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Jamie Oliver applies for permission to upgrade servants’ quarters and add bedrooms to Essex mansion

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TV chef Jamie Oliver has applied for permission to modernise the servants’ quarters on the top floor of his £6million 12-bedroom mansion in Essex.

The celebrity cook wants to restore the attic at his Grade 1 listed home, Spains Hall, which dates back to 1570.

Plans lodged with Braintree District Council show Jamie wants to extend the electrics, plumbing and heating to the second floor of his home so it can be used by his family.

In addition to the 12 existing bedrooms, he wants to create three bedrooms in the attic – one with an en-suite – as well as a bathroom, dressing room and cloakroom.

His latest Channel 4 show ‘Keep Cooking: Family Favourites’ was largely filmed at the house, giving viewers tantalising glimpses of its beautiful gardens. 

The plans show the new attic bathroom would have ‘his and hers’ wash basins, a bath and toilet, whilst the wallpaper in all the bedrooms would be repaired and retained and replica paper made to match any repairs.

A design statement accompanying the plans says the proposed works ‘are not considered to detract from the character or special architectural interest’ of the house.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has applied for planning permission from Braintree District Council to convert the top floor of his £6m 12-bedroom Essex mansion (pictured) into three bedrooms with an en suite, bathroom, dressing room and cloakroom

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has applied for planning permission from Braintree District Council to convert the top floor of his £6m 12-bedroom Essex mansion (pictured) into three bedrooms with an en suite, bathroom, dressing room and cloakroom

Family: Jools and Jamie Oliver pictured at the Portland Hospital in central London with their five children (L-R) Daisy Boo Pamela, Petal Blossom Rainbow, Buddy Bear Maurice, Poppy Honey Rosie and newborn River Rocket (centre) in 2016

Family: Jools and Jamie Oliver pictured at the Portland Hospital in central London with their five children (L-R) Daisy Boo Pamela, Petal Blossom Rainbow, Buddy Bear Maurice, Poppy Honey Rosie and newborn River Rocket (centre) in 2016

A statement submitted with the plans (pictured) claims the proposals allow for 'sensitive repair and alterations to be undertaken which will sustain, enhance and conserve the heritage asset thereby representing sustainable development'

A statement submitted with the plans (pictured) claims the proposals allow for ‘sensitive repair and alterations to be undertaken which will sustain, enhance and conserve the heritage asset thereby representing sustainable development’

It adds: ‘The proposals allow for sensitive repair and alterations to be undertaken which are considered to comply with both national and local planning policies and will sustain, enhance and conserve the heritage asset thereby representing sustainable development.’

Jamie Oliver’s agent, Stephanie Gray of First Plan, states in the application: ‘Plumbing, heating and electrics are proposed to be extended fully to the second floor alongside other improvements, all of which are proposed to ensure the house is fit for modern family life.

‘Bedroom 9 is proposed to be repurposed as a bathroom, the small room over the front entrance is proposed to be used as a WC and the existing storage cupboard adjacent to Bedroom 7 is proposed to become an en-suite for Bedroom 7.’

She adds: ‘The proposed works are minor in scale and nature and will not change the overall form, layout or access arrangements of Spains Hall.

‘The works will have a beneficial impact in terms of ensuring necessary repairs are undertaken to leaking skylights.

‘Extending heating, plumbing and services fully to the second floor will ensure this part of the house is equipped to deal with modern family life. The internal windows within the partition walls will improve the amount of natural light in these areas.’

Oliver is waiting to see if councillors will grant permission for his project which is planned to be the latest in a series of improvements to his home.

Some of the rooms on the top floor (circled in white) were historically used as servants quarters from 16th to 19th century

Some of the rooms on the top floor (circled in white) were historically used as servants quarters from 16th to 19th century

Council chiefs have already backed improvements to the heating and electrics in the old servants’ quarters, describing it as an ‘important requirement’.

The top floor of Jamie’s house was originally comprised of two parts that did not connect.

There were two bedrooms above the Great Hall for family members or guests, while the other section was accommodation for servants, accessed by the back stairs.

