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James Corden fought planning war with London neighbour who lives next to Chris Martin

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James Corden fought a planning war with he and Coldplay singer Chris Martin’s  next-door neighbour over controversial plans to build an ‘iceberg basement’. 

The celebrities, both based in Los Angeles, owned multimillion-pound properties in the upmarket Belsize Park area of North London – separated by a £600,000 garage conversion home. 

The pair were renting out their properties at up to £15,000-a-month each when their joint neighbour submitted proposals to build a large basement extension.

Corden, 42, who is rumoured to net up to £5million-a-year as host of The Late Late Show in the US, feared the plans could scupper the rental income from his four-storey £3.3million home.

In a bid to convince council planning chiefs to veto the plans, the comedian claimed the noise from the building work could impact on his tenants.

And, as part of the two-year planning battle, the London-born star submitted a formal objection to the proposals.

Coldplay front man Martin, who bought his London pad from Kate Winslet for £2.5million in 2004, did not formally objected to the plans.

But the singer, 44, was mentioned several times in planning documents submitted to local council chiefs.

Despite Corden’s objection, councillors gave the green light for the plans to go ahead – with much of the work now completed.

Representatives for Corden say the comedian no longer owns the Belsize property. 

James Corden fought a planning war with he and Coldplay singer Chris Martin's next-door neighbour over controversial plans to build an 'iceberg basement'. Pictured: The London home that Corden owned

James Corden fought a planning war with he and Coldplay singer Chris Martin’s next-door neighbour over controversial plans to build an ‘iceberg basement’. Pictured: The London home that Corden owned 

The comedian's four-storey £3.3million home was connected to the comparatively small garage conversion  (pictured) - thought to be worth around £600,000

The comedian’s four-storey £3.3million home was connected to the comparatively small garage conversion  (pictured) – thought to be worth around £600,000

Coldplay frontman Martin, who bought his London pad from Kate Winslet for £2.5million in 2004, has not formally objected to the plans

Coldplay frontman Martin, who bought his London pad from Kate Winslet for £2.5million in 2004, has not formally objected to the plans

As part of a two-year planning battle, the London-born star submitted a formal objection to his neighbour's proposals (pictured)

As part of a two-year planning battle, the London-born star submitted a formal objection to his neighbour’s proposals (pictured)

The bitter battle between Corden and his neighbour, Benjamin Miranda, began soon after the comedian purchased the four-storey townhouse in 2012.

The subterranean palaces under your feet: What is an iceberg basement?

The stunning multimillion-pound mansions and town houses of some of London’s fanciest districts are eye-catching enough from the outside.

But sometimes the stunning exterior is just the tip of the iceberg.

Built into the basements of some of these gorgeous properties are huge underground extension – with pools, spas and cinemas.

They have become increasingly popular in high-end neighbourhoods such as Chelsea, Kensington and Westminster.

Figures from 2008 to 2017, compiled by Newcastle University, show plans for almost 1,000 gyms, 376 pools, 456 cinemas, 381 wine stores and cellars and 115 staff rooms were given the green light by councils in London’s most prestigious areas.

One £25million mansion in Notting Hill  which went on sale in 2018 boasted a double-layer basement with a 21-metre swimming pool – almost as big as your average leisure centre.

These subterranean palaces are not cheap, and not easy to build, with some taking two years to complete.  

And it’s not always straight forward – which Goldman Sachs boss Christoph Stanger found out when part of his £7million Kensington home collapsed in 2012 while excavation work was being carried out.

Rules have been tightened in recent years – leading to a decline in demand.

Applications for basements lodged in Westminster fell by 27 per cent in 2019, according to the Times.

‘Buyers are becoming less excited about amenities that require maintenance and can easily go wrong,’ says Marc Schneiderman of north London prime estate agents, Arlington Residential, told the Telegraph.

 

Miranda’s comparatively tiny, two-floor, two-bed, converted garage is squeezed in-between Corden and Martin’s massive pads.  

Corden first riled Miranda by applying for planning permission to Camden Council in February 2013. 

The star submitted plans to erect a single story extension with roof terrace over to rear of the property.

Miranda wrote two letters of objection to the council in which he stated he’d even met Corden to talk about his plans and had been assured that they wouldn’t be building an ‘overpowering structure’.

