Blairs justify ‘grotesque’ steel and glass plans for idyllic country house

November 1st, 2010 - 4:57 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Nov 01 (ANI): The Blairs have submitted a 91-page dossier to explain an ‘unashamedly contemporary’ steel and glass sports pavilion at their 5.75 million pounds country home.

Tony Blair’s will to pursue his love of tennis, a personal swimming pool and state-of-the-art ‘privacy pod’ changing rooms, came to a standstill earlier this year after neighbours, the parish council and the English Heritage complained.

The couple then employed British architect Simon Templeton to re-think the development and now his 91-page dossier has been made public for the first time.

In the extensive ‘justifying statement’ to Aylesbury Council, Templeton wrote, “It is my professional opinion that the proposals are not harmful to the listed garden wall, the setting of any of the other adjoining listed buildings or to the space contained by the walled garden.”

The pavilion will be located next to the ornamental formal garden, a centrepiece of the estate previously owned by the actor Sir John Gielgud.

“Gielgud will be turning over in his grave at what they have done,” the Telegraph quoted one local, as saying.

“He spent years restoring the ornamental gardens to the way they were. Now the Blairs have moved in and done the opposite.

“The pavilion looks like little more than a glorified bus shelter,” local added.

Templeton also wrote, “The proposed building, which is intended to provide changing facilities and a small training pool, is designed to read as an unashamedly contemporary structure, which in accordance with good conservation philosophy and practice will form a clear (but complementary) contrast to the historic wall it abuts.”

Moreover, he insisted that the views over this part of the property were not “significant historically” because there had been several changes to this part of the property.

The Blairs bought South Pavilion in 2008 and the property lies adjacent to Wotton House, currently owned by David Gladstone, the great-great-great nephew of William Gladstone. (ANI)

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