The staff accommodation would originally have consisted of two large rooms for female staff, south of the back stairs, and similarly sized dormitories for male staff, north of the back stairs, and over the west wing.

The two parts of the top floor were later linked together with steps from the front corridor and a new opening in the wall.

The staff rooms were also divided up at a later date to allow staff members more privacy at night and to reflect different ranks within the household.

A heritage statement by Stephen Gray Consultancy said the top floor of the house had ‘historic significance in illustrating original and improved accommodation for house servants, and chambers for household members which would now be considered relatively plain and of no great comfort.’ 

It added: ‘The top floor of the building was originally configured in two parts that did not interconnect. Bedrooms 8 and 9, above the great hall were chambers for family members or guests, accessed off a corridor from the west staircase.

Oliver is waiting to see if council will grant permission for project which is the latest in a series of improvements to his home

Oliver is waiting to see if council will grant permission for project which is the latest in a series of improvements to his home 

‘The other parts of the top floor were attics and servants’ night time accommodation, accessed off the back stairs.’

It said: ‘Tangibility of the original top floor organisation of basic and non-private accommodation for staff that prevailed from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries is a principal aspect of historic significance.

‘However, added partitions have further social historic significance in showing how living conditions and status of household staff improved during the nineteenth century.’

The TV chef bought the mansion on the 70-acre estate at the start of 2019 and had building work done on the house before he moved in, including the restoration of many original features.

The house had only been used by three families and hadn’t been sold for 250 years when Jamie bought it.

The manor house currently boasts 12 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, a large games room, great hall, dining room, two drawing rooms and a wine storage area. 

The property also comes with an outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts and fishing lakes.

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Aparto debuts in Spain

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Aparto has unveiled its first student residence in Spain to open in September 2022. Aparto Barcelona Pallars, owned by Commerz Real, is located in the 22@, the city’s innovation district, and accommodates 743 beds covering 26,000m². The cutting-edge facilities at aparto Barcelona Pallars include an external circa 45-metre length infinity pool, a 900 square metre rooftop terrace, 2,500m² of gardens including the Butterfly Garden (named because of the type of plants that attract butterflies), the Smell Garden (due to the mixture of aromatic plants), 1,400m² of amenity space including a gym with a weight, cardio, and yoga studios, two cinema rooms, leisure areas, and a bar offering both food and drink services.

 

In addition, a central feature of aparto’s offering is its first-class experience with a focus on the arts including an initiative in which street artists will design some of the paintings on the building, and a mental health programme available to all students all year around, strengthened by aparto employees receiving mental health training to identify anyone who may need help. 

 

aparto Barcelona Pallars has been designed by the Catalonian architecture studio Battle i Roig, a pioneer in landscape architecture, interweaving structures with natural spaces like gardens. Upon construction completion, the building will receive the LEED Gold and WELL Platinum Certifications for sustainability. 

 

aparto offers students a unique safe study experience and flexible model offering medium and long-term stays, from a few months to a full year, with all-inclusive rates including cleaning, Wi-Fi connection, linen services, and some additional features related to sports and wellness sessions, cocktail and cooking classes, and a series of entertainment evenings including movie nights, sports matches and tournaments. Aparto’s focus is to create places where students feel at home living within a strong community.

  

Tom Rix, director of operations at aparto, UK, commented: “With Aparto Barcelona Pallars, Hines is introducing first-class student housing in Spain. Pallars mirrors what today’s students want in terms of facilities, amenities, community engagement, and wellbeing programmes. We have already successfully demonstrated that this innovative model is in high demand in Italy, Ireland, and the UK and we anticipate the same success here in Spain and can’t wait to welcome students to Barcelona.”

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Crossrail house price boom: Reading, Maidenhead and Slough set to become property hotspots

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Crossrail may be billions of pounds over budget and three-and-a-half years late but it’s finally ready to roll.

This extraordinary feat of engineering is due to be put into service on Tuesday, when it will adopt its correct title of the Elizabeth Line. 

The Queen made a surprise visit to Paddington station this week and officially opened the line.

