It’s been three years since the Russian owner of Chelsea football club billionaire Roman Abramovick began a legal battle with London authorities for permission to upgrade his £100million Thames-side home.
The tycoon and the former Governor of Chukotka Region,
intends to start work immediately, planning to spend £10 million in
the project, the Daily Mail reports.
The 46-year-old tycoon plans to restore the yard of the estate to its past glory. Abramovich plans to replaces trees, erect a special pavilion for the art he has been collecting together with his partner Dasha Zhukova, and also plans to separate one of the buildings from the mansion to house guests and staff.
It will be no fun for the neighbours as according to planners the renovation and rebuilding work could take up to three years. The plan has been met with rage from neighbors who fear the renovation will block their views of the Thames.
The planners’ statement says “there is no right to a view in planning legislation.”
“The proposed development would protect the appearance of the building, would preserve the character and appearance of the conservation area and preserve the special architectural and historic interest of the listed building,” Daily Mail quotes the planners.
Kensington & Chelsea Council's planning committee granted ‘conditional permission’ to develop the Grade II-listed building, once owned by artist James Whistler and, more recently by late Tory minister Paul Channon.
Even though permission has been granted the neighbors say “the battle may be lost, but the war is far from over he war is far from over.”
”We are not going to accept all this lying down and hope that some of the main preservation groups will get on side when they see how a genuine protest is being ridden over roughshod.”
Celebrity neighbors also live in the same street. Among them is Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger.
Russian oligarchs have been particularly attracted by the UK capital. Some, like Boris Berezovsky and former Yukos Oil vice-president Konstantin Kagalovsky have made London their permanent place of residence.
A number of others have purchased pricey properties in upscale districts of London and drift in between London and Russia. Due to these wealthy men London has even been dubbed "Moscow on Thames". Belgravia, Knightsbridge, Kensington and Chelsea are among the favorite areas for their new houses of the Russian rich.
Rusal CEO Oleg Deripaska, owns a posh place just round the corner from Abramovich, on Belgrave Square. The property is estimated to be worth £50 million.
Across Hyde Park, the Moscow-born American businessman Leonard Blavatnik has a huge10-bedroom mansion on ‘Billionaires row’, Kensington Palace Gardens.
Another Russian oligarch and a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Omar Murtuzaliev purchased a £23 million 10 bedroom Bayswater mansion in London which is to become his home. However the property was badly damaged in a fire just months before the new owner intended to move in. Before the fire Murtuzaliev struggled with local planners to get permission to excavate a double basement and install a swimming pool, gym, Turkish bath, sauna and plunge pool. The man vowed to restore the house after the blaze.
Other Russian ultra rich prefer business to property.
Billionaire Aleksandr Mamut who is known for his vast investments in media projects recently purchased British bookshop, Waterstones.
Businessman Aleksander Lebedev who owns the Russian Novaya Gazeta newspaper, bought London's Evening Standard newspaper in 2009. In 2010 he purchased the loss-making The Independent and Independent on Sunday newspapers for the cost of a single copy - £1.
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