David and Victoria Beckham ‘face a race against time to add controversial lake to their £6m Cotswolds estate… or face delay until NEXT summer’
David and Victoria Beckham are reportedly facing a race against time to complete work on their controversial lake on the grounds of their £6 million Costwolds estate.
The celebrity couple’s plans for the kidney-shaped body of water was recently given a lifeline by the local council, among a chorus of objections from neighbours.
But, according to The Sun, David and Victoria have been informed construction on the lake can only take place between August and February, to protect nesting birds − meaning workers would have to down tools until next summer if all isn’t complete.
Race: David and Victoria Beckham are reportedly facing a race against time to complete work on their controversial lake on the grounds of their £6 million Costwolds estate
A document granting planning permission reveals: ‘Please note that this consent does not override the statutory protection afforded to species protected under the terms of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended), or any other relevant legislation such as the Wild Mammals Act 1996 and Protection of Badgers Act 1992.
‘All British birds (while nesting, building nests, sitting on eggs and feeding chicks), their nests and eggs (with certain limited exceptions) are protected by law under Section 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.
‘Works that will impact upon active birds’ nests should be undertaken outside the breeding season to ensure their protection, i.e. works should only be undertaken between August and February, or only after the chicks have fledged from the nest.’
Plans: Work on the lake can only take place between August and February, to protect nesting birds − meaning workers would have to down tools until next summer if all isn’t complete
According to The Sun, the couple will also be required to share details on how the lake will be lit and managed before work can start. They’ll also reportedly be required to carry out a bat survey.
MailOnline has contacted a representative for David and Victoria Beckham for comment.
Earlier this month, Esther Frizell-Armitage, West Oxfordshire District Council’s assistant biodiversity officer, assessed that the lake could be a welcome addition to the land, despite residents’ assertions that it would disrupt animal and plant habitats.
David and Victoria submitted plans for a lake that will be four metres deep and surrounded by an array of wildflowers and trees, though this was previously reported to have been blocked.
Home: The Beckhams own a home in the idyllic Oxfordshire enclave, where they’ve been spending the summer months amid the nationwide lockdown
Ms Frizell-Armitage reportedly told planners: ‘The proposal comprises a newly created wildflower meadow area.
‘Although this holds botanic interest (including species such as red campion and salad burnet), I consider the new scheme to provide enhancement measures that will contribute towards the biodiversity net gain on site.
‘Proposed enhancement measures include the infilling of existing hedgerows with native species, the creation of the wildlife pond, the retention of part of the wildflower meadow as well as an area that will be managed as a hay meadow. Furthermore, bunds will be created and planted with native shrubs and trees.
‘These features will enhance the ecological value of the site and also provide foraging, refugia and breeding opportunities for species such as bats (where there are records on site), birds, reptiles and amphibians in the long-term.’
Good news: Esther Frizell-Armitage, West Oxfordshire District Council’s assistant biodiversity officer, has assessed that the lake could be a welcome addition to the land
Lakeside: They submitted plans for a lake that will be four metres deep and surrounded by an array of wildflowers and trees, though this was previously reported to have been blocked
Ms Frizell-Armitage has also stated that the plans to nurture local wildlife will need to be submitted with the proposed landscaping plans in order to consent to the lake.
She also asserted that a Precautionary Working Method Statement be provided, which lays out how amphibians and reptiles will avoid harm.
She recommended slopes be added during the lake’s excavation so that any creatures living in the area can ‘escape’.
The matter is not closed, but Ms Frizell-Armitage asserted that she will need these extra points addressed prior to final consent.
Woes: It was revealed earlier this month that the plans put to West Oxfordshire District Council to create a stretch of water spanning 3000 square metres were blocked (artist’s impression)
It’s understood that two neighbours have complained about the lake, with one branding it ‘monstrous’.
It was revealed earlier this month that the plans put to West Oxfordshire District Council to create a stretch of water spanning 3000 square metres were blocked due to potential impact on the species in the area.
The report, viewed by The Sun, read: ‘The loss of the grassland will potentially impact on protected and priority species including amphibians (including great crested newts), reptiles, mammals and ground nesting birds. The grassland may also show botanical interest.’
The planning application stated that the aforementioned trees will include ‘Hazel, Oak, Honeysuckle, Bramble, Sycamore, Wayfaring trees Yew, Hornbeam, Birch, Hawthorn, Crab apple, Wild cherry and Sorbus’.
