Connect with us

Current

Formula 1 tycoon Ron Dennis maps out £30m Bond villain-style mega-mansion…

When Formula 1 team founder Ron Dennis sold his shares in McLaren for £275 million in 2017 he bought a huge plot of land on which to build a mega-mansion.

Now, the British Business Ambassador has submitted plans which show he hopes to build the most spectacular new home in England for £30 million. It will contain features that wouldn’t look out of place in the lair of a James Bond villain.

The most Dr No-esque proposal by Dennis, 74, is the installation of a secret tunnel on the outer perimeter of the grounds, which leads to a boat on the nearby Thames.

He also wants a ‘driver’s resting area’ for his security team which, I assume, will be built rather like a hotel room as in F1, so his team can have a place to rest their weary legs after patrolling the huge 175-acre estate.

There will also be a Roman baths-style underground pool with a sauna, steam room and massage area; an entertaining suite; a games room; a flower room; and even a room devoted to crockery and glassware.

According to the plans submitted to Wokingham Borough Council, he’s also got an underground car park to house his car collection, as well as a car wash. He is even asking for a hair and beauty salon to be put in, which, I can only assume, is for his girlfriend, Carol Weatherall (pictured with Dennis), rather than the follicly challenged man himself.

When Formula 1 team founder Ron Dennis sold his shares in McLaren for £275 million in 2017 he bought a huge plot of land on which to build a mega-mansion

When Formula 1 team founder Ron Dennis sold his shares in McLaren for £275 million in 2017 he bought a huge plot of land on which to build a mega-mansion

Dennis, who has three children with ex-wife Lisa, purchased the land in Berkshire from Spink Construction, the estate arm of developer Michael Spink’s empire. He is employing acclaimed architect Norman Foster’s company, Foster + Partners, to build his property.

Having given seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton his big break, Dennis was ousted as McLaren chief executive, after almost 40 years with the F1 giant. He fell out with the other shareholders, Saudi-born businessman Mansour Ojjeh and Bahrain sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat.

The plot neighbours what was once the most expensive house in Britain — the 500-acre Park Place estate, which was the home of George II’s eldest son.

Park Place was bought by Spink for £42 million in 2007, before being sold to former Bank of Moscow president Andrey Borodin for £140 million. He was granted political asylum in the UK, after clashing with Vladimir Putin’s regime over supposed fraud charges.

Now, the British Business Ambassador has submitted plans which show he hopes to build the most spectacular new home in England for £30 million. It will contain features that wouldn't look out of place in the lair of a James Bond villain

Now, the British Business Ambassador has submitted plans which show he hopes to build the most spectacular new home in England for £30 million. It will contain features that wouldn’t look out of place in the lair of a James Bond villain

It’s Ghislaine Maxwell, the stage show. A one-woman play about the convicted sex trafficker is to be put on at the Edinburgh Fringe. 

Actress Kristin Winters says her play will see Maxwell ‘trapped in the prison’ of psychological abuse by Jeffrey Epstein. 

She’s based her character on Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, saying, ‘[There was] something magnetic and mysterious about her’.

 Nigella isn’t sorry about feminism

Domestic goddess Nigella Lawson, who claimed she was subjected to ‘intimate terrorism’ during her ten-year marriage to art mogul Charles Saatchi, says that women no longer have to apologise for everything.

Using International Women’s Day to reflect on how things have changed since she was a teenager, the 62-year-old TV cook says: ‘You were trained to be a bit apologetic, softly spoken, not causing any trouble.

Domestic goddess Nigella Lawson, who claimed she was subjected to 'intimate terrorism' during her ten-year marriage to art mogul Charles Saatchi, says that women no longer have to apologise for everything

Domestic goddess Nigella Lawson, who claimed she was subjected to ‘intimate terrorism’ during her ten-year marriage to art mogul Charles Saatchi, says that women no longer have to apologise for everything

‘We were trained to go through life as if we were trying to go to our seat in a theatre, squeezing past people’s knees and apologising as we did it: ‘Excuse me, excuse me’.’

Nigella, who separated from Saatchi, 78, in 2013, adds: ‘There is still work to do, but I love hearing young women now taking it for granted that they will be able to move forward in the world.’

Lily Allen has revealed her favourite dish — and haute cuisine it ain’t.

The pop star and actress says it’s known in her family as ‘cheese pie’. Allen, 36, explains: ‘It’s a casserole dish with two tins of spaghetti in the tomato sauce with a layer of cheesy mashed potato on top. And then put in the oven.

‘It’s really, really gross, but I love it.’

Dua Lipa’s ex falls for Game of Thrones star 

Pop princess Dua Lipa’s ex-boyfriend, the chef Isaac Carew, is enjoying a sizzling new romance.

Former model Isaac, 35, has revealed he’s squiring actress Nell Tiger Free, 22, who starred in sex-and-dragons drama Game Of Thrones.

