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Billionaire inventor Sir James Dyson ditches plan to build waterfall and expand lake on his estate

Sir James Dyson has ditched plans to build a waterfall on his £20 million estate following a backlash from conservationists.

The billionaire inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner had also lodged plans to renovate a dam and enlarge one of three lakes on the Gloucestershire estate he bought in 2003.

But Historic England raised concerns that the waterfall wouldn’t fit into the naturalised landscape setting, adding that enlarging the lake would result in the loss of a historically important lawn at the Dodington Estate.

The 300-acre Georgian estate, built in the early 19th century by James Wyatt, is recognised as being of ‘exceptional architectural and historic interest’ and parts of it are Grade I listed.

Historic England raised concerns that the waterfall wouldn’t fit into the naturalised landscape setting, adding that enlarging the lake would result in the loss of a historically important lawn at the Dodington Estate (pictured) 

The billionaire inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner had also lodged plans to make one of three lakes on the estate in Gloucestershire bigger and renovate a dam

The billionaire inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner had also lodged plans to make one of three lakes on the estate in Gloucestershire bigger and renovate a dam

Pictured are the plans for a waterfall between the upper and middle lakes at the Doddington Estate Lake

Pictured are the plans for a waterfall between the upper and middle lakes at the Doddington Estate Lake

Sir James’ planning agents said: ‘It is proposed to enlarge Middle Lake.

‘This would be done in a manner that is sympathetic to the natural contours to enhance the valley’s shape.’

They noted that the land next to Middle Lake on the River Frome was heavily saturated.

They added about the waterfall: ‘It is notoriously difficult to achieve a controllable natural looking cascade and attempts to do so generally expose their artificiality, resulting in disappointment.

Sir James Dyson controls more than 25,000 acres of land, primarily in Lincolnshire, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire

Sir James Dyson controls more than 25,000 acres of land, primarily in Lincolnshire, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire

‘A more appropriate approach has been to accept this and to create an honest man-made controllable descent that can add to the experience.

‘The proposed works will be generally to alter only the dam that was built in 2006 and the area of saturated land to the west of Middle Lake.

‘The proposals would resolve the existing practical problems whilst also greatly enhancing this area in the picturesque spirit of the surrounding landscape.’

Dyson controls more than 25,000 acres of land, primarily in Lincolnshire, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire.

Sir James is also currently building five properties on the estate which include up to three bedrooms, a dining room, a kitchen, a living room, a study, while one property will also include a drawing room as well as parking for up to two cars.

The plans were submitted last August and withdrawn in February. 

 Stephen Guy, Inspector of Historic Buildings and Areas at Historic England, said: ‘Historic England has concerns regarding the application on heritage grounds.

‘We consider that the enlargement and re-profiling of the lake will impact on the naturalised composition of the landscape as experienced from, and on the approach to, the house.

‘With regard to the cascade, we are concerned that this introduces a formal architectural element into the naturalised landscape setting, and would dominate the middle ground of the composition, as viewed from the house

Sir James' planning agents had said: 'It is proposed to enlarge Middle Lake (pictured). This would be done in a manner that is sympathetic to the natural contours to enhance the valley's shape'

Sir James’ planning agents had said: ‘It is proposed to enlarge Middle Lake (pictured). This would be done in a manner that is sympathetic to the natural contours to enhance the valley’s shape’ 

Sir James Dyson ditched plans to build a waterfall on his £20 million estate following a backlash from conservationists (pictured: Plans for the waterfall in Dodington)

Sir James Dyson ditched plans to build a waterfall on his £20 million estate following a backlash from conservationists (pictured: Plans for the waterfall in Dodington)

‘We advise that the proposals, as they stand, would not sustain the conservation of the heritage asset and would cause harm to heritage significance.

‘The applicant should explore a more naturalistic and discreet outfall between the upper and lower lake.

‘We also advise that further evidence is required to understand the original profile of the lake, the drainage issues and potential mitigation options.

‘On this basis, we would encourage the applicant to withdraw the current application.’

The estate was bought by Sir James for a reported £20million in 2003 (Picture of James Dyson' Dodington Estate Lake)

The estate was bought by Sir James for a reported £20million in 2003 (Picture of James Dyson’ Dodington Estate Lake)

The 300-acre Georgian estate, built in the early 19th century by James Wyatt, is recognised as being of 'exceptional architectural and historic interest' and parts of it are Grade I listed

The 300-acre Georgian estate, built in the early 19th century by James Wyatt, is recognised as being of ‘exceptional architectural and historic interest’ and parts of it are Grade I listed

Ros Delany, Chairman of the Avon Gardens Trust also echoed Historic England’s concerns, adding: ‘The Avon Gardens Trust considers that the application is not well presented, given the importance of the heritage asset, although the intentions behind the scheme may well be good.

‘To be able to judge the effect on this valuable heritage asset, we will need more clarification and detailed information.’

Michaela Baker, from South Gloucestershire Council’s Flooding and Drainage Team, added that there wasn’t enough information to fully assess the flooding impact on the local area whilst the council’s conservation team also supported some of Historic England’s comments.

The inventor, who is worth £5billion and reportedly owns more land in England than the Queen, was previously in hot water with Historic England and planning officers in 2016 a constructing a luxury swimming pool in the basement of his mansion without planning permission.

Sir James employed contractors in January 2011 to install the basement pool, complete with changing rooms but was only discovered four years later after South Gloucestershire Council received a complaint and sent out planning enforcement officers to investigate.

However, the billionaire was let off after he applied for retrospective planning permission which was subsequently granted making the modifications to the basement legal. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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