Council backs Robbie Williams’ pool plan after Jimmy Page feudDecember 19, 2018
Robbie Williams WINS mega-basement battle against Jimmy Page: Singer gets OK for 30ft pool under £17.5m London home – but Led Zep star could still stop work if his next-door mansion is damaged
- Decision could put an end to the five-year battle between guitarist and singer
- Ex-Take That singer has had plans for an underground swimming pool approved
- Page raised concerns about threat works could pose to his house’s structure
Robbie Williams (pictured with Ayda Field) has had planning permission for his pool approved
Singer Robbie Williams’ plans for an underground swimming pool have been conditionally approved – despite objections from his Led Zeppelin guitarist neighbour Jimmy Page.
The decision could put an end to the five-year battle between the celebrity musicians over proposals for 44-year-old Williams’ home in Melbury road, in Kensington, west London.
Planning permission for the ex-Take That singer’s underground gym and swimming pool linked to his Grade II listed home, Woodland House, was approved with conditions at a committee meeting at Kensington Town Hall on Tuesday.
Page, 74, had raised fears construction work could damage his Grade I listed gothic revival mansion, Tower House, and its ornately decorated interior of stained glass, decorative plasterwork and ceramic tiling.
However, work cannot commence until councillors receive assurances about independent monitoring of vibration levels and ground movement as well as the consideration of extra conditions, such as the possibility of workers using only hand tools.
They will also discuss whether to ask Williams for a bond, which could be forfeited if the conditions were breached or if any damage occurs.
Committee chairman councillor Quentin Marshall suggested the celebrities should meet and try and put their differences aside.
Mr Marshall said: ‘It seems they are not that far apart. It’s slightly frustrating – I know the two principles are very busy, but surely they can find a way to talk, which might lock many of the problems.’
Led Zeppelin legend Jimmy Page at a planning meeting in Kensington during the long-running planning dispute
Page, 74, had raised fears construction work could damage his Grade I listed gothic revival mansion, Tower House (pictured)
Robbie Williams´ house in Kensington (David Mirzoeff/PA)
After the meeting, a spokesman for Page, who bought the turreted redbrick property in 1972, said the rock legend is happy to meet pop star Williams.
‘From Jimmy’s point of view he will be reassured that the committee of councillors are taking the protection of the house seriously,’ he said.
He added: ‘He wants Robbie to come back with proposals that eliminate all risk to the Tower House.’
The Stairway To Heaven guitarist said vibrations and ground movement in particular could cause irreversible damage, with the homes around 13 metres apart.
Representatives for Williams previously said any construction work would fall within stringent regulations and any effects on surrounding properties would be ‘negligible’.
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A ‘special meeting’ will see councillors vote on additions to draft ‘section 106’ planning conditions.
These included giving consultation for Page on arrangements to monitor vibration levels and ground movements in real-time during the works.
Page could even get live alerts on his mobile phone should any breach of the ‘trigger levels’ happen as a result, his solicitor Simon Ricketts said.
Williams may also have to pay a financial bond to deter his team from any breaches – with the council having the power to order an immediate to stop to works.
The details of how an independent third-party would monitor vibrations and ground movements were not yet finalised.
Singer Robbie Williams’ (right) plans for an underground swimming pool have been conditionally approved – despite objections from his Led Zeppelin guitarist neighbour Jimmy Page (left)
Mr Ricketts told the meeting his consultants only met with Williams’ team the previous day for a lengthy meeting for the first time.
He said: ‘I think it was the beginning of an instructive dialogue but it’s a beginning.
‘Without proper discussions, concerns remain. First of all no monitoring strategy has yet been drafted.
‘Secondly proposed trigger levels have been arrived at without baseline monitoring to form a basis to work out what the predictions will be.
‘Thirdly the outputs from the monitoring will be kept private and away from my client, who will be kept completely in the dark and generally powerless.
‘This situation is exceptional, a Grade I listed building; unique, sensitive, irreplaceable.’
Planning officers will explore the possibility of adding a ‘big red button’ to allow the authority to immediate stop works on the project if Page’s home was damaged.
Planning officers had recommended approval for Williams’ application saying the plan ‘would not cause harm to the living conditions enjoyed by the neighbouring occupiers.’
Mark Borkowski, spokesman for Page, added: ‘I think Jimmy would be very encouraged to see how seriously the committee were taking his responsibility. He is the custodian of the house, he wants to see it remain.’
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