Family fun: The couple spent lockdown with their three youngest children, Romeo, 17, Cruz, 15, and Harper, eight at the stunning location
The Heritage Impact Statement included in the submission stated that: ‘The proposed lake (or large pond) will be broadly kidney-shaped and will be situated in the southern half of these grounds, in the lowest-lying part of the site.
‘It will be approached and encircled by a mown grass path which will wend its way through newly created gently sloping grass meadowland.
‘This will be distinct from the formal lawn closer to the house, which will extend as neatly mown grass down to the northern edge of the lake.’
The lake is the latest in a series of amendments the Beckhams are implementing at the house.
Big plans: David and Victoria are said to have also ‘set sights on building a sauna at their £6 million Cotswolds estate’. Pictured together in September
They have reportedly set their sights on building a sauna there too, with the former footballer and fashion mogul said to be keen on erecting the relaxation spot, despite the council blocking plans for the lake earlier this month.
The Sun recently claimed that the pair do not need planning permission to put up the building if they choose to do so, as it is seen as a temporary structure.
In plans obtained by the publication, the sauna was situated metres away from where the lake would be, before the council rejected the application earlier this month.
David and Victoria were said to want to put the sauna in the midst of the woodland on their property, which will be a picturesque location for the family to relax.
There were also reports that they were building a three metre high hill in the garden of their Cotswolds estate to shield their home from a new holiday park.
Renovations: The pair are said to be keen on putting the relaxation spot just metres away from the jetty of their proposed lake, if they can build it in the future
David was said to want builders to raise the level of the ground to create earthworks around a tennis court.
According to The Sun, the couple are hoping the hill will prevent noise from the new park as well as keep their privacy from tourists.
The couple’s idyllic lifestyle was reportedly on the verge of being disrupted by the construction of the huge car park. The 100-space underground car park has been planned by a nearby business.
The unnamed applicant will also reportedly build six five-bedroom lodges, an upscale leisure centre with pool and a restaurant a stone’s throw away from the mega-rich family’s countryside bolthole.
Plot: The former footballer wants builders to raise the level of the ground to create earthworks around a tennis court
The Sun reports that West Oxfordshire District Council received notice that works had begun on the large project on March 31 – three years after plans were approved.
But David and Victoria have already been awarded planning permission of their own to install a secret underground tunnel, wine cellar and ‘super garage’ at their Cotswolds home.
They were recently granted permission to extend their sprawling property, as long as they begin the work within three years.
It has also been said that David has ‘bulldozed’ son Romeo’s state-of-the-art tennis court and turned it into a five-a-side football pitch.
The court was originally built in 2018, amid claims their middle son wanted to pursue a career as a professional tennis player.
Privacy: According to The Sun, the couple are hoping the hill will prevent noise from the new park as well as keep their privacy from tourists
But the all-weather court – built at an estimated cost of £30,000 – has now been converted into a football pitch for David and his three sons to use whenever they visit their £6million country bolthole, The Sun reports.
It’s understood that builders have been renovating the property – used by the family for a four month period during Britain’s coronavirus lockdown – since June, with the football pitch completed in July.
David has since posted a video of himself and Romeo enjoying a kickabout on the newly installed pitch with the accompanying caption: ‘Practice makes perfect. Like father like son.’
Plans for the tennis court were originally submitted in May 2018 by Soho House architect Michael Ergatoudis, who designed the Oxfordshire country pile.
The court was among extensive renovation of the garden, transforming it into a fairy-tale rural retreat – with plans to build the aforementioned lake, orchard and a 60ft croquet lawn.
Not bad: The former Manchester United ace and fashion designer wife Victoria originally built the outdoor court in the grounds of their sprawling Cotswolds home in 2018
The rectangular muddy area to the east of the main triple barn had been under construction for more than a year with bulldozers flattening it in preparation, and was originally said to have been created for a five-a-side football pitch covered in all-weather Astro-turf.
A source previously told The Mail On Sunday: ‘The Oxfordshire property has always been David’s pet project, Victoria has shown very little interest and been quite resistant about having it at all in the past.
‘But now she sees it as a great place for Romeo to spend the summer holiday playing tennis. She wants him practising as much as possible and will hire in coaches to train him.
‘David is on board with the plan to make Romeo a star, but it is Victoria who is the driving force.’
But while Romeo initially displayed a keen interest in tennis, his enthusiasm is said to have tapered off over the last year.
All change: It has also been said that David has ‘bulldozed’ son Romeo’s state-of-the-art tennis court and turned it into a five-a-side football pitch.
Change of heart: The all-weather court – built at an estimated cost of £30,000 – has now been converted into a football pitch for David and his three sons to use
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