Billionaire TV mogul David Graham, 80, has been ordered to scrap plans to build a luxury basement conversion under his 7-bedroom Knightsbridge mansion.
His most recent plans were rejected again after numerous celebrity neighbours complained to the council about his plans to dig down by 25ft and expand his property by nearly 50%.
Local residents are some of the wealthiest in London, including award-winning novelist Edna O’Brien and fashion designer Bruce Oldfield, who dressed Diana Princess of Wales and now counts the Duchess of Cornwall as one of his clients.
The scrapped plans included a further extension into a pre-existing basement and comprise a swimming pool, a luxury gym and multiple private offices. Estate agents have allegedly estimated the property could be worth an eye-watering £90 million if the work was to be completed.
Wealthy neighbours were up in arms and put a SWAT team together to object the proposed renovation. They feared the construction works would lead to pollution, noise and traffic, claiming the lengthy process would negatively affect local shops.
Ex-Arsenal footballer Lee Dixon, Channel 4 presenter Jon Snow and rockstar Jimmy Page have all recently submitted formal complaints against neighbours over basement developments.
Poodle-haired Queen guitarist Brian May even went so far as to openly call such developers “basement-building bast*rds”.
As a direct neighbour of Graham, Edna O’Brien was the driving force for the opposition.
She said, “These people who have big houses just want bigger houses, but they live alone….I live behind where he lives and I would be in the firing line. But I wrote on behalf, lobbied and got signatures on behalf of everyone. The council had just under 200 complains which is a lot….a house with eight bedrooms and a swimming pool and a huge garden, what is the logic, except of course financial gain, in making everyone else’s lives hell?”
Fashionista Bruce Oldfield was equally damning; in a letter to the council he wrote, “It seems odd that the quality of life of many…will be lessened so that one individual can enjoy a subterranean existence where he can perhaps swim, watch movies or practice for the Marathon.”
Graham bought the building in 2000 and converted it into a 4-storey luxury home, which had already disturbed neighbours. In 2012, Graham submitted plans to the council for an even bigger 3-storey conversion, an iceberg underground mansion that including a pool and a full-sized ballroom.
Strong local opposition prevented this massive conversion and Graham has made numerous attempts to rework these plans to gain approval.
The DealMakerz position remains the same: if the proposition is structurally sound, professionally verified and in-keeping with the neighbourhood it usually boils down to short-term inconvenience for neighbours. We found this old RightMove listing that claims 17 townhouses in Newcastle were developed by none other than Bruce Oldfield, who acted as Design Director on the £17 million development.
So Bruce – a development is OK as long as you make money from it and its not in your back yard, eh? Classy.
Want to know the story behind Britain's latest property mogul? Why a company is going bust? Our coverage goes beyond run-of-the-mill news on key real estate issues.
Our subscribers are made up of the most influential Founders and CEO's in UK property. Gain a competitive edge and get informed - read what they read.
Understand exactly what the most senior figures in UK property are thinking. Exclusive opinion articles from powerful real estate influencers that move markets.