Updated Sep 5, 2022

Billionaire appeals against removal of "incongruous" windows

Billionaire nightclub and restaurant owner, Richard Caring, is refusing to remove three "incongruous and dominant" windows from his £40 million house in South Kensington despite an enforcement notice from the council ordering him to do so.

Caring has launched an appeal against the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea's ruling that the windows were installed "without planning permission" and "fail to preserve the character and appearance" of the conservation area.

The appeal to the Planning Inspectorate comes after Caring angered his neighbours by closing a main road for two weeks to have dozens of trees planted in the grounds of his mansion.

Designs for the 13,400 sq ft house, which replace a 19th-century cottage, feature a large two-storey basement. According to plans filed with the council, the basement alone contains a swimming pool that can be converted into a ballroom, a beauty treatment room, a steam room and store for summer clothes.

In the appeal, Caring's wife Patricia said the windows were "well designed, being appropriately proportioned and detailed to accord with the general Victorian character of the wider conservation area".

She complained that the six-month period the council gave for the windows to be removed "falls short of what is reasonable".

The Planning Inspectorate said it expected written submissions from both parties by 7 September 2022, and an inspector would be sent to investigate the site and make a ruling. If the council loses the appeal it may have to pay Caring's costs.

The council declined to comment, but a spokesperson said: "Planning regulations exist to protect neighbourhoods. We take breaches very seriously and work with landowners to investigate and fix issues quickly".

"We have issued an enforcement notice in this case and this allows six months from the date of issue for the developer to amend their property to comply with the planning consent".