Miranda was concerned that the extension would ’cause a boxing-in effect on an already small property’ and raised concerned that it was not ‘aesthetically pleasing’.

Corden won that round with planning permission being given two months later, but the bad blood had set in.

When Miranda applied in 2017 to build an entirely new basement, Corden raised fears the excavation work would cause permanent damage to both his and and Martin’s house.

It started two years of rows with Corden employing solicitors, construction consultants, surveyors, architects and luxury estate agents.

The planning professional produced reports against the development, which had added complications as the warring pair shared a communal walkway.

Corden’s solicitors Town Legal LLP wrote a letter in July 2018 claiming vital documents relating to the plans weren’t available on the council website and that Corden and wife Julia, 45, had been given false information.

At this point, Corden, who was pictured in 2014 moving into the property with the help of Hollywood star Anne Hathaway, wasn’t living at the Belsize Park home, having relocating to Los Angeles in 2015.

Instead he was renting the townhouse out to professionals.

In November 2018, his tenant management agents, Atlantic Swiss, sent a further letter of objection complaining that Miranda’s development would lead to some of Corden’s staff being given the sack if it was approved.

The letter also claimed that no professionals would want to rent the property during the ‘full-term of the works’, adding: ‘As a direct result of the inability to rent the property, we will lose revenue. 

‘As a consequence this will affect the employment of three staff at the property. 

The bitter battle between Corden (pictured) and his neighbour, Benjamin Miranda, began soon after the comedian purchased the four-storey townhouse in 2012

The bitter battle between Corden (pictured) and his neighbour, Benjamin Miranda, began soon after the comedian purchased the four-storey townhouse in 2012

Martin, did not object to the plans but has been mentioned several times in planning documents submitted to local council chiefs

Martin, did not object to the plans but has been mentioned several times in planning documents submitted to local council chiefs

‘Namely, the housekeeper, gardener/building maintenance man and one of our building managers based at our office.

‘As the property is tenanted by professionals, they expect us to maintain a high level of service at all times. This will be impossible with building work on the doorstep.

‘I know the noise excavations can cause. As our tenants are professionals who will require quiet to work, the disruption will not be acceptable to them.’

In December 2018, Corden employed building consultants Ridge and Partners LLP to provide a ‘technical review of the construction program’.

Metropolis argued that Corden and Martin’s walls were at risk by the plans (pictured) and the development hadn’t demonstrated its 'structural stability’

Metropolis argued that Corden and Martin’s walls were at risk by the plans (pictured) and the development hadn’t demonstrated its ‘structural stability’

They claim that the works (pictured: Plans for the work) would take at least 37 weeks, the joint driveway would have to be closed for at least 30 weeks of it, and not only would it be noisy, but there’d be a ‘risk of vibration and movement’

They claim that the works (pictured: Plans for the work) would take at least 37 weeks, the joint driveway would have to be closed for at least 30 weeks of it, and not only would it be noisy, but there’d be a ‘risk of vibration and movement’

They claimed that the works would take at least 37 weeks, the joint driveway would have to be closed for at least 30 weeks of it, and not only would it be noisy, but there’d be a ‘risk of vibration and movement’.

Planning experts and architects Metropolis wrote a further letter of objection in April 2019, and also produced a planning and design report.

The report stated that the basement extension didn’t ‘preserve the character’ of the area, and was ‘excessive depth and scale’.

Metropolis argued that Corden and Martin’s walls were at risk and the development hadn’t demonstrated its ‘structural stability’.

Yet despite Corden’s complaints, in July 2019, Camden Council approved the application, with some legal conditions, before being finally rubber-stamping the plans the following October.

Building work appears to have now just about finished on Miranda’s property as damp-proof specialists were seen visiting recently.  

The council decision notice stated that it didn’t think there would be any substantial harm to Corden or Martin’s properties.

The notice adds: ‘Plan in so far as it would not cause harm to neighbouring properties; the structural, ground or water conditions of the area; the character and amenity of the area; the architectural character of the building; and the significance of heritage assets.’ 

Miranda did not respond to attempts for comment. MailOnline has contacted representatives for James Corden and Chris Martin for comment.

