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Millionaire Fortnum & Mason design guru loses fight to block neighbour’s ‘too suburban’ new house

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A millionaire design guru who worked for Fortnum & Mason has lost a court fight to block the building of his neighbour’s barn conversion that he claimed was ‘too suburban’ next to his listed country mansion.

Glenn Kinnersley, 60, and his wife claimed photographer neighbour Paul Dixon’s ‘suburban’ style barn conversion – complete with ‘flat box roof’ – would spoil the stately image of their £3 million Georgian country pile in Kent.

Mr Kinnersley and wife Donna bought Grade-II listed Hollingbourne House, which dominates a crest on the Kent north downs for £1.6m back in 2005, soon transforming it into the £3m home of their dreams.

But they ended up locked in a High Court battle with their neighbour over his plans to convert and revamp buildings which at one time used to be within the estate of the grand house.

In a letter of protest penned through their lawyers to the council, Mr and Mrs Kinnersley expressed their ‘disappointment with the suburban design, the extensive glazing and the non-traditional flat roof’ of their neighbours’ proposed build.

The conversion was given permission by Maidstone Borough Council in January last year, but the fight went to the High Court in May.

Glenn Kinnersley (pictured), 60, claims photographer neighbour Paul Dixon's 'suburban' style barn conversion will spoil the stately image of his £3million Georgian country pile in Kent

Glenn Kinnersley (pictured), 60, claims photographer neighbour Paul Dixon’s ‘suburban’ style barn conversion will spoil the stately image of his £3million Georgian country pile in Kent

Mr Kinnersley and wife Donna bought Grade-II listed Hollingbourne House (pictured), which dominates a crest on the Kent north downs for £1.6m back in 2005, soon transforming it into the £3m home of their dreams.

Mr Kinnersley and wife Donna bought Grade-II listed Hollingbourne House (pictured), which dominates a crest on the Kent north downs for £1.6m back in 2005, soon transforming it into the £3m home of their dreams.

Judge Karen Walden-Smith rejecting the Kinnersleys’ challenge said the council’s planning officer had advised the planning committee on the potential impacts of the development on the ‘heritage assets’ of Hollingbourne House before it granted permission.

Mr Kinnersley is the founder of global corporate and interiors design brand, Kinnersley Kent, a flourishing business based in London and Dubai.

He and his wife’s 18th century mansion, which came with eight acres of grounds and ‘vast cellars’, was originally the seat of a family of prominent Kent landowners – the Duppas – and was designed by the architect Charles Beazley as a ‘grand neo-classical residence’.

Paul (pictured) and Angela Dixon have won a court battle to build two new dwellings by converting and revamping outbuildings which used to be within the house's estate

Paul (pictured) and Angela Dixon have won a court battle to build two new dwellings by converting and revamping outbuildings which used to be within the house’s estate

Mr Dixon and wife Angela live in Mulberry Cottage, which adjoins Hollingbourne House and which they rescued from a derelict wreck when they moved in 24 years ago.

In court in May, the Kinnersleys’ lawyers said they have ‘fundamental concern about the design of the scheme’ hatched by their neighbours, which involves demolishing part of their barn to erect a ‘replacement structure’, and converting its front section to create two homes, plus parking and garden space.

At present, Mr Dixon uses the barn to house his commercial photography business.

The Dixons also plan to demolish a garden wall which their neighbours say is historic, but which they say is crumbling, while rebuilding an alternative wall and restoring an old glasshouse.

In a protest letter to Maidstone Borough Council, the Kinnersleys complained that many ‘features’ of the proposed build next door were ‘out of keeping with the prevailing character of the site and will detract from the agricultural character of the building and from the overall aesthetic of the estate’.

The couple were also critical of plans for ‘dominating windows’ which would be ‘highly visible from the listed walled garden owned and used by Mr and Mrs Kinnersley’.

The 18th century country mansion Hollingbourne House, in Hollingbourne, near Maidstone, Kent, as it was long before it was purchased by design guru millionaire design guru who worked for Fortnum & Mason

The 18th century country mansion Hollingbourne House, in Hollingbourne, near Maidstone, Kent, as it was long before it was purchased by design guru millionaire design guru who worked for Fortnum & Mason

Such jarring features would ‘draw the eye and significantly alter the experience of the historical surroundings of Hollingbourne House’, they claimed.

