David and Victoria Beckham are looking to make some big changes to their home in the Cotswolds. The neighbors aren’t too happy with the proposals, however. One, in particular, spoke with The Sun about his reservations regarding the possible changes, which include a 24-hour security gatehouse, an underground tunnel, and a wine cellar.
Local resident Michael Douglas has shared his concerns about the Beckhams’ proposed changes with the local council. He previously contacted them in regard to the couple’s request to add a security gatehouse.
“I now note a further new application has been submitted regarding the Beckham’s Barn, regarding change of use of land to extend the residential curtilage and installation of ‘a heart-shaped pond,’” he wrote.
“What they appear to want is to bring suburbia into the countryside,” he noted. “If they had wanted all they have applied for why not find an estate which was big enough to accommodate all of this.”
Another area of the proposal sees a hill made on the property to increase the Beckhams’ privacy.
“The fact they want to use the soil dug out for this proposed pond and a Bund to protect their privacy changes the whole landscape of the area of fields,” Michael noted.
“The statement says ‘The intention for the pond is to improve the landscape aesthetically.’ How can you improve the landscape around Great Tew and surrounding areas, what you have at the moment is crop, planted fields, that’s what farmland is and used for, it’s always been green and planted and the land has always been fields.”
“They also add ‘to the enjoyment of family living.’ If they don’t want to live in the countryside in an open area of green fields why buy the properties in the first instance, after all, they have properties in Los Angeles, Florida, New York, and London,” Michael continued.
The Beckhams’ property is very close to the Soho Farmhouse retreat, which is frequented by celebrities. Michael believes this negates the idea that any of their changes would be privacy-related.
“Had they wanted more privacy why buy barns so close to a public lane which all members of the public can use even those attending Soho House,” he posed.
“I believe the planning department needs to draw a line and refuse this new planning application.”
Michael is joined by two other locals who oppose the changes regarding the pond, which has yet to be approved.
Ecology officials in the area are concerned any fish in the pond would pose a threat to great crested newts, a native species of the amphibian to the Cotswolds that would be encouraged to inhabit any new waters. The Beckhams cannot have floodlights on their grounds because of concerns for local bat life. The council also reportedly wants the family to make underground chambers called hibernacula for animals like hedgehogs to hibernate.
“A comprehensive landscaping scheme will need to be prepared to detail the above habitat features that are to be created, along with a 5-year maintenance plan,” explains the local council’s assistant biodiversity officer, Esther Frizell-Armitage, in a report to planning chiefs.
“The scheme should ensure that fish are not introduced into the pond to provide suitable habitat for species such as great crested newts. I further recommend that hibernacula is created to provide additional opportunities for species such as reptiles, amphibians, and hedgehogs. All works should be carried out in accordance with the statement to ensure that harm to reptiles and amphibians is avoided.”
Aside from the pond, the couple has also submitted plans to install a secret underground tunnel to increase their security. This would lead to an extended “super garage.” Underneath that space would be a proposed wine cellar.
“This application seeks planning permission and listed building consent for an extension to the existing garage outbuilding with basement cellar beneath linked to the main house,” explains architect Michael Ergatoudis, who has designed all the renovations they’ve done to the home since its purchase.
“The extension to the garage outbuilding is to provide additional garage space, home office space, and storage,” he explains.
“The basement cellar beneath is for storage of wine, and is linked to the wine room in the main house.”
Some believe that David and Victoria may be looking to spend more time in the Cotswolds after a recent string of break-ins near their London home.
David and Victoria have isolated in the home in recent months. Along with 17-year-old Romeo, 15-year-old Cruz, and 9-year-old Harper, the family has enjoyed the slower pace of things in the countryside with the kids. Their oldest, 21-year-old Brooklyn Beckham, recently joined them with fiancé Nicola Peltz after isolating in New York City.