hole and demolishing part of the Georgian property, one of the oldest in the area.
Almost 60 residents formally objected to the local authority over the subterranean development, with locals labelling it tasteless”, “environmentally hazardous” and selfish .
Locals claimed said the mammoth construction work would create severe and lengthy noise and disruption to the area, home to some of the country s wealthiest.
Other nearby residents include the Queen Noor of Jordan, JCB tycoon Sir Anthony Bamford and jeweller John Asprey.
The local campaign failed on Tuesday night after the council s planning committee approved the project, the latest in a string of proposals from tycoons for massive underground property extensions.
Planning officers had argued the development would add “visually discreet additions” to the house and would “preserve the character and appearance” of the conservation area and recommended giving it the green light.
The house was originally two properties: one said to have been owned by Sir Maxwell Joseph, the property magnate and the other, Pelham Cottage, reported to belong to Lady Annabel Goldsmith.
Mr Flick, known as Muck whose grandfather was Friedrich Flick, the wealthy German industrialist, is reported to have bought both buildings in 1986 and turned it into a showcase for his magnificent collection of early silver and Italian Old Masters.
Tonight Mr Lloyd Webber, the 61 year-old brother of Lord Lloyd Webber, the musical impresario, accused the council of not taking into account what is going to happen to the area.
I think it is a very bad decision by the council, which they will come to regret, the president of the Onslow neighbourhood association told The Daily Telegraph.
The fact is when you put it all together, we just know the disruption is going to be massive. It is poor planning decision.
The council should protect its residents but if it can grant permission for this, one of the oldest houses in the borough, it seems nothing is sacred.
Mr Lloyd Webber, who has lived in South Kensington all his life, added: When people realise what they are going to face, there will be a lot more protests.
A council spokesman tonight defended the approval, insisting that officials undertook extensive consultation on the application .
Approval was delayed while council officials conducted further investigations to address local concerns.
He said: Appropriate conditions have been attached to mitigate the impact of the proposed development upon the local area.
He said while the building was not listed, an archway to the site was, but conditions attached to the planning approval satisfied our concerns relating to its protection .
The tycoon, who together with his brother Mick was listed among the Sunday Times Rich List, was unavailable for comment tonight.