One of Britain's richest men loses planning battle with council:Hambros is refused permission to double size of his Chelsea house

Hambros bank heir loses out in a planning battle because of two trees in his garden...


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One of Britain’s richest men, banking heir Jamie Hambro, 66, has had his plans to create a huge compound in Chelsea scuppered — thanks to two trees in his back garden.

Mr Hambro, whose grandfather founded Hambros Bank, is married with three daughters and spends much of his time at the family’s farm in Norfolk. He had planned to connect his four-storey south-west London house to the mews house behind it, which he also owns, by digging a link running under the garden. This would have almost doubled the size of his home. 

But Kensington and Chelsea council has refused to give the go-ahead, citing as a key reason the threat to a purple leaf Japanese maple and an evergreen magnolia in the rear garden.

Stymied: Jamie Hambro wanted to link the main house to a mews behind by digging an underground extension

Graham Stallwood, the council’s executive director of planning, pointed out that, with only a metre of soil between the roof of the basement and the garden, future replanting would be impossible and birds and insects would be adversely affected. He added that the scale of the scheme could damage neighbouring homes and cause a risk of flooding.

Mr Stallwood also objected to the fact that by merging the two properties into one home Mr Hambro was reducing the total number of homes in the borough, at a time when housing is particularly scarce.

According to plans submitted to the council, the new parts would have been used for an extra bedroom, entertainment space and a kitchen. None of his neighbours objected to the proposals.

Going underground: plans would double property’s size


Eton-educated Mr Hambro, chairman of wealth management firm James Hambro & Partners and a prolific charitable donor, hired a tree expert to study the site, who concluded that there were no trees of any significant interest.

“Their loss is not a valid reason for the proposed scheme to be refused by the local planning authority on arboricultural grounds,” according to the expert .

Mr Hambro was unavailable for comment.


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