‘We’re official now,’ Isaac tells me at a London party. ‘I took her on a date to a nice restaurant and we had fun.’

Pop princess Dua Lipa's ex-boyfriend, the chef Isaac Carew, is enjoying a sizzling new romance

Pop princess Dua Lipa’s ex-boyfriend, the chef Isaac Carew, is enjoying a sizzling new romance

Kingston upon Thames-born Nell is based in New York, but Isaac, who wrote The Dirty Dishes cookbook, has no plans to move to the Big Apple.

‘Long distance is nothing to me because we’re talking all the time and use FaceTime. London is home to me. Maybe she’ll come to the UK,’ he says. 

Nell, who played the daughter of incestuous siblings Jaime and Cersei Lannister in Game Of Thrones, is now starring in Apple TV+ hit Servant.

Former model Isaac, 35, has revealed he's squiring actress Nell Tiger Free, 22, who starred in sex-and-dragons drama Game Of Thrones

Former model Isaac, 35, has revealed he’s squiring actress Nell Tiger Free, 22, who starred in sex-and-dragons drama Game Of Thrones

The Queen doesn’t plan to sleep at Buckingham Palace again, but will keep moving between her other homes. 

That’s clear from an advert for a maid who will have to travel between Windsor Castle and other royal residences. 

‘You’ll care for a wide range of interiors,’ says the advert on the royal website.

Otis lends a helping hand to Ukraine 

While some famous figures, including the model Caprice, indulge in publicity stunts such as stripping naked to protest against the war, others are finding more practical ways to help Ukraine.

Burberry model Otis Ferry is driving a van to the war zone to take much-needed donations, such as first-aid kits, hot water bottles and nappies, to victims of Russia’s invasion.

Burberry model Otis Ferry is driving a van to the war zone to take much-needed donations, such as first-aid kits, hot water bottles and nappies, to victims of Russia's invasion

Burberry model Otis Ferry is driving a van to the war zone to take much-needed donations, such as first-aid kits, hot water bottles and nappies, to victims of Russia’s invasion

‘I’m joining a convoy taking supplies to help refugees fleeing,’ the son of Roxy Music legend Bryan Ferry tells me. My van is completely filled with medical supplies, sleeping bags, warm clothes and other assorted comforts.’

Ferry, 39, was lent the van by Belvoir Castle, the ancestral home of his girlfriend Lady Alice Manners (pictured with Otis), 26, a daughter of the Duke of Rutland.

And last night, he was speeding through Germany.

Here’s one for the diary: Samuel Pepys is getting married. 

I hear that the 35-year-old son of the 8th Earl of Cottenham, who’s related to the 17th-century diarist, is now engaged to an Italian, Giorgia Delsante. Sam’s father, who died in 2000 aged 51, was a fast bowler who went on to set up language schools around the country. 

The linguist’s gene can be traced back to Pepys, who often used different languages as a code to write about his affairs in his diary.

Jessica’s IVF heartbreak

Downton Abbey star Jessica Brown Findlay, who married fellow Harlots actor Ziggy Heath during the pandemic with just 30 guests at their wedding, has revealed they’re struggling to have a baby.

The actress, 32, who played Lady Sybil in ITV’s hit period drama, used International Women’s Day to tell fans that she’s undergoing gruelling fertility treatment.

‘We do hard things and then go dancing,’ she says. ‘IVF has made me even more aware of just how much women are capable of and what we can achieve whilst going through pain and heartbreak.

‘Your body is not the enemy. Love it. No matter what. Sending love and support to every woman I have ever met and all the ones I haven’t but know what this is.’

Downton Abbey star Jessica Brown Findlay, who married fellow Harlots actor Ziggy Heath during the pandemic with just 30 guests at their wedding, has revealed they're struggling to have a baby

Downton Abbey star Jessica Brown Findlay, who married fellow Harlots actor Ziggy Heath during the pandemic with just 30 guests at their wedding, has revealed they’re struggling to have a baby

Source link

Current

The 11 things that make your garden look tacky, revealed by a top expert – including the flower colour that just screams cheap

A well-maintained garden may be a relaxing retreat – but it can also boost the kerb appeal and even the value of your home.

But, if done the wrong way, efforts to enhance your outside space can leave it looking cheap.

From choosing the wrong plant pots to – counterintuitively – being too tidy, the Mail’s gardening editor looks at the 11 common errors that can cheapen your garden, rather than helping it thrive. 

When tidy is too tidy

Many of us were brought up with strict ideas about well-kept gardens, with lawns neatly mown and weeds all pulled up. But that is no longer the prevailing aesthetic.

Letting go a little and being slightly untidy can lead to a more expensive looking haven. And leaving self-sown plants in summer and seed heads over winter will make your garden look more expensively abundant. Phew!

