Formula One ace Lewis Hamilton risks angering his neighbours yet again by planning to chop down and trim historic trees at his London home. The racing driver, 37, bought his palatial £18million mansion five years ago and has allegedly yet to set foot in it while it has a grand overhaul. There has been various planning battles with local residents over his renovations in one of the capital’s most desirable conservation areas.
The extensive building work includes a rear extension, summer house and new frontage with a larger security wall and gates. Now, he risks angering neighbours yet again with proposals put to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to knock down and prune historic trees. His garden design team, led by Florian McLaren at Highland Aboriculture, want to trim a Horse Chestnut tree by two metres, with the application form stating the changes are ‘to reduce shading and reduce loading on regrowth points’. The tree is under a Tree Preservation Order. The proposed plans are currently under review by the council.
A neighbour backing onto Hamilton’s property supported the application, saying that the large trees can leave ‘pigeon droppings’ all over their garden. They asked for ‘as many as possible of the horizontal branches, that hang over our property, be pruned back?’, adding that ‘the pigeon droppings in that corner can be a nuisance’. In a separate application to the council, which yet to be approved, Hamilton also wants to chop down an Amelanchier tree, also known as a shadbush. His team said the tree is ‘80% dead and in terminal decline’ and asked to cut back the crown of a Magnolia Grandiflora by one to two metres. These trees are not under a TPO but are still in a conservation area. In a previous planning application by Hamilton, one neighbour moaned that the ‘current owner bought the property for £18million in 2017 and has never set foot in it’.
When the racing car driver applied to demolish the existing summerhouse, there were fears from locals regarding the trees and it being used as a party pad. Neighbours expressed concern that the property had reportedly ‘remained empty’ while they also disagreed that the trees were in ‘poor’ condition. One said: ‘It certainly does not need another house at the rear of its garden, which, if the owner ever does move in, will no doubt be used as a ‘party house’ away from the main residence, due to the nature of his lifestyle.’ Another said: ‘Since the property was bought, the beneficial owner(s) concealed by the corporate envelope never used it. The property has remained empty to this day, and it is very likely that the PP is being sought to (again) ‘dress up’ an investment for capital gain. ‘It is disheartening to see tree consultants describe the quality of the poplars (and certain other trees) as ‘low quality’.
home’s bedroom. These trees have been there for over 100 years and are part of a magnificent landscaping legacy in this precious conservation area of the RBKC. ‘Their possible demise over time as a result of the construction would seriously impair the value of the neighbouring properties.’ A final one wrote: ‘They are magnificent ‘heritage’ trees, which are easily identified from an airplane upon approach to Heathrow Airport. ‘The report also describes them both as in ‘Poor’ structural condition. I hope that this is also incorrect. In addition, they are considered ‘post-mature’ in age. ‘The combination of these comments makes me concerned that there is a desire to take them down to create more room for the building works.’