ONE OF Britain's richest men has withdrawn a controversial application to build a second home on his Hampshire estate.

Billionaire businessman Jim Ratcliffe is constructing a seafront mansion at Thorns Beach, near Beaulieu, after winning a six-year battle to secure planning permission.

Last month it was revealed that Sir Jim had applied for consent to build a caretaker's cottage on neighbouring land.

As reported in the Daily Echo the Environment Agency lodged an objection, claiming the danger of flooding meant anyone living in the cottage would not be safe.

Beaulieu Parish Council also criticised the scheme, citing the scale of proposed outbuildings and the "serious health and safety concerns" raised by the Environment Agency.

Daily Echo:

Sir Jim has now withdrawn the application.

But the Daily Echo can reveal that the Agency is willing to withdraw its objection if the National Park Authority (NPA) agrees to attach two conditions to the proposal.

One of the conditions says work should not start until a scheme to improve, protect and maintain proposed flood defences is approved by the NPA.

The other stipulates that the house should be built in accordance with a flood risk assessment submitted in May.

In a letter to the NPA it says: "We consider that planning permission could be granted if the planning conditions are included. Without these conditions the proposed development poses an unacceptable risk and we would object to the application."

Daily Echo:

Meanwhile, Sir Jim is seeking to alter the design of the main property, Thorns Beach House, which was given planning permission two years ago.

A report produced by NPA planning officers says: "The applicant proposes to make some changes to the property. Some of these are cosmetic and some are not."

The report says Sir Jim wants to increase the height of the chimneys and add a bay window as well as making "general design changes to external and internal parts of the property". He is also seeking consent to make the garage slightly wider.

Sir Jim is head of the chemical company Ineos and is said to be worth £18.2 billion, making him one of Britain’s richest men.