A representative for Corden said the comedian and his wife no longer own the property. Representatives for Martin declined to comment.

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Mirrored furniture trend can create the illusion of space in your home

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Mirrored furniture provokes strong emotions. Some see it as the epitome of bad taste, flashy and bling. Others know that mirrors have magic powers.

A mirrored table or cabinet makes a room or a hallway appear more swish and spacious. It’s a trick that bars and restaurants employ to ensure their establishments appear roomier and more inviting — and they can add lustre to your home, too.

Choosing a piece of mirrored furniture also sends out a sign that you are aware of one of the year’s trends — the return of Art Deco, the influential style that emerged in the 1920s. 

Reflections: A mirrored bedside table. The power of the mirror to create an impression has been recognised for centuries

Reflections: A mirrored bedside table. The power of the mirror to create an impression has been recognised for centuries

It blended forms that celebrated modern machinery with decorative elements drawn from Greco-Roman culture and nature. 

The mirror was a favourite material, used on the surfaces of furniture and walls to supply a shimmering silver and gold effect.

Probably the most famous piece of Art Deco architecture is New York’s Chrysler Building. Completed in 1930, its sunburst-patterned stainless steel spire remains one of the key elements of the Manhattan skyline.

Art Deco console tables, drinks trolleys and other items from the era of the building’s construction sell for thousands on auction sites such as 1stdibs underlining the growing appeal of this aesthetic. 

Jamie Watkins, the co-founder of fabric and wallpaper company Divine Savages, explains Art Deco’s allure for a new audience.

‘Art Deco, with its bold geometrical patterns was such an iconic period for design: it’s synonymous with glamour and luxury.’

The resurgent popularity of Art Deco is also based on its practicality: a mirrored piece works with almost any interior, adding interest and depth.

The power of the mirror to create a wow impression has been recognised for centuries. 

Examples of this technique include the round mirror on the wall behind the bride and groom in Jan van Eyck’s 1434 Arnolfini Portrait in the National Gallery. It sends out the message that the couple are discerning — and wealthy.

Cheers: B&M's £25 oval drinks trolley with two mirrored shelves

Cheers: B&M’s £25 oval drinks trolley with two mirrored shelves

The hall of mirrors in the palace of Versailles was designed to be a place of beauty, but also to display the financial resources of Louis XIV, the Sun King. Mirrors were a luxury item until an inexpensive manufacturing process was invented in the 1830s.

In 2022, it is possible to pick up mirrored pieces for under £100. B&M has a £25 oval drinks trolley with two mirrored shelves that would lend an air of Thirties elegance to any gathering. The £94.99 Ellison serving cart (a U.S. term for drinks trolley) from Wayfair has a similar vibe.

If you believe that the right mirrored trolley would save you money on trips to bars, the larger £144.95 gold oval mirrored trolley from Melody Maison could be the thing.

A mirrored cocktail cabinet will dazzle guests. The £1,200 Primrose & Plum champagne and gold cabinet has a Jazz-Age feel.

The £299 Venetian sideboard from Furniture Market, meanwhile, is a more modestly priced way to conjure up the party spirit of the Roaring Twenties.

The show flats of apartment blocks are often equipped with mirrored cocktail cabinets containing bottles of spirits and crystal glasses. This makes buyers dream of dinner parties, with a prelude of aperitifs, but also serves to make the apartment appear even roomier.

A console table in the hall also creates an illusion of space which can be amplified by the addition of a lamp. HomesDirect365 has a range in the style of almost every era including Art Deco, Regency, the 1960s and the 1970s. Prices start at £233.

The bedroom is often the most cramped room in either a house or flat which is why this can be the best place to experiment with mirrored furniture. 

The desire to preserve family harmony is another reason. The other members of your household may prefer the kitchen and living room to be slick and understated, seeing anything mirrored as excessive.

In the bedroom, however, you can indulge your decor fantasies. Habitat has the one-drawer Hepburn bedside table for £76.

Next offers the antique effect Fleur bedside table which costs £225 for the one-drawer version and £275 for the two-drawer version. 

The Fleur is also available as a six-drawer chest for £599 or a £1,150 double wardrobe if you seek to waft around your bedroom channelling your inner 1930s Hollywood screen siren. 

