The super-rich and their love for London basements….
The former home of singer Duffy and the address at which the rules of football were first written down has collapsed thanks to a basement excavation gone wrong.
One wall of the £3.8m Barnes townhouse, which is now owned by former Phones4U boss David Kassler, completely disintegrated as builders dug beneath to create a home cinema, gym and wine room.
The company carrying out the work denied the collapse had anything to do with the basement excavation, saying it was “just an old building”.
Here are five more basement excavation controversies:
Bernie Ecclestone’s daughter, Petra
Petra Ecclestone, daughter of F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone, was forced to withdraw a planning application on a 19th Century lodge in the grounds of her Chelsea mansion after planners thought the work would be too invasive. However, the basement excavation on her Grade II listed home still went ahead despite residents objecting to the work.
Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi
The next-door neighbour of the TV chef and art collector submitted planning permission for a huge basement complex underneath the garden of the Eaton Square home in 2012. Saatchi had previously clashed with residents over building works and was accused of causing £50,000 worth of damage to some Italian marble bathroom tiles. However, despite these protests the couple were no strangers to causing disruption themselves. In 2010, they bought a former factory in Chelsea and converted it to a mansion, including, you guessed it, a massive basement excavation.
Foxtons’ billionaire founder Jon Hunt wants a humongous basement under his home in Kensington Palace Gardens to fit a tennis court, swimming pool and a showroom for his collection of Ferraris.
However, the French government has launched a legal tirade against Hunt claiming that certificates granted by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea for completion of the property mogul’s project are invalid.
Hunt bought his home for £15.75m in 2007.
Indian steel czar Lakshmi Mittal spent millions putting an underground complex of Turkish baths and a pool made of marble from the same quarry as the Taj Mahal. No wonder his Kensington Palace Gardens home is nicknamed “Taj Mittal”.
Hedge Fund boss Edmund Lazarus
Hedge fund boss and major Conservative Party donor Edmund Lazarus submitted plans to build a three-storey basement underneath his Victorian home in West London. If built, the basement would be more than double the size of his Holland Park home.
Lazarus was reportedly willing to fork out £16m for the basement complex. Frills and thrills include a swimming pool, gym, yoga studio, wine cellar and private cinema.