Billionaire property developer Christian Candy has enraged his neighbours after starting work on a multi-million pound front garden development.
The garden forms part of his £250 million mansion in Regent’s Park, northwest London, which Christian started renovating three years ago. He bought a total of five Grade I listed houses in 2015, with plans to create three “super-luxury” homes.
The main property is believed to be the biggest residence in London after Buckingham Palace. It has 14 bedrooms over five floors, a swimming pool, gym, yoga room and wine room. Two smaller three-bedroom townhouses sit alongside the main house.
Christian overcame objections from his neighbours in 2016 to secure planning permission for the garden, which is said to be costing £26.5 million.
He claimed it was part of an original scheme designed by John Nash, who laid out much of Regency-period London and built the terrace in 1825. Locals argued this was a “misrepresentation of history”, but Christian won his case on appeal.
Now that the work is under way, residents have complained about the congestion and pollution caused by the construction of the garden, with one describing it as “diabolical”. Traffic is said to have ground to a halt in the area, as the renovations dominate the two streets that it runs along.
The road by the side of the property is a tight one-way street with near constant jams.
One neighbour, an 80-year-old disabled woman who was recently widowed, told the Daily Mail: “The congestion is so bad that my taxi driver got fed up and dropped me up the road. I had to carry my bags by myself, it was awful. It’s been majorly disruptive.”
A friend of the widow, who has lived in the area for 30 years, said: “The only way I can describe it is diabolical. I’m here a lot helping out and I see what’s happening. They do it because they’re rich and they can. It shows you the rich just step on everyone.”
Another resident, aged 75, said: “Public space should be for everyone, not just one individual. So many residents objected to it but I suppose he has deeper pockets than the rest of us. It’s been very disruptive, it’s dangerous and the pollution levels are increasing. It’s a complete nightmare.”
Jonathan Hockley, of the planning inspectorate, said the proposals were reinstating a missing feature from the original building. He claimed the proposed reinstatement of a historic garden “would preserve the special architectural and historical interest of the grade II listed building” and would enhance the Regent’s Park conservation area.
Hockley agreed that “interference with the terraces and their immediate surroundings should be kept to a minimum”.
Despite the row surrounding the ongoing construction of the garden, the rest of the property is nearly complete and estimated to be worth around £250 million. That would break the record for the most expensive house ever sold in Britain – which is held by Christian and his brother Nick.
Their most famous construction to date is the super-luxurious One Hyde Park building in Knightsbridge, which included a record £136 million sale of an apartment to Ukraine’s then richest man, Rinat Akhmetov, in 2011.
Christian did not respond to requests for comment.
DMZ wonders what other developments Christian and Nick have up their sleeves. Nick has already angered his neighbours with a proposal to build a row of enormous trees at his home in Chelsea.
And the brothers have yet to shake off the negative publicity created by the ugly legal case brought by former friend and businessman Mark Holyoake, who accused them of a campaign of bullying, blackmail and intimidation.
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