But the Dixons insist they have done their utmost to design a project in tune with both the environment and the historical profile of Hollingbourne House.

Paul Dixon says he and his wife have lavished time and cash in lovingly restoring the buildings they own next to the big house over the past two decades.

They intend to convert the Courtyard Studios into residences to provide for their pension pot, says Mr Dixon.

The dilapidated wall – once levelled and rebuilt – will blend in perfectly with the setting of Grade-II listed Hollingbourne House, he said, and works carried on in the walled garden will even enhance the surroundings.

The Dixons live in Mulberry Cottage (pictured), which adjoins Hollingbourne House and which they rescued from a derelict wreck when they moved in 24 years ago.

The Dixons live in Mulberry Cottage (pictured), which adjoins Hollingbourne House and which they rescued from a derelict wreck when they moved in 24 years ago.

Mr Dixon currently uses his barn (pictured) to house his commercial photography business

Mr Dixon currently uses his barn (pictured) to house his commercial photography business

Plans for Mr Dixon's barn conversion, criticised as 'too suburban' next to grade-II listed Hollingbourne House in Kent

Plans for Mr Dixon’s barn conversion, criticised as ‘too suburban’ next to grade-II listed Hollingbourne House in Kent

Challenging the grant of planning permission, lawyers for the Kinnersleys claimed the planning committee had misinterpreted local planning policies and had been misdirected by elements of a planning officer’s report on the proposal and its potential impacts on Hollingbourne House.

Dismissing their challenge, Judge Walden-Smith said the ‘major concern’ for the council had been in assessing the impact on the ‘significance of the setting of the listed house.’

The advice it received was that the proposed conversion would alter its external appearance but that it would be ‘minor’ and was not considered to cause any damage to Hollingbourne House.

‘The court will only interfere if there is a distinct and material defect in the officer’s advice and in this case the planning officer has set out a detailed analysis of the proposal on each aspect of the heritage assets,’ she said.

‘Given the detail the planning officer has given with respect to each aspect of the heritage assets, it is of course possible to point to minor errors and less than tight language, but that is not what the court is concerned with.

‘The court considers the officer’s report and the advice contained within it as a whole to determine whether it is misleading to the planning committee.

‘The officer’s report contains a full appraisal of the impact of the proposal on all aspects of the heritage elements and in reading the document as a whole, there is no error of law which makes the decision properly open to challenge.’

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Rishi Sunak’s swimming pool complex at his manor house is pictured as he tries to become the next PM

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Rishi Sunak‘s lavish private swimming pool complex at his North Yorkshire manor house has been pictured as he continues to battle Liz Truss to become the next Prime Minister.

The former Chancellor of the Exchequer, who like Ms Truss is facing questions over how they will deal with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and spiralling energy prices, has spent £400,000 on the new pool.

He is also building a gym and tennis courts at the £2million Georgian manor near Northallerton, with reports from earlier this year estimating he would have to pay £13,000-a-year to keep the new pool warm. 

However, this figure may have risen dramatically over the last few months as energy prices have continued to surge, putting millions of people in the UK at risk of not being able to pay their bills.

Yesterday Mr Sunak, who has been criticised for building the pool while his local swimming baths in Richmond are forced to close due to rising energy bills, pledged to spend billions more to help people with the cost-of-living crisis.

The former investment banker, who made a fortune before becoming a politician, said there was a ‘moral responsibility’ to offer extra help, while also taking a swipe at Ms Truss’s plans to cut taxes.

He pledged to give more help to pensioners and those on benefits, while also vowing to cut VAT on energy bills – which he said could raise total support for families to around £700 to £800 – while energy bills look set to reach an eyewatering £4,400 after Christmas.

A gym, tennis court and swimming pool complex at Rishi Sunak's North Yorkshire manor house has taken shape after months of construction

A gym, tennis court and swimming pool complex at Rishi Sunak’s North Yorkshire manor house has taken shape after months of construction

The Tory leadership hopeful is thought to have spent in the region of £400,000 on the extension to his Georgian Grad2-II listed property

The Tory leadership hopeful is thought to have spent in the region of £400,000 on the extension to his Georgian Grad2-II listed property

It comes as Mr Sunak, pictured here in a visit to St John's Wood Synagogue yesterday, continues his quest to become the next Prime Minister

It comes as Mr Sunak, pictured here in a visit to St John’s Wood Synagogue yesterday, continues his quest to become the next Prime Minister

The swimming pool at his Grade-II listed manor house, where he typically spends his weekends with his wife and two daughters, has been under construction for several months.

