Artist Damien Hirst has been criticised for the stalling renovation of his £3million house, Toddington Manor, 13 years after he bought it
Neighbours living close to Damien Hirst’s dilapidated Cotswolds manor ‘wish he would get on and do something with it’ more than 13 years after he purchased the Grade I-listed house.
The Turner Prize-winning artist – who controversially made his name with pickled sharks and a diamond-encrusted skull – bought the 124-acre Toddington Manor in 2005, for £3million.
But years later, little renovation appears to have been carried out at the property, which Historic England has deemed ‘at risk’, save for a vast network of scaffolding and swathes of polythene sheeting.
Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, Joe Humber, chair of Toddington parish council on Gloucestershire, said: ‘People with a view of Toddington Manor are a bit fed up. It is not illegal to cover a property with scaffolding, but it is not the best look.’
Built in the gothic style, Toddington Manor was designed by Charles Hanbury-Tracy, 1st Baron Sudeley and built between 1819 and 1840.
When the Houses of Parliament needed to be rebuilt after a fire in 1834, an architectural competition was held and Hanbury-Tracy headed the jury.
Notably, the winning design by Charles Barry had been modeled on Toddington.
In 1894, poverty forced the fourth Lord Sudeley to sell it. Retired businessman David Wickens then bought it in the early Seventies and ran it as a £5,000-a-year school for foreign students.
Toddington Manor in Gloucestershire was built in the 19th Century by Charles Hanbury-Tracy
Hirst has come under fire by neighbours for taking his time over the Grade I-listed repair work
After the school closed, the building stood empty for 20 years, falling into disrepair.
In 2004, there were plans to turn the manor into a hotel, but local residents waged a campaign to prevent this and the property was sold to Hirst and his then-wife, Californian designer Maia Norman, a year later.
At the time, the 52-year-old artist, who is said to be worth £270m, spoke of his plans to turn the manor into a family home and later, a gallery to house his artworks.
Hirst, 52, with his famous shark pickled in formaldehyde, has amassed a £270m fortune
A sculpture from Hirst’s recent exhibition, Treasures From The Wreck Of The Unbelievable
However, residents have now become concerned that apart from some interior work, dry rot treatment and roof renovation, little has been completed.
Historic England, which monitors ‘at risk’ properties, said in a statement: ‘We would like to see the future of Toddington secured and repairs undertaken which would allow the temporary roof to be dismantled, ultimately with the aim of full repair and occupation.’
A spokesman for Hirst’s company, Science Ltd, said: ‘Damien has always recognised that the restoration would be a ‘lifetime’s work’ and due to a number of other projects – including the opening of Newport Street Gallery in London and his Treasures show in Venice – work at Toddington has been on hold.’
The Turner Award-winning artist pictured in London with his girlfriend, Katie Keight, in 2015