Ex-banking boss Sir Victor Blank loses court battle against luxury pool plans
PUBLISHED: 10:00 25 April 2013
PA Archive/Press Association Images
Banking tycoon Sir Victor Blank has had his High Court bid to stop an underground swimming pool being built near his house thrown out by a judge – and, in a separate case, now faces being sued by a tradesman who carried out work on his home.
Sir Victor, 70, a former chairman of Lloyds Banking Group, had tried to obtain a High Court injunction to stop the Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust approving plans for a basement extension to a six-bedroom mansion near his Suburb home.
But on Monday, Mr Justice Henderson found there were “no grounds” to stop the trust deciding on the application, by Scott and Melissa Franklin, to build a swimming pool, games room and wine cellar under their home.
In a separate case earlier this month, roofer Joe Loveridge, 48, filed a lawsuit against Sir Victor claiming the businessman owed him £4,350 for work done last summer on the roof of his home.
But Sir Victor is determined to fight the county court case, telling the Ham&High: “This bill is not being paid in full because Mr Loveridge did an appalling job. If he completes the job properly, he will be paid in full.”
Mr Loveridge, whose name appears on a list compiled by the trust of contractors recommended by Suburb residents, said: “I received an emergency call to Victor Blank’s home last June. A tree fell over across the road and a branch hit his roof.
“I did a repair, not a restoration. But he wasn’t having any of it. I’ve never ever had any problem with anyone else in the Suburb.”
A surveyor who reviewed the work carried out by Mr Loveridge, said his “overall impression” was that Mr Loveridge was an “experienced and traditional roofer”, adding: “It would appear that he undertakes the majority of his roofing work for the Hampstead Suburb Garden Trust and clearly has a good reputation with them and one he is keen to maintain.”
In December, Sir Victor launched the legal action against the trust in light of objections from a group of about 12 residents – including top judge Lord Justice Leveson and TV presenter Richard Madeley – who live close to the proposed basement extension.
The group fear that removing earth to create the basement could cause significant damage to neighbouring homes.
They are calling for the trust, which rules on every development in the conservation area along with Barnet Council, to explore the potential impact of the plans on underground water levels in the area and how this may affect houses near the luxury home.
Sir Victor had claimed the trust would be breaching his right to “quiet enjoyment” of his home by approving the excavation.
In his judgement, Mr Justice Henderson noted it was part of the trust’s “duty” to consider the impact of basements and require assessments where necessary.
In response, Sir Victor told the Ham&High: “An issue that has been a great concern for most residents in the Suburb – whether the trust has an obligation to investigate the effect of basements on neighbouring properties – has been determined.Maybe the trust will do the right thing by requiring the right investigation.”
He will now consider whether to appeal against the court decision.
Jane Blackburn, the trust’s manager, said: “Trustees will consider the matter when they next meet on May 7.”
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