The 42-year-old applied to the local council to build an L-shaped pool house, which will include a hot tub, utility and changing area and plant room, last year.

These plans, which included a 12-metre by five-metre swimming pool, were later approved by the council.

No tax payer money is thought to have been used in building the complex, and there were no objections from people living nearby. 

Reports it would cost £13,000-a-year to heat did not go down well among members of his constituency, especially after the sharp rise in energy bills.

The 42-year-old applied to build an L-shaped pool house, which will include a hot tub, utility and changing area and plant room, last year

The 42-year-old applied to build an L-shaped pool house, which will include a hot tub, utility and changing area and plant room, last year

It will include a tennis court (which can be seen in the bottom half of this picture), as well as an indoor private swimming pool

It will include a tennis court (which can be seen in the bottom half of this picture), as well as an indoor private swimming pool

No tax payer money is thought to have been used in building the complex, and there were no objections from people living nearby before it was approved by the local council last year

No tax payer money is thought to have been used in building the complex, and there were no objections from people living nearby before it was approved by the local council last year

Retired steel worker Leslie Porter, 69, told the Mirror: ‘Some people are having to choose between heating and eating. Bills are all rising and he does this. It’s obscene.’

Receptionist Hayley Hadden added: ‘He is a millionaire many times over and it looks like he is rubbing our noses in it. He doesn’t have to worry about paying his bills.’

It is one of a number of properties owned by Mr Sunak and his wife Akshata Murthy, who is the daughter of one of the richest men in India.

While he was chancellor the family lived in a flat above No 10 Downing Street, but earlier this year they moved to their £6.6 million mews house in Kensington.

The L-shaped pool house, which is under construction after permission was given last year, is set to inlcude a hot tub, utility and changing area, and a plant room

The L-shaped pool house, which is under construction after permission was given last year, is set to inlcude a hot tub, utility and changing area, and a plant room

Reports it will cost £13,000-a-year to heat did not go down well among members of his constituency, especially after the sharp rise in energy bills

Reports it will cost £13,000-a-year to heat did not go down well among members of his constituency, especially after the sharp rise in energy bills

Work has  started on construction of the swimming pool, gym and tennis court at the Sunak's North Yorkshire manor earlier this year

Work has  started on construction of the swimming pool, gym and tennis court at the Sunak’s North Yorkshire manor earlier this year

They also own a £5.5 million home in Santa Monica in California, where Mr Sunak has been tipped to live if he decides to quit politics in the UK.

Mr Sunak, who worked as an investment banker for firms California, India and Britain, including Goldman Sachs, is known to use the Yorkshire property when Parliament is not in session and he doesn’t need to be in London.

As his battle to become the next Prime Minister with Ms Truss heats up, this week the pair exchanged a series of barbs over their approach to the cost-of-living crisis.

The ex-chancellor has been accused by his rival’s camp of ‘Gordon Brown-style politics’ with a ‘socialist tax and spend’ agenda.

In a swipe back at the Foreign Secretary tonight, Mr Sunak suggested Ms Truss’s tax-cutting proposals were not ‘the moral thing to do’.

Rishi Sunak pledged to give more help to pensioners and those on benefits, while also vowing to cut VAT on energy bills to help with the cost-of-living crisis

Rishi Sunak pledged to give more help to pensioners and those on benefits, while also vowing to cut VAT on energy bills to help with the cost-of-living crisis

He also insisted that ‘starry-eyed boosterism’ would not steer the country through the inflation crisis.

In another jibe at Ms Truss, Mr Sunak claimed he would ‘rather lose’ the contest to become PM than promise ‘false things I can’t deliver’.

Both he and Ms Truss have faced calls to pledge further support during the cost-of-living crisis after energy bills for typical households were this week forecast to soar to more than £4,200 next year.