Dunelm’s Venetian mirrored dressing table also offers a chance to live out your dream of silver screen stardom (£449).

If mirrored furniture has brought out your party animal, kindling a passion for Art Deco in every guise, Divine Savages offers Deco Martini wallpaper whose design is based on the geometric forms, with a hidden Martini glass within the print (£150 per roll).

Some of your guests may not be too busy checking out their reflections on the doors of the mirrored cabinet to notice this subtle and witty detail in the wallpaper.

Savings of the week! water jugs… Up to 52% off 

The Sandvig hammered-glass jug from made.com is half-price at £22

The Sandvig hammered-glass jug from made.com is half-price at £22

Sitting outside on a sunny afternoon is already delightful. But it is even more enjoyable if you are sipping on a cool drink or an iced coffee from a generously sized jug, or maybe even a Pimm’s. The arrival of the July sales means bargains abound.

If you prioritise practicality, Ocado’s textured lustre plastic picnic jug has 33 per cent off at £8.

The price of the pleasingly geometric plastic smoky-grey Prism jug from Wayfair is 16 per cent off at £10.10. 

If you would like to feel as if you are in the south of France, John Lewis has the plain glass Arles wicker-wrapped jug. It is reduced from £25 to £12, down 52 per cent.

Wanting something more elegant that you can also use for flowers? The Sandvig hammered-glass jug from made.com is also half-price at £22.

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VGP acquires French logistics development

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VGP NV and VALGO signed an agreement to purchase 32 hectares of land that housed the former Petroplus refining units in Petit-Couronne, near Rouen. This brownfield rehabilitation project is fully in line with VGP’s core expertise and strategy. Thanks to the six years ownership of the site by VALGO and its expertise in asbestos removal, soil and water table decontamination, in-situ waste treatment and development, this area has now become a suitable site for the development of new industries and business activities.

 

On the banks of the river Seine and close to the A13 highway, the 32-hectare area of land offers its future users a highly strategic location. Following the extensive depollution work carried out by VALGO, the site is now ready for redevelopment. VGP expanded into France only a few months ago and is delighted to start its French business activities in the dynamic Rouen Normandy metropolis area, via this major project. In total, around 150,000m² of land are set to be redeveloped to accommodate industrial and logistics projects, with work due to begin in 2023.

 

Jan Van Geet, CEO VGP, said: “VGP is delighted to begin its business activities in France on a site as exceptional as this one, with strong economic and environmental ambitions that are shared by both our partner, VALGO, and the local authorities. As the rehabilitation of brownfield sites is at the heart of our business, this project is a great opportunity for us to deploy our industrial and logistical know-how. The uncertain geopolitical situation and the rise in transport prices mean that companies are increasingly looking for local support to start their business. In this context, we strongly believe in the relevance of our integrated model with a long-term vision. We are now eager to get to work and bring all the expertise of the Group to the project.”

 

Francois Bouche, CEO VALGO, commented: “We are delighted that this huge piece of land has been sold to a major investor with experience in redeveloping brownfields in Europe. However, I would first like to celebrate the work of the men and women who worked so hard to make this colossal project a success. It took more than 1 million hours and over €60m in investment by VALGO to turn the page on over 80 years of refining on this site, which already employs 600 people.”

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Selling your home? Here’s how to make sure it has kerb appeal by sprucing up outside space

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As anyone who has indulged in the brutal ‘swipe left’ culture of internet dating will testify, you don’t often get a second chance to make a first impression. And the same is true when trying to sell your property.

That’s why what lies at the front of your house — be it lawn, gravel or flagstones — can play a major role in making a sale.

Indeed, having a pleasing ‘shop front’ to snag potential buyers scrolling through listings or even walking past outside can offer leverage to boost the asking price, says Colby Short, CEO of estate agent comparison site getagent.co.uk.

Dress to impress: Colourful flower beds transform the look of a cottage in East Lothian, Scotland

Dress to impress: Colourful flower beds transform the look of a cottage in East Lothian, Scotland

‘Homes that offer a front garden carry a 4 per cent property price premium versus those without, and that equates to more than £11,000 in the current market,’ he says.

So what changes can you make to the patch in front of your house to help improve the saleability of the property?