On the line: The Thames flows through Maidenhead, which will now enjoy a direct link to Central London thanks to its new Crossrail station

On the line: The Thames flows through Maidenhead, which will now enjoy a direct link to Central London thanks to its new Crossrail station

Linking Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east with Heathrow and Reading to the west of the capital, it will bind together existing commuter railways, accelerating cross-city travel and relieving overcrowding on the London Underground — particularly the often hellish Central Line.

Commuters’ journey times will be slashed; Reading to London Liverpool Street, for example, will take under an hour.

When fully operational it will increase London’s rail capacity by 10 per cent, making it the largest single expansion of the city’s transport network in more than 70 years.

There are still a few glitches to be ironed out. Initially passengers travelling from Reading in the west to Abbey Wood and beyond will have to change at Paddington or Liverpool Street mainline stations. 

Also Bond Street is three months behind schedule. Trains will not call there until later in the year. Yet these delays pale into insignificance when you consider how the Elizabeth Line will transform rail travel in the capital.

Cross town: The Elizabeth line will run east to west across London, starting in Berkshire and ending in Essex

Cross town: The Elizabeth line will run east to west across London, starting in Berkshire and ending in Essex

The new station at Paddington, for example, is the size of three Wembley football pitches, with natural light as far as the platform entry from a nearly 400ft-long glass canopy.

More than £1 billion has been spent on upgrading 31 existing stations and tracks. Spacious tunnels will lead to airy 600 ft platforms, with glass screens at the edge of the tracks, making it impossible to fall under a train. 

Step-free access from street to train will make the service accessible to wheelchairs. 

The nine-car, air-conditioned trains will have colourful bench seats and open interiors with full-width walk-through connections between cars. It will be a world away from today’s cramped, cluttered carriages.

Few engineering projects change the way we live but The Elizabeth Line promises to do just that. People are already flocking to the new stations.

Research from Savills last year found that, over the past five years, homes within 0.6 mile of about half of the stations on the line have increased in price by 25 per cent or more.

It follows that when the sleek and airy new trains come into service, delivering people to their workplaces in double quick time, we can expect a migration to the west of London.

Here are the hotspots:

Reading revival

Outlay: More than £1bn has been spent on upgrading 31 existing stations and tracks

Outlay: More than £1bn has been spent on upgrading 31 existing stations and tracks

Not so long ago Reading was best known for its brewery and its biscuit factory — not any more. 

International companies, including Amazon UK, Virgin Media and KPMG have moved there and with reasonably priced homes, compared to London, the town is already popular with commuters.

‘I recently dealt with a young woman who sold her 750 sq ft flat in London for £600,000 and bought a 1,750 ft duplex in Reading for £650,000,’ says James Hathaway, of Winkworth estate agents.

The town has lots of green space, riverside walks, the Grade II-listed Thames Lido and great shopping, notably in Broad Street and the Oracle centre. The average price of a home sold in Reading was £384,000 last year.

Compare that to the £512,000 average price in, say, East London and you will see why an exodus from the capital is forecast when the Elizabeth Line makes commuting a doddle.

Maidenhead marches on

This Berkshire town is keen to attract the City bankers who had previously been put off living there by having to trek across the capital’s underground system to get to work.

‘The Elizabeth Line changes all that and buyer enquiries have already started booming,’ says Dawn Carritt at Jackson-Stops estate agents.

‘The prospect of living near the river in Maidenhead or in nearby villages such as Sonning and Bray is appealing.’

Maidenhead (with Theresa May as its MP) is on the cusp of a revival. Its 1960s shopping centre is to be transformed into The Nicholson Quarter, a swish mixed-use centre.

The area by the river is being developed and trendy cocktail bars and restaurants such as Coppa Club are thriving — a sure sign of a town on the up.

Slough expansion

Ricky Gervais did Slough no favours when he set The Office there. Yet the town has a lot going for it. It is well located for travel, nestling between the M4 and the M40 and within easy reach of the M25 and Heathrow airport.