‘I do feel a moral responsibility as prime minister to go further and get extra help to people over the autumn and the winter to help them cope with what is going to be a really difficult time,’ Mr Sunak said.

‘I think that is the right priority.’

Mr Sunak suggested his rival Liz Truss's tax-cutting proposals were not 'the moral thing to do' as he took a series of swipes at the Foreign Secretary

Mr Sunak suggested his rival Liz Truss’s tax-cutting proposals were not ‘the moral thing to do’ as he took a series of swipes at the Foreign Secretary

The Foreign Secretary has faced pressure to match Mr Sunak’s promise of more direct support for families, after she previously steered away from pledging extra ‘handouts’ to ease the cost-of-living crisis.

Mr Sunak’s camp have accused Ms Truss of a ‘major U-turn’ after she today insisted she was not ruling out further cash payments.

But the Foreign Secretary has maintained that tax cuts – and boosting the economy – are her ‘priority’.

Ms Truss’s promise to cancel the National Insurance rise, scrap a planned increase in corporation tax, and remove green levies on energy bills appears to be proving popular with Tory members.

Mr Sunak has warned that Ms Truss’s tax-cutting plans will worsen the inflation crisis and cause interest rates to rocket.

He insisted he was ‘prepared to lose this contest’ rather than ‘saying the easy things’ and not staying ‘true to my values’.

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Window shopping: Stained glass or acoustic? Solid wood or plastic?

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Your front door isn’t there to keep people out, it’s there to welcome them in.

Along with the windows — those peep-holes into your life — the style and colour tell friends and strangers alike who you are and what they can expect when they set foot inside your home.

‘Windows can make or break a space,’ says luxury interior designer Katharine Pooley. ‘They often don’t quite receive the attention they should, which is a shame as with the right ironmongery and a beautiful finish they instantly upgrade the overall aesthetic.’

Inviting: Stained glass windows add colour and personality to a home and tell friends and strangers alike what they can expect when they set foot inside

Inviting: Stained glass windows add colour and personality to a home and tell friends and strangers alike what they can expect when they set foot inside

And yet we spend twice as long selecting a kitchen worktop than we do choosing windows for our house.

So what options do you have to make them pretty as well as practical?

Plastic fantastic?

First off, don’t go for those horrid brilliant white, smooth plastic frames for windows. They often look ugly.

If you have to get uPVC because you’re on a tight budget, then at least get them in off-white with a woodgrain effect — some brands are pretty convincing nowadays.

KJM does a good line — for a double-glazed casement in woodgrain-effect measuring 1,200mm x 630mm, the price is about £275 supply-only.

Heavy metal

The sleek, hip-kid-on-the-block, aluminium-framed windows look up-to-the minute.

And because metal is stronger than wood or uPVC, the frame will be much slimmer, so there’s a larger area for glass.

We’re used to a cool grey colour, but you can have the frames made in any hue you like. So you can have them in forest green, midnight blue or flame red.

The same windows as above in aluminium would be £515.

Colours: You can have window frames made in any shade you like, though grey is popular

Colours: You can have window frames made in any shade you like, though grey is popular

Picture windows

Oh, the fun you can have with stained glass. Coloured designs are usually banished to little fan-lights at the top of doors in late Victorian houses.

But why not have coloured or picture panels in your front windows. You can have a nautical theme if you live by the sea; or an abstract whirl of shapes and colours.

A window with a bespoke design from Cheam Leaded Lights of about 1,200mm x 630mm will cost in the region of £2,500 to £3,000 supply-only.

Modernist style

Crittall windows or doors feature a sharp Art Deco design with slim black steel frames divided into squares. 

They have had a style renaissance over the past few years, somehow looking both up-to-date and classic at the same time.

While the Crittall company still manufactures the official items, you can get them in the same style from a host of other firms.

Crittall’s windows range from £500 to £850 per square metre, including installation.

Upgrade your glass

You can get all sorts of special glass these days. If you live by a busy road, acoustic glass will do better for you than standard double glazing.

Double glazing has two panes of glass with a void between them, whereas acoustic glass has two panes sandwiched together with a thin plastic layer in the middle to filter out more sound waves. 

Polarised glass keeps out the sun’s rays on hot days. And reflective glass turns windows into a one-way mirror so you can look out but passers-by can’t look in. 

