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Lord Montagu's daughter slams millionaire's coastline home plan
11:20am Thursday 5th September 2013 in New Forest
THE daughter of Lord Montagu of Beaulieu has hit out at plans to build an ultra-modern house on an unspoilt part of the coastline.
The Hon Mary Montagu-Scott is among the objectors to a controversial proposal submitted by one of Britain’s richest men.
Jim Ratcliffe wants to bulldoze an old house on the Beaulieu Estate and replace it with a luxury mansion made mainly of glass.
Giving evidence at a planning inquiry yesterday Mrs Montagu-Scott criticised the size of the proposed development at Thorns Beach, which overlooks the Solent and is near the entrance to the Beaulieu River.
She said: “Thorns Beach is a very unspoilt piece of the New Forest.
“A very large house on a relatively small site would change the character of the area. If the applicant wants a large house, he should buy a large house.”
Mrs Montagu-Scott said the estate, now owned by her brother, the Hon Ralph Montagu, prided itself on its approach to conservation.
She added: “The shoreline, and the Beaulieu River in particular, is very sensitive to light pollution. We encourage the owners of houses in the area not to install landscape lighting schemes because they do have an impact, particularly on yachtsmen.
“It’s a very dark river, which makes it one of the treasures of the estate.”
But other speakers praised Mr Ratcliffe’s application to demolish the existing house, which was formerly owned by veteran yachtswoman Helen Tew. In 2001, aged 89, she became the oldest woman to sail the Atlantic twice.
Her son Donald told the inquiry: “The new property would blend in with the shoreline far better than the houses either side. It would be tragic if this proposal were refused.”
The inquiry was ordered after Mr Ratcliffe appealed against the Nat-ional Park Authority’s rejection of his latest application for the site.
The one-day hearing was chaired by Government-app-ointed planning inspector John Gray, who will announce his decision later.
INEOS chemical firm founder Mr Ratcliffe is one of Britain’s richest men, with a fortune estimated at £520m in 2011.
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