Jamie Theakston loses latest round in Chiswick planning battle

EXCLUSIVE: Jamie Theakston loses latest round in battle with council to build gym and home office in garden of his £9million mansion

  • The former TV star is seeking to build in the garden of his £9m Chiswick home which he purchased for £3.6m
  • Neighbours objected to the planned size of the building and its harmful impact
  • Theakston, 51, wanted to build a gym and home office at the end of his garden 
  • Planners are expected to make a final decision at by the end of next month 

Jamie Theakston has lost the latest round in his battle to further develop his back garden by constructing an outbuilding with a gym and a home office.

The radio and TV presenter drew up plans for the 40ft wide outbuilding at his £9 million mansion last October – just three years after he enraged his neighbours by building a new house at the end of his garden.

Council officials refused planning permission for his latest project, saying that the ‘excessive size’ and the ‘appearance’ of the outbuilding would have a ‘harmful impact’ on neighbouring homes in a leafy conservation area.

Concern was also raised that the inclusion of a kitchenette in the plans went against local planning policies as it could ‘facilitate the future conversion of the single storey garden room to use as a self-contained independent dwelling’.

The former presenter of children’s show Live & Kicking who currently hosts Heart FM’s breakfast show with Amanda Holden appealed against the ruling.

Heart FM DJ Jamie Theakston, pictured here with his wife Sophie Siegle, are trying to build a home office and gym a the bottom of the garden of their £6m home in Chiswick, west London

The couple spent more than two years transforming the luxury property 

Jamie Theakston was planning to build a gym and home office a the bottom of his garden in Chiswick, West London

His initial design was rejected due to the trendy black cladding, so he resubmitted an altered design with traditional wood

Theakston, 51, wants to install a gym, home office and a yoga studio inside the new building

But his appeal has now been dismissed by a Government planning inspector who said the development would breach planning policies by spoiling the view of his garden in Chiswick, west London.

The inspector also remarked that the proposal to cloak the building in black steel cladding would be in ‘sharp contrast’ to the traditional building materials used in Theakston’s neighbourhood.

Theakston who lives with his wife and two children is now trying to get around the reversal by drawing up new plans for an outbuilding with a separate yoga studio area replacing the kitchenette and a shower room.

He has submitted an application for a ‘lawful use certificate’ for the development, arguing that it would only be ‘incidental to the enjoyment’ of his home, and within its curtilage, and therefore exempt from the need for full planning consent.

The new plans appear to be an attempt to allay fears that the outbuilding could become living accommodation in the long term.

But the proposed garden room development is remarkably similar in size and shape to the one in the old plans, according to documents submitted to Hounslow Council.

The new plans still feature a home office and gym containing similar equipment to the exercise area described in the old plans, as well as free weights, plyometric box jumps and areas for sled pushing and battle ropes.

One major difference is that the plans for new garden room propose cloaking it in reclaimed wood cladding instead of the trendy black cladding on the old plans.

A statement by Theakston’s planning agent says: ‘It does lie within the local conservation area but, as this outbuilding would be erected at the far end of the garden (and not on the side of the dwelling), the designation is not prohibitive.

‘The main areas would be used for private exercise (gym and dedicated yoga space) and a home office. The outbuilding does not provide for primary living accommodation.’

The couple have transformed the house into a magnificent space but are seeking to do further work on the property

Planners are expected to make a decision on his latest application next month.

The planning inspector who rejected Theakston’s recent appeal ruled that it would be ‘clearly visible’ from the road, and would impact on ‘the sense of openness’ in his garden which is on a corner plot

The judgement concluded it would ‘harm the character of the area’ and ‘draw the eye and visually compete with the trees.’

The inspector said: ‘The introduction of a large outbuilding into this space would reduce the overall sense of openness, eroding the gaps between the buildings on this corner.

‘Consequently, although it would be smaller than the existing dwelling and subservient to it in scale, it would harm the character of this part of the conservation area.’

The judgement noted that Theakston was willing to use oak cladding instead, but stated: ‘However this would not mitigate the effect of the scale and siting of the proposed development.’

Theakston’s attempt to compare his plans to other existing outbuildings in the area were dismissed as the places he was pointing out were ‘significantly smaller’ and did not ‘have a comparable impact’.

He bought the house in West London for £3.8 million and spent two years renovating the property 

Half a dozen neighbours had objected to the former Top of the Pops presenter’s original plans for an outbuilding, saying it would harm the conservation area and could become a ‘bed in a shed’.

None have yet submitted comments to the council about his re-configured plans for his garden room.

Theakston’s plans for his own gym seem likely to form a key part of his fitness regime which saw him lose half his body fat five-years-ago, under a punishing exercise programme.

He bought his stunning five-bedroom home on a corner plot for £3.8m in 2010 and shares it with wife Sophie and their two children.

Theakston carried out a massive Grand Designs-style revamp that lasted two years and in 2013 put the double-fronted house – which once featured on the TV show ‘Through the Keyhole’ – up for sale at £6.5million.

The house would have been the second most expensive home ever sold in Chiswick if sold for the asking price, but he took it off the market.

Theakston sparked a long running battle with his neighbours including British film legend Richard Attenborough’s son Michael by submitting plans to build a four bedroom family home on a plot at the end of his garden in 2018.

More than 20 well-heeled local residents objected with some accusing him of ‘cultural vandalism’ and acting out of greed, but Hounslow Council granted consent for the development.

A historic coach house was demolished to make way for the stylish new three storey house while a number of trees were also cut down. It is believed that Theakston rented out the £3million property instead of selling it.

Prior to being given the green light for its construction, he lost an earlier bid to build a gym and indoor pool at the back of the garden, which also infuriated neighbours.

RADA teacher Michael Attenborough who lives next door, spoke out at the time about Theakston’s plans for his new house.

He said ‘Mr Theakston has told me his wants to build the house and sell it for as much as possible but I don’t think he has considered the impact on his neighbours.

‘He is doing nothing illegal as the house will be built entirely on his own land, but as his neighbour it will have a huge impact on our home of the last 30 years.

‘If it goes ahead, we will seriously have to consider leaving as it will not be the same here anymore. What I don’t understand is why he moved to a conservation area and then sets about wanting to change things.’

Theakston’s plans for the house were approved with 18 conditions after councillors on the planning committee ruled that it would ‘preserve the character and appearance’ of the highly desirable area and ‘would not harm neighbours’ living conditions’.

Councillors were also satisfied that house would be of ‘satisfactory standards’ and that appropriate mitigation measures and landscaping conditions would protect retained trees.

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