Roseview’s Ultimate Rose windows are made from uPVC, but almost indistinguishable from wood.

A 1,200mm x 630mm acoustic glass window costs about £900 supply-only.

Choose wisely: The right windows can make or break a space, according to interiors experts

Choose wisely: The right windows can make or break a space, according to interiors experts

Solid wood

Wooden windows are becoming harder to find as vinyl and fibreglass take over, but they’re durable and can be a charming addition to a home.

Wooden Windows make bespoke timber windows and doors. It’s worth matching the two; after all, there’s nothing quite like the feel of a solid wood front door thudding into place.

It says that your castle is now secure against all onslaught. They do take some maintaining, though — you will have to repaint every four or five years, and there’s the chance of warping, which could make it more difficult to close or lock.

Old English Doors do a good line in hand-made Georgian-style, six-panelled solid oak doors from £4,320 supply-only.

Savings of the week! Rugs 

Temperatures may still be soaring. But the predicted higher fuel bills in the autumn means finding ways to make your home more cosy should start now.

A rug pulls all the elements in a room together. It also provides a layer of insulation, trapping cold air underneath.

Faded: La Redoute’s version in red and blue, pictured, is reduced by 25%, from £59 to £230 (laredoute.co.uk)

Faded: La Redoute’s version in red and blue, pictured, is reduced by 25%, from £59 to £230 (laredoute.co.uk)

Some heartwarming bargains of as much as 50 per cent off are available which, with care, should keep you snug for years. 

The abstract pattern Kista from West Elm in pale grey, blue and yellow would suit a stripped-down decor. It now costs from £112.95 to £519.95 (depending on size) down from £449 to £1,039 (westelm.com). 

The Pollo from The Rug Shop UK is in the same style. It costs from £71 to £224, reduced from £79 to £249 (therug shopuk.co.uk). At Loaf, the Tufty in cream and white is down 50 per cent from £345 to £175 (loaf.com).

The Habitat Byron in dark and pale grey, orange and teal would add zing to neutral interiors; it’s down by one-third to £119.99 (argos.co.uk).

Faded antique-style rugs continue to be fashionable. La Redoute’s version in red and blue, pictured, is reduced by 25 per cent; from £59 to £230 (laredoute.co.uk).

Anne Ashworth

 

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Liverpool ONE welcomes Tessuti (GB)

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Grosvenor has announced that designer retailer, Tessuti, has opened its new global flagship store at Liverpool ONE, demonstrating the brand’s ongoing vote of confidence in the destination. The new location on Paradise Street follows Tessuti’s consistently strong performance at Liverpool ONE and spans two floors measuring 22,000ft². Boasting Tessuti’s biggest store to date, this is four times the size of the previous Liverpool ONE site. The store interiors have been styled with a subtle nod to classic Italian architecture whilst incorporating state-of-the-art technical features, combining classic design with an industrial-chic colour palette and cutting-edge digital screens. Working with local Liverpudlian digital and production agency Liquid, the new Tessuti store has exclusive instore stills and videos showcasing exciting campaigns; the first of which is rumoured to feature Liverpool stars Stephen Graham, Abbey Clancy, Miles Kane and Chelcee Grimes.

 

Aligning with Liverpool ONE’s community ethos, Tessuti’s new global flagship will also support the vibrant community in the heart of Liverpool, championing local businesses through collaborations, pop-ups, and in-store events.

 

Alison Clegg, Managing Director, Asset Management, Grosvenor, commented: “Tessuti’s commitment to Liverpool ONE, through its relocation within the destination and decision to make the new store its global flagship, strengthens our position as one of Europe’s leading retail and leisure destinations. The impressive growth trajectory of Tessuti within Liverpool is a great indication of the potential for success and expansion of other brands that join Liverpool ONE.”

 

Chris Rowan, Director of Brand & Customer Connection at Tessuti, added: “The opening of our global flagship at Liverpool ONE is a huge moment for us. Liverpool is an urban hub for international fashion retailers, so upsizing and relocating within the city’s leading retail and leisure destination was a natural next step. We feel confident that it is the ideal home for our flagship location, and are excited to offer Liverpool ONE’s visitors our most stylish project yet.”

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