Diva who danced with Prince Charles in court battle over garages full of pop history
Soul diva Sheila Ferguson is locked in a court battle with a wealthy property developer over fears that a collection of memorabilia from her singing career will be damaged or destroyed by demolition work.
The 73-year-old former lead singer of The Three Degrees is fighting to protect the keepsakes from her music career, which she stores in two garages near to her former home in Bray, Berkshire.
Mrs Ferguson fears demolition and digging work on a £1.4 million house next door — to create a luxury four-bedroom home overlooking the Thames — may cause the garages to collapse.
She and ex-husband Christopher Robinson, who also stores possessions in the garages, want a judge to halt the work.
The couple lived in Bray during their 24-year marriage and have maintained the garages together despite splitting in 2004.
Developer Gordon Naylor was not in court yesterday, but his lawyers told the Standard he “disputes the proceedings”.
Nicholas Isaac QC, for Mrs Ferguson and Mr Robinson, said the work was “clearly threatening the structural integrity” of the garages, saying Mr Naylor’s project was started without their consent and has left the garages “exposed to the elements or inadequately protected”.
They also claim a fence has been erected and building materials piled up which stops them being able to get to their property.
“She is a former member of The Three Degrees and she stores albums and memorabilia there,” Mr Isaac told Central London county court.
He said demolition work had exposed party walls and structures and left the garages “either exposed to the elements or inadequately protected”.
Mrs Ferguson was lead singer of Three Degrees from 1966 to 1986, singing vocals on some of their best-known songs, including number-one hit When Will I See You Again.
Mr Naylor was given planning permission for the redevelopment of the site on a private road in Bray — home to Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck restaurant. But he is accused of not obtaining a valid party wall award, setting out the rights and responsibilities of a property owner undertaking works and those of the owners of an adjacent building.
Mr Isaac said: “There is complete demolition around and about our property and very significant excavations — on the face of it, for piling.”
He asked Judge Nicholas Parfitt for an injunction halting the work until the neighbours have settled their disagreements, and to stop access to the garages being obstructed. The judge ordered that a surveyor should be allowed access to evaluate risks to the garages, and adjourned the injunction application to a full hearing at a later date.