Some alterations are simple, entry-level innovations. For example, even the smallest swatch of grass should be mown and rubbish-free. 

In fact, bins and recycling boxes are often the first thing you see in a front garden, as well as the detritus left by squirrels who have curated bits of dinner from your bags of rubbish. But it’s easy to hide bins away in a box unit.

‘If you’re trying to hide ugly bins, how about building a bin store with a planter on the top, then you can have some gorgeous outdoor succulents and flowering alpines?’ says QVC UK’s gardening expert Michael Perry. 

You can also buy wooden bin stores from outdoor furniture suppliers such as Wayfair (from £125.99).

Meanwhile, hanging baskets outside your front door help to break up a harsh brick wall, says Sean Lade, of Easy Garden Irrigation.

‘Hanging baskets are an excellent choice for adding colour and scent to your front garden and soften the front of your house. They should be installed at eye level —about 5 ft off the ground.’

Hanging baskets add colour and scent to a front garden and soften the front of a house

Hanging baskets add colour and scent to a front garden and soften the front of a house

And think about replacing tired fencing or dilapidated brick walls with natural borders, such as Boxwood hedging, which will add visual interest and is also easy to prune throughout the year.

‘If you prefer a cottage garden appearance, then why not train climbing plants to create natural archways around your front door, porch or gate?’ says Deborah Cobb, product manager at builders’ merchants MKM.

‘Raised flower beds are also a clever way to add some natural foliage. If you fill them with evergreen shrubs, then they are an easy-to-look-after and low-maintenance option that will look good all year round.’

In terms of what plants to go for, Nicola Bird, founder of seed subscription service The Floral Project, suggests some annual flowers are perfect for planting at the front of your house if you’re looking to sell. 

‘They include varieties such as cosmos, phlox, zinnias and sweet peas — not only to bring a bright splash of colour to your front garden, but also serve as a great conversation starter with your potential buyers.’

Even if you don’t have a patch of grass in front of your home, there are other fundamentals which will help with the sale, says Jonathan Rolande, professional property buyer at housebuyfast.co.uk.

This includes jet-washing your path. And just before a visit from potential buyers, remove any vehicles, where possible, to help to create an impression of space.

‘Clean the windows, frames and front doors — and clean the house number,’ he says. ‘If the garden is mostly given over to parking, soften the look with pots and planters filled with bright flowers and attractive shrubs.’

 You may think your garden gnomes are cute, but to a prospective buyer, they can be just plain creepy

He adds that if you don’t have a lawn, terracotta planters on the front sills look great with fragrant plants such as lavender and rosemary appealing to the sense of smell, too.

If your front garden is really small, use decorative gravel such as pea shingle or slate chippings, suggests Thomas Goodman, property expert at homeowner and tradesman connection website myjobquote.co.uk.

‘This will give you an attractive, low-maintenance base for topping with a few nice plant pots.

‘Fix anything that’s broken, including gates, fences and walls. These detract from any nice planting and give the impression of a home that’s not properly maintained and is going to need work.’

Colby Short says some items in your garden should be permanently jettisoned to improve the chances of a sale.

‘You may think your garden gnomes are cute, but to a prospective buyer, they can be just plain creepy. The same goes for any large statues or display items, particularly if they are of a political, religious or risque nature.

‘When it comes to potential buyers, you want to present a blank canvas. But that doesn’t mean this canvas can’t look good and add appeal in its own right.’

On the market… with kerb appeal 

Buckinghamshire: This four bedroom semi-detached cottage is on the edge of Denham Village. The bedrooms are spacious overlooking front and rear gardens. Struttandparker.com, 01753 481 781, £800,000

Buckinghamshire: This four bedroom semi-detached cottage is on the edge of Denham Village. The bedrooms are spacious overlooking front and rear gardens. Struttandparker.com, 01753 481 781, £800,000

Suffolk: There are four bedrooms in this detached house in Old Newton. The property dates from the 16th century and has a thatched roof and mature gardens. Fineandcountry.com, 01379 646 020. £1.2m

Suffolk: There are four bedrooms in this detached house in Old Newton. The property dates from the 16th century and has a thatched roof and mature gardens. Fineandcountry.com, 01379 646 020. £1.2m

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