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Millionaire's new bid for riverside mansion
ONE of Britain’s richest men is today making a new attempt to gain permission for a luxury mansion on the Hampshire coast.
Jim Ratcliffe’s representatives are due to give evidence at a planning hearing that will examine his application to build a five-bedroom house at Thorns Beach, near Beaulieu.
Mr Ratcliffe, founder of the INEOS chemical company, wants to bulldoze a seafront bungalow and replace it with a property made mainly of glass.
The 60-year-old tycoon scrapped his original plan for a “next generation” mansion in 2011 after the application sparked almost 40 protests.
Thorns Beach is part of Lord Montagu’s 7,000-acre Beaulieu Estate, which was one of the objectors.
Designed by a leading architect, who once worked for Prince Charles, the multi-million-pound scheme included a giant mast that overlooked the Solent. A boathouse, sauna and staff quarters were also proposed.
But the unusual design failed to impress Lord Montagu, who owns a nearby beach house.
In a hard-hitting letter to the National Park Authority the estate said the proposed development was out of keeping. Beaulieu Parish Council the New Forest Association and the Solent Protection Society also objected.
Last year Mr Ratcliffe submitted a revised scheme that aimed to overcome the objections.
A letter accompanying his application said the house would be “fragmented” in design to reduce its visual impact. It added that the property would be similar in size to two nearby homes, Durns House and Througham Place, and significantly lower in height than both buildings.
Similar size “From the Solent a new, larger dwelling will be visible on the site,” said the letter.
“However, the proposals respect the siting of the existing buildings and the scale of the proposed dwelling is similar to the buildings east and west.”
But the revised scheme was rejected by the National Park Authority, which said the house would be 176 per cent larger than the existing dwelling.
Mr Ratcliffe lodged an appeal and Government planners ordered today’s hearing, which is taking place at Lymington Town Hall.
In 2011 Mr Ratcliffe was rated the 145th richest person in Britain after seeing his wealth rocket by £370m to £520m in the previous 12 months.
His fortune includes his stake in INEOS, which he founded in 1998. The company has moved its headquarters to Switzerland but still has offices in Lyndhurst.
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