May 21 2013 Latest news:
by Josh Pettitt , Reporter
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Actor Tom Conti has called on neighbour Thierry Henry to clear off from his Hampstead pile rather than demolish it for a larger home to accommodate a 40ft fish tank.
The Shirley Valentine actor has predicted “absolute nightmare disruption” for neighbours should Camden Council approve proposals to level the £10million property – designed by former president of Royal British Architects Sir Richard MacCormac.
The Scottish actor, whose garden backs onto Henry’s home, and seven others have called on planning officials to kick the former Arsenal captain’s plans into the long grass.
Henry’s 25,000-litre aquarium would spiral all the way from a swimming pool, bar and cinema in the basement to the master bedroom on the second floor.
Mr Conti, 70, told the Ham&High: “If someone wants large house why do they not just buy one somewhere else? Why do they have to knock it down?
“It causes such disruption. The noise will just be colossal because he will have to drill down for his basement
“It’s an absolute nightmare.
“The problem is he wants to build this enormous fish tank and I suppose he is going to have to build a whole new house so he can house that.”
But Mr Conti, who is set to appear in summer Batman blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises, did not harbour hopes of being able to influence the decision after neighbours John Alderton and Pauline Collins, from TV’s Upstairs Downstairs, lost their long battle against a neighbour’s basement development.
“It’s very irritating,” said Mr Conti.
“An individual householder is never going to win, just look at John Alderton who will now have that endless noise in his garden.”
The Heath and Hampstead Society has also lodged objections against knocking down the current house which is next door to a Grade II-listed home.
A spokesman called the plans “over-bulky; ungainly; squat in proportion, lumpish” and with “no style or elegance”.
The Twentieth Century Society, which tries to safeguard the heritage of architecture and design in Britain from 1914 onwards, said the current building “represents a crucial part of the oeuvre of an outstanding firm of the late Twentieth Century”, which is part owned by Sir Richard.
Henry claims his current home has aged badly and is no longer “fit as a family home”, according to the French striker’s architects.
The 34-year-old bought the home in 2001 with former partner, model Claire Merry.
The council will consider the plans at a meeting tonight (Thursday, May 10).