Restaurant tycoon Richard Caring has been ordered to tear out three windows from his multimillion-pound Kensington mansion after losing his battle with the local council.
Mr Caring, owner of The Ivy, Scott’s and Sexy Fish restaurants, has lost his appeal against the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, which had demanded he remove three “incongruous and dominant windows” at his 13,400 sq ft mansion.
The council ruled that the windows, which were installed as part of a renovation, breached local heritage rules and were done without planning permission.
Mr Caring and his wife Patricia appealed last year. However, the planning inspectorate has now sided with the council and said the windows failed to preserve “the character and appearance” of the area.
The property, Park House, sits within a Conservation Area meant to preserve a “remarkable slice of South Kensington’s architectural history”.
Planning inspector Elizabeth Pleasant said she received several complaints from neighbours regarding the impact of the windows on their living conditions, highlighting concerns about privacy and light pollution.
However, Ms Pleasant concluded the main issue was the size of the windows, which harmed the area’s character.
Mr Caring was also denied a request for more time to fix the issues. He now has six months to tear out the window and install more appropriate fixtures.
Despite the defeat the 75-year-old vowed to find a way to resolve the issue.
Mr Caring said: “We have lost the appeal to keep the windows as they are. In the future we hope we come to an agreement with the council on something that is more acceptable to the style of the house.”
The planning inspectorate’s rulings can be challenged in the High Court within six weeks of being issued.
Mr Caring, who also owns the Mayfair private members’ club Annabel’s, purchased Park House in 2017 from German industrialist Gert-Rudolf Flick. The property is understood to be worth £40m.
Renovations included replacing an existing cottage on the grounds with a six bedroom mansion with a double-level basement, adding massage, steam and sauna rooms, and an underground swimming pool and gym.
Mr Caring made his fortune in the clothing trade in the 1980s, sourcing items from Asia and selling them in Britain. One of his biggest customers was British businessman Philip Green, who was the then chief of the Arcadia Group which owned several retailers such as BHS, Topshop and Dorothy Perkins.
Mr Caring moved into hospitality in 2005 when he bought Camden Market, Wentworth Golf Club and Caprice Holdings, the parent company of Scott’s and Sexy Fish. He has since sold Camden Market and Wentworth Golf Club.
The entrepreneur also owns around one-fifth of Soho House owner Membership Collective Group. He is worth an estimated £950m, according to the most recent Sunday Times Rich List.