Millionaire debt collector digs deep in South Kensington

A millionaire debt collector is planning to build one of London's most extravagant and deepest private basement extensions in South Kensington - much to the horror of his wealthy neighbours
Paul Burdell wants to replace this stucco house in The Boltons with a new one with three underground floors
Paul Burdell wants to replace this stucco house in The Boltons with a new one with three underground floors
A millionaire debt collector is planning to build one of London’s most extravagant basement extensions — to the horror of his wealthy neighbours.

Paul Burdell and his wife, Selina, want to excavate more than 30 feet underground to create a triple-deck subterranean complex with a sunken garden, kitchen, breakfast room, garage, guest bedroom suite, Jacuzzi, cinema, 30ft swimming pool, sauna, changing rooms and a gym.

It is thought the project will be one of the deepest private basements ever dug in the capital. The six - bedroom house will have as many floors below ground as there are above.

Seven neighbours have made objections to the proposal, which involves demolishing a period stucco villa and neighbouring cottage in The Boltons, South Kensington, and replacing it with a traditional-style modern house with three storeys above ground and three below.

The Boltons is one of London’s most exclusive streets with average prices — even for a semi- — standing at £31.7 million. A nearby house recently sold for just under £55 million.

The neighbours claim that the new house is too large and out of keeping with the rest of the street. However a report by Kensington and Chelsea council’s Jonathan Bore, its executive director of planning, concludes that the project is “acceptable” and recommends its approval.

Paul Burdell
Paul Burdell
Approval could mean the end of a fractious planning battle by Mr Burdell, 53, and his 43-year-old wife who have had three separate applications to build large, modern houses on the site rejected.

The Burdells are directors of Link Financial, which buys up consumer debts. The firm has in the past been censured by the Office of Fair Trading for practices including obtaining “charging orders” on people’s homes for relatively small debts and pursuing debts too aggressively.

A spokeswoman for the Burdells said: “The proposed new home will have the same building footprint as the existing house with a traditional front elevation of a design and scale that is more in keeping with the surrounding properties. It is a detached house on its own separate plot and will adopt the best available practices in terms of construction and sustainability. The existing house has basement accommodation as does the proposed new house. We have worked hard with the council officers to produce a scheme that they now fully support.”

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