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Grumbles over work at East End mansion

Jane Meredith

Jane Meredith


01635 886637

Building work at the East End gothic mansion Star-groves, whose previous owners include Mick Jagger, Frank Williams and the King of Sweden has triggered grumbling in the village. The issues surrounding the impressive 19th-century mansion, situated on the Berk-shire/Hampshire border, surfaced at a recent meeting of East Woodhay Parish Council. The current unknown owner of the property obtained around a dozen planning permissions last year for work including the change of use of a barn to a renewable energy plant, the removal of asbestos, the erection of a boat and pool house and internal and external works to the Grade II-listed property. East End villager Sue Elsden said that everyone was fed up over the frequency of builders’ trucks using the narrow country lanes, and were worried that some fencing was to be moved which could affect the route of a public footpath. Ms Elsden, a former parish councillor, said that she was also concerned that planning applications were no longer being displayed on village notice boards. “We had a huge number of planning applications coming up for Stargroves – if they had been put on the notice boards, we would have been more aware of the work involved,” she said. “The builders are trundling down the narrow lanes every six minutes.” As an action point at the meeting, it was agreed that planning applications would, in future, be posted on village notice boards. After the meeting, the current chairman of the council’s planning committee, Graham Dick, said that the council had not received any notification of the re-routing of the public footpath (number 24), and there had been no evidence of this, nor any official complaints from parishioners regarding traffic movements to or from Stargroves. “The various building works approved by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council last August, particularly in relation to change of use of an agricultural barn for use as renewable energy plant, may well now be in progress, which would most probably result in some increase in construction traffic,” said Mr Dick. The company that submitted several drawings in support of planning applications for the house last year was DSA Engineering of London. The historic mansion, set in 37 acres, with north and south towers, was owned by Mick Jagger for about seven years until 1979, when it was sold with a £200,000 price tag to Boxford businessman John Varley. It was then said to have been bought in 1984 by Swedish businessman, Claus Bourghardt, for £500,000. An architectural gem, it has featured on television, most notably in 1975, in an episode of the BBC series, Dr Who, called Pyramid of Mars. The house also has an impressive rock’n’roll pedigree. In addition to the Rolling Stones, it has played host to The Who, The Faces and Led Zeppelin, who were among the bands recording there, and it was owned briefly by Rod Stewart in 1998 before his divorce from Rachel Hunter.

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