Tony and Cherie Blair win their two-year planning row with a conservation charity to build on the grounds of their Grade I-listed, 18th Century mansion
- The former prime minister had applied for permission to extend a guesthouse
Sir Tony Blair has won a two-year planning row with a conservation charity over building plans for his historic country estate.
The former PM had applied for permission to extend a guesthouse on the grounds of his Grade I-listed, 18th Century mansion in Buckinghamshire.
But The Gardens Trust, which protects historically significant landscapes, objected and it was rejected by the local council.
Sir Tony and his wife Cherie’s legal team then submitted hundreds of pages of documents to justify the project at South Pavilion in the village of Wotton Underwood.
For the Blairs to become embroiled in a battle over a small extension is surprising given the scale of their property empire.
Sir Tony Blair has won a two-year planning row with a conservation charity over building plans for his historic country estate
The former PM had applied for permission to extend a guesthouse on the grounds of his Grade I-listed, 18th Century mansion in Buckinghamshire
Since leaving Downing Street they have amassed a portfolio consisting of 39 houses and flats worth around £35 million.
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They bought South Pavilion for £4.75 million in 2008 after Lady Cherie was said to have wanted ‘a small stately home within a 20-mile radius of Chequers’.
The seven-bedroom manor house, built in 1704, once belonged to the late actor Sir John Gielgud.
The Blairs were accused of ‘blighting’ the estate shortly after moving in, by extending the mansion as well as adding a glass sports pavilion and tennis court.
The latest planning row began in June 2021 when Lady Blair submitted the plans to add an ensuite bedroom to a former farm building.
But Margie Hoffnung, conservation officer at The Gardens Trust, which must be consulted by councils on any plans affecting gardens on Historic England’s register, said the proposal ‘has an alien appearance’ and Buckinghamshire Council rejected it in November 2021.
The Blairs’ legal team argued the plans did appear ‘alien’ in sketches but wouldn’t in real life. The council has now granted the couple permission, although with conditions.
Last night a spokesman for the Blairs said: ‘No neighbours objected. The extension is to a cottage built 20 years ago. It isn’t listed.’
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