First-time buyer portal Share to Buy claims that Slough has been one of the UK’s top ten property hotspots over the past decade with a 73 per cent increase in house prices. 

The Berkeley Group is redeveloping the former Horlicks factory and site to create 1,300 homes.

A small flat sells for £150,000 and a three-bed terrace house for £350,000. The centre is being improved and with the coming of the Elizabeth Line, things can only get better.

On the market… the hotspots 

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Australia’s opposition Labour party poised to topple ruling conservatives

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The Australian Labour party will topple the ruling conservatives at a national election although it may have to form a minority government, the Australian Broadcasting Corp said on Saturday.

Initial vote counts showed prime minister Scott Morrison’s conservative coalition and the Labour opposition losing ground to smaller parties like the environment-focused Greens and climate-focused independents.

Neither of the major parties appeared certain to win the minimum 76 seats required for a majority in the 151-seat parliament, but Labour appeared on track to win more than 70 seats, the ABC said.

“Labour is 72 and needs 76 seats to govern. There are 11 members of the crossbench, most of whom support action on climate change,” said ABC election analyst Antony Green in a live broadcast.

“If Labour falls short and it wants to form government, it can talk to the Greens or it can talk to the crossbench.”

Cable television station Sky News ran a chyron which said: “Labour tracking towards election victory”.

In addition to this two television stations projected on Saturday that the ruling conservative coalition cannot win enough seats to form a government, after the government lost ground to climate-focused independents and smaller parties.

The struggles of prime minister Scott Morrison’s Liberal-National coalition, and to a lesser extent the opposition Labour Party led by Anthony Albanese, raised the prospect of a hung parliament and period of uncertainty while a record number of postal votes are counted.

“At the moment, I can’t see the coalition getting to a majority on these numbers,” the Australian Broadcasting Corp’s election analyst Antony Green said in a live broadcast.

Centre-left Labour had held a decent lead in opinion polls after nine years in opposition, although recent surveys showed the Liberal-National government narrowing the gap in the final stretch of a six-week campaign.

A Newspoll survey by The Australian newspaper out on election day showed Labour’s lead over the ruling coalition dipping a point to 53-47 on a two-party-preferred basis, where votes for unsuccessful candidates are redistributed to the top two contenders.

But growing dissatisfaction over policies, candidate selection and integrity saw voters turn away from both major parties.

Teal

In several affluent Liberal-held seats, so-called “teal independents” campaigning for action on climate change after some of the worst floods and fires to hit Australia, looked likely to win.

Three volunteers working for teal independent Monique Ryan, who is running against Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in the long-held Liberal seat of Kooyong in Melbourne, said they joined Ryan’s campaign because they are concerned about the climate for the sake of their children and grandchildren.

“For me, it’s like this election actually feels hopeful,” Charlotte Forwood, a working mother of three adult children, told Reuters.

With 82 per cent of polling booths counted, Ryan was projected to win 53 per cent of the two-party preferred vote.

Early returns suggested the Greens had also made ground, especially in some urban centres, while billionaire Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party and Pauline Hanson’s right-wing One Nation also looked to have gained votes at the expense of both major parties.

Greens leader Adam Bandt, who retained his inner city Melbourne seat, said climate was a major issue for voters.

“There was an attempt from Labour and Liberal to bury it, and we were very clear about the need to tackle climate by tackling coal and gas.”

Mr Morrison and Mr Albanese earlier cast their votes in Sydney after making whistle-stop tours across marginal seats in the final two days of a campaign dominated by rising living costs, climate change and integrity.

As Labour focused on spiking inflation and sluggish wage growth, Mr Morrison made the country’s lowest unemployment in almost half a century the centrepiece of his campaign’s final hours.

In the outgoing parliament, the Liberal-National coalition held 76 of the 151 lower house seats, while Labour held 68, with seven minor party and independent members.

Voting is compulsory and more than half of votes had been cast by Friday evening, with a record 8 million early in-person and postal votes, the Australian Electoral Commission said.

The commission has cautioned that a clear winner might not immediately emerge if it is a close contest, due to the time required to count about 3 million postal votes. – Reuters

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