George Michael ‘superfan’ who paid £19m for singer’s seven-bed North London mansion wins permission to build ‘super basement’ under front garden despite angry objections from neighbours
- Superfans Stephen Cameron and wife Clare Harrison purchased the property for £19million in late 2020
- They faced long-running battle with local residents over renovation plans, including excavating basement
- The ‘super basement’, located under front garden, would create a second kitchen and living accommodation
- But the plans were met with a huge backlash from local residents, who blasted them ‘derogatory’ alteration
- However, the couple’s planning application has now been given the green light by Camden Council
A George Michael ‘superfan’ couple who paid £19million for his seven-bedroom mansion have won planning permission to build a ‘super basement’ under the front garden following a long-running row with angry local residents.
Stephen Cameron and wife Clare Harrison, who made their money in medical communications, purchased the Grade-II listed home in 2020 – four years after Michael’s death on Christmas Day 2016.
The couple were granted planning permission for minor works to change the frontage of their home in Highgate, including replacing old railings and reconfiguring rooms, in July earlier this year.
But they also wanted to carry out extensive renovations that included an ‘extension to existing outbuilding, including outdoor shower and roof terrace above; relocation of swimming pool; erection of pergola; associated landscaping’.
This included a huge project to excavate the basement and turn it into a second kitchen under the front garden – along with a living area.
The proposals were met with a huge backlash from local residents, who blasted them a ‘derogatory’ alteration of one of the ‘finest rows of houses’.
However, Cameron – a regular on the Sunday Times rich list with a fortune of £171million – has been granted permission from Camden Council to carry out the plans, The Sun reports.
It comes after the Highgate Society and the Highgate Conservation Area Advisory Committee (HCAAC) said they ‘strongly object’ the plans for the seven-bedroom home.
Stephen Cameron, left, founded the multi-million pound medical marketing business Nucleus Global before its sale in 2020. Under particular fire has been Mr Cameron his wife Mrs Harrison, right, wanting a lot of changes to the front, such as replacing the railings, and demolishing and rebuilding the middle section of the wall
The pair who bought for £19million in 2020 want to make changes to excavate the basement to turn it into a second kitchen but local groups have questioned the plans
Stephen Cameron, and wife Clare Harrison, both pictured, who describe themselves as ‘superfans’ of the late singer, who died Christmas Day 2016, want to change the frontage of the home
Michael (pictured) spent many reclusive years at the pad, which he bought for £7.65m in 2002, which was previously owned by Annie Lennox and lived there with Kenny Goss, his ex-boyfriend
In written letters to the council, they cited concerns that the work to the basement would cause structural issues after problems arose during work at a nearby mansion owned by Russian oligarch Andrei Guryev.
The particular point of contention were plans to replace the railings, and demolish and rebuild the middle section of the wall at the front of the property.
Janet Jones from the Highgate Society said she agreed the railings around the The Grove property, originally built by William Blake in 1668, were in need of repair, but did not think they are in ‘need of replacement’.
Willemien Hines, who sold the mansion to Michael and lived there over 20 years, said in 1989 Sting and Trudie Styler also wanted to do something similar with the railings at a house on the same street but backed away from the proposal and Hines agreed digging would ‘affect the neighbouring houses’.
‘I implore the council not to allow new owners to destroy what so many previous owners ( amongst whom Sir Patrick Sergeant, Yehudi Menuhin, Sting, Anny Lennox, John Hines, Sir Mark and Lady Turner (and many, many more distinguished residents) have preserved, restored, treasured and guarded for future generations’, they added.
But the couple who bought the home, largely rebuilt in 1933, argued that the railings changes are needed due to ‘security issues’.
George’s sister Melanie is believed to have moved into the property after his death, but in a tragic twist of gate, she died there on Christmas Day in 2019, exactly three years after her brother
Tributes to George Michael outside his house in Highgate, north London, following his death on Christmas Day 2016
Tributes of flowers, photographs and candles are left outside the home in Highgate on Boxing Day 2016 following the announcement of the singer’s death
After the Wham singer died due to liver and heart complications, the mansion was let to A-listers for £15,000 a week before it was sold in 2020.
Michael spent many reclusive years at the pad, which he bought for £7.65m in 2002, which was previously owned by Annie Lennox and lived there with Kenny Goss, his ex-boyfriend.
His sister Melanie is believed to have moved into the property after his death, but in a tragic twist of gate, she died there on Christmas Day in 2019, exactly three years after her brother.
After his death it emerged the singer, who is buried in Highgate Cemetery next to his mother, anonymously paid for the Highgate Christmas tree every year and was the largest private sponsor of the local fair.
When Mr Cameron bought the home in 2020 he told the MailOnline, ‘It’s a beautiful property, stunning and I’m looking forward to living there. I’m also a huge George Michael fan so that makes it even better.
‘I know the area really well and have been living in this part of North London for several years. It’s a beautiful house to live in and the whole family is happy.’
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