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Star Wars bubble bath tycoon granted permission to build mammoth basement in Primrose Hill

PUBLISHED: 10:47 22 March 2016 | UPDATED: 10:47 22 March 2016

An artists' impression of the new house

An artists' impression of the new house

Archant

Camden Council has approved plans from a tycoon who made his fortune selling Star Wars bubble bath products to construct “London’s biggest basement” under a brand new mansion in plush Primrose Hill.

A drawing of the basement application in Elsworthy RoadA drawing of the basement application in Elsworthy Road

Robert Beecham can now rebuild his entire home in Elsworthy Road, with his 200 foot long subterranean palace beneath, complete with Roman baths, a hamaan steam room and a “salt grotto”.

The underground utopia will feature a fitness centre and entertainment suite, a jacuzzi, juice bar and relaxation room.

And neglecting none of life’s essentials, the basement will also boast a cinema, cigar room, wine cellar and a banqueting hall.

Mr Beecham will hand over an affordable housing contribution of nearly £600,000 to the council in return for the extra floor space he will gain, in addition to a £663,000 Community Infrastructure Levy.

A drawing of the basement application in Elsworthy RoadA drawing of the basement application in Elsworthy Road

The multi-millionaire’s planning consultant, David Whittington, argued that the plans should have no adverse effect on neighbours because the development site is within a large, “enclosed and secluded” garden.

Mr Whittington said: “In short, we have ticked every possible box in respect of this basement issue.”

He added: “There is a construction management plan in place. Nobody wants to be a bad neighbour. Everybody wants to get along.”

But at least one neighbour has objected to the 20 week excavation programme, with one elderly resident writing: “If my neighbours are allowed to demolish their home and add 16,102 square feet to their property, this will require an extensive period of construction.

“During this time, I will be subjected to noise, dust, vibrations, loss of air quality and traffic issues. The peace and quiet of my window seat will be entirely lost and there will be a detrimental effect to my quality of life.”

Francoise Findlay, chair of the Elsworthy Road Residents’ Committee, said: “The proposed basement far exceeds the size of any other in the area and stretches far beyond the footprint of the proposed new house.”

But the plans were unanimously voted through by the council.

Mr Beecham, 65, secured the first Star Wars product licence in Europe shortly after the release of the original film in 1976. It gave him the right to make children’s toiletries featuring characters from the film, including bubble bath bottles in the shape of dark lord, Darth Vader. After selling his company to Hasbro in 2002, he went into property development and launched a designer toy company.

The rebuilt, regency-style home will replace the £15 million townhouse currently on the site, which was built just 26 years ago.

Property experts have estimated the new mansion could be worth in the region of £70 million.


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