HE has been dubbed Britain’s most successful post-war industrialist and is one of the country’s richest men.
But billionaire businessman Jim Ratcliffe is hoping to go up in the world – by building a house that can be raised off the ground to protect it from rising sea levels.
Mr Ratcliffe, 61, has launched another attempt to gain planning permission for a luxury mansion on the Hampshire coast.
The latest design includes scores of hydraulic jacks that will enable the multi-million-pound house to literally rise above the problem of climate change.
The application says the property may have to be elevated by as much as 700mm during its 100-year lifetime.
It adds: “The house will therefore have the ground-breaking capability of being raised on jacks.
“The structural design allows for this to happen at any time in the future as sea levels rise.
“This is primarily achieved by the nature of a reinforced concrete slab over the basement and the provision of pockets into which a total of 70 jacks can be inserted and hydraulically activated.
“All service connections will be designed to be extendable.”
An artist's impression of the house
But Mr Ratcliffe’s latest proposal has already divided people living near the seafront site at Thorns Beach, south of Beaulieu.
One of the letters received by the National Park Authority (NPA), which will decide the application, said: “This is a building worthy of the site.”
But another Beaulieu resident adds: “The only innovative feature is the jacking up of the house for future flood defence.
“I do not think this is in any way practicable. It may be possible to lift the building but not to control the surrounding land from flooding, making access impossible in the long-term.”
Mr Ratcliffe’s previous plan to build a five-bedroom property at Thorns Beach was thrown out by the NPA in 2012 and rejected on appeal.
Now the businessman has submitted a revised scheme that aims to create “a distinctive house with a character of its own”.
The application says: “The replacement of an existing dwelling, affectionately known as The Shack, has been a long-held ambition by Mr Ratcliffe.
“We consider that the proposed dwelling achieves the highest standards in design.”
Mr Ratcliffe is one of Britain’s richest men, as earlier this year he was reported to be worth £1 billion.
His fortune includes his stake in INEOS, which he founded in 1998.
INEOS moved to Switzerland in 2010 but still has offices in Lyndhurst.