Mercedes-Benz heir Gert Rudolf Flick’s has won permission to dig a two-storey basement beneath his £30 million home near exclusive Onslow Square, South Kensington. The plans have angered his equally rich neighbours, including cellist Julian Lloyd Webber.
© Rex Features
German-born Mr Flick, 68, who goes by the nickname Muck, and his wife Corinne, 46, plan to upgrade their seven-bedroom, six-bathroom home, which they have owned since the mid-Eighties. The new space will include a 50ft swimming pool, plunge pool, massage room, beauty spa, gym and cinema, winter and summer dressing rooms and a luggage store.
The couple also want to create a 55ft art gallery on the ground floor to house their collection of paintings and objects, as well as two basement rooms for clothes – one for summer outfits and one for winter wear. A further room would be dedicated to luggage storage.
Kensington and Chelsea Council received 55 formal objections to the scheme. Julian Lloyd Webber, who is president of the Onslow Neighbourhood Association, has predicted that the project will cause “massive disruption” with noise, dust, convoys of lorries and possible street closures during the work.
He is also concerned about the house itself, which dates from the 1840s. “It is one of the oldest houses in South Kensington – it is incredible if they are allowed to get away with it,” he said.
“It seems wrong that one person is able to do what they are doing, at the expense of so many others. There have been masses of basements dug in the area, and we wonder if we are ever going to be left in peace.”
However the report on the project by Kensington and Chelsea Council, passed by its planning committee, concludes that the basement work is acceptable because, being underground, it will not affect the appearance of the house.
“The visual impact of the subterranean extension beneath the elements of the house to be demolished is also acceptable as it will not be discernible from above ground level,” explains the report by Jonathan Bore, the council’s planning director.
A report by David Hill of architects Purcell, which has drawn up the plans, says the work, which also includes rebuilding the modern conservatory, will enhance the local area.