Wildflower beds with self-sown plants are now the prevailing aesthetic

Wildflower beds with self-sown plants are now the prevailing aesthetic 

Yellow’s not mellow

Don’t get me wrong, I have a soft spot for bright yellow flowers such as daffodils and sunflowers. But such garish flowers must be used in the right context.

Expansive garden beds the colour of a hi-vis vest? It’s a no. Yellow is difficult to match with other colours and should be used sparingly.

The perils of artificial grass

The quickest way to make your garden look cheap is to lay artificial turf. Used widely in sporting venues, fake grass became popular because it doesn’t need to be mowed or watered so is seen as low-maintenance and hard-wearing. But it almost always looks naff.

Plus, the disadvantages far outweigh the benefits. It is ruinous for wildlife and adds to global warming by absorbing more radiation than living grass, which acts as a carbon sink. Natural lawns allow rainwater to be soaked up, whereas artificial grass can cause run-off after heavy rainfall leading to flooding.

In hot weather, it can reach dangerous temperatures, especially for pets who might burn their paws. Plus, it only has a lifespan of ten to 20 years, after which time it is difficult to recycle.

 Soulless bare fences

Fences without greenery can make your garden look boxy and cheap. There are plenty of easy climbers you can plant to soften the feel and make your garden look more high-end.

Star Jasmine is a lovely evergreen with pretty white flowers, while climbing hydrangea is good for a shady corner.

If you want privacy, remember evergreen hedges can’t be more than 2m high, according to the High Hedges Act. Instead try planting deciduous silver birch trees with attractive white trunks and green foliage in summer when you are out in the garden.

Don’t settle for plastic furniture

Moulded plastic chairs are unsightly and should be avoided at all costs. Plus, they’re uncomfortable and topple if you lean too far back, or slice into any bare flesh unfortunate enough to touch the seat.

If your budget won’t stretch to buying new wood, rattan or metal alternatives, search local online groups to see if anyone has second hand deck chairs or outdoor dining sets on offer.

If you are willing to buy something preloved and weathered, it can often cost less but look more expensive.

Thin borders, a thing of the past

Narrow flower beds around the edge of a rectangular lawn used to be thought of as the ideal garden design, but these days it just looks scrimping.

Borders should be at least a metre deep to allow for multi-layered planting. Don’t just put them around the perimeter of your garden. Flower beds used to divide up a space add a touch of mystery and look much classier.

Gadgets and gazebos

Barbecues, fire pits, corner sofas, gazebos, over-sized paddling pools – its easy for your outdoor space to become cluttered with so many garden gadgets you can’t move around without tripping over them.

Decide what you really need and use often, then recycle the rest. Or store them away neatly in the shed until you want to use them.

Plastic plant pot horror

It is tricky to keep plants looking good in plastic containers, even the ones that attempt to imitate terracotta.

As well as the lack of sustainability, the trouble with plastic is that unlike materials such as wood and stone, it provides no protection for plants against drying out in summer and freezing in winter, and it is not breathable.

If you do have plastic pots, reuse them for propagating and save your best non-plastic containers for display purposes.

Paving the way to disaster  

Every gardener needs somewhere to sit, but this shouldn’t come at the expense of losing too much of your lawn.

Ideally there should be a ratio of at least two-thirds planting and grass to one-third hard surface. If you are putting in a new patio, consider leaving gaps between the pavers for low plants such as creeping thyme and Mind-Your-Own-Business which will also help with drainage. 

If you want to park your car in your front garden, choose a permeable surface with planting around the edges.

Fly-away greenhouses

I must confess I own one of these mini shelving units covered in a zip-up, see-through plastic smock. But after it fell over outside one too many times in windy weather, despite being tied to the wall, I have brought it in to our lean-to where I now use it as a propagating unit. A pile of overturned seed trays and spilled soil does nothing to add to kerb appeal.

Do away with dead pot plants 

Well-tended container planting can add a cheerful welcome to a garden or balcony, but there is little as off-putting as being greeted by a collection of unidentifiable shrivelled dead plants in pots.

Avoid this by doing your research and choosing plants you love which will encourage you to water and feed them regularly. Having a water butt nearby makes this task much easier.

Source link

Continue Reading

Culture

Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by Savills reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.


Continue Reading

Current

The house that Poundland bought: Moated manor complete with a swimming pool and a museum about the budget chain that was owned by late founder Keith Smith goes on the market for £7.75m

A stunning manor that was bought by the late founder of Poundland has gone on the market for £7.75million.

The nine-bed refurbished Jacobean mansion in Claverley, Shropshire has its own swimming pool and features a museum dedicated to the budget chain. 

Keith Smith launched the discount chain in 1990 with his son Steve and together they grew the enterprise to over 70 stores before selling it for £50million in 2002.

Mr Smith, who grew up in nearby Willenhall, bought Ludstone Hall in 1997 with his Poundland profits upon returning to the UK.  He died in 2022, aged 79, after a short battle with cancer and his wife Maureen passed away a few months later.

Now, his son Steve and his siblings are selling his late father’s beloved home for £7.75million. 

Ludstone Hall dates back to Medieval times but the current property was built in 1607 for the Whitmore family. The estate stayed in the family until 1867 and has only had a handful of owners since.

Steve Smith (pictured) at the moated manor home which his parents bought in 1997

Steve Smith (pictured) at the moated manor home which his parents bought in 1997 

The Poundland museum which is located inside Ludstone Hall

The Poundland museum which is located inside Ludstone Hall 

One of the dining rooms in Ludstone Hall which was owned by co-founder of Poundland Keith Smith

One of the dining rooms in Ludstone Hall which was owned by co-founder of Poundland Keith Smith 

The home is now on the market for £7.75million

The home is now on the market for £7.75million

The swimming pool located inside the manor home in Shropshire

The swimming pool located inside the manor home in Shropshire 

Poundland's co-founders Steve and Keith Smith pictured together

Poundland’s co-founders Steve and Keith Smith pictured together

The manor has period features such as mullioned windows, panelled reception hall, stone fireplaces and the remarkable survival of the original lead rainwater goods.

The main house has over 8,000 sq ft of accommodation including four reception rooms, nine bedrooms, seven bathrooms and extensive cellars. 

A leisure complex at the rear includes the swimming pool with retractable floor, a handmade oak bar, separate dining area and a hot tub under a raised platform.

There is a two-bedroom gate lodge on the grounds and a number of outbuildings, including a coach house that the Smiths converted to create a museum to the history of both the estate and Poundland.

The formal gardens include box hedging, lawns, squash court, the moat, raised terraces, a lake and an orchard.

Steve Smith (pictured) outside his parents' home in Claverley, Shropshire

Steve Smith (pictured) outside his parents’ home in Claverley, Shropshire 

The main house has over 8,000 sq ft of accommodation including four reception rooms, nine bedrooms, seven bathrooms and extensive cellars

The main house has over 8,000 sq ft of accommodation including four reception rooms, nine bedrooms, seven bathrooms and extensive cellars

The kitchen area inside the property which has an island and a chandelier

The kitchen area inside the property which has an island and a chandelier 

One of the living rooms in the property which boasts period features

One of the living rooms in the property which boasts period features 

A luxurious main double-bedroom at the home which features a four-poster bed and fireplace

A luxurious main double-bedroom at the home which features a four-poster bed and fireplace

A Poundland store in Staines-upon-Thames, Surrey

A Poundland store in Staines-upon-Thames, Surrey

After leaving school, Keith Smith worked as an apprentice draughtsman before running a market stall and the Hooty’s cash & carry in Willenhall, Walsall. 

When his son Steve turned 18 and wanted to launch a business of his own, his father gave him the idea of starting up a shop where everything was £1.

With a £50,000 loan from Keith, the pair co-founded Poundland, with the first shop opening in Burton upon Trent, in Staffordshire.

Steve, 61, said: ‘When my parents came back to the UK they wanted to find a home where they would never want to move from, and they certainly found that at Ludstone.

‘My mum and dad really loved their time at the estate which can be seen in the amount of money they invested in the property – it really is the home that Poundland built.

The home was bought in 1997 by Keith Smith with his Poundland profits

The home was bought in 1997 by Keith Smith with his Poundland profits 

Mr Smith and his wife Maureen spent £7million on a major refurb of the nine bedroom Jacobean mansion

Mr Smith and his wife Maureen spent £7million on a major refurb of the nine bedroom Jacobean mansion

The swimming pool which is located underneath the floor

The swimming pool which is located underneath the floor

A bridge across the moat which surrounds the stunning property in Claverley

A bridge across the moat which surrounds the stunning property in Claverley 

‘One particular investment they made was installing the swimming pool. They wanted to have a big party for the millennium so had one with a retractable floor installed so that the room could also be used to host events.

‘Living locally myself, I have some really happy memories of their time here. I used to bring dad the broken sweets we couldn’t sell and he’d feed them to the cows that he kept in the grounds. The cows were sold to a supermarket chain who said that it was the sweetest meat they’d tasted.

‘We’d also hold charity events and open up the museum to visitors and raised thousands of pounds for local good causes over the years.

‘The property holds so much historic significance, and has only had a handful of owners since it was built. We’re now keen to see the property go to a new family who can make their own memories here.

‘While the Ludstone Hall Estate section of the museum will remain at the property, we’ll also be donating all of the Poundland memorabilia to Poundland so that they can preserve the history of the company.’

Ludstone Hall is being sold by estate agents Fisher German.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!