James Corden forced to scrap home sauna plan due to Neolithic monument
James Corden has been forced to scrap plans for a new pool house during a rebuild of his £8.5m home - as it was too close to a Neolithic monument at the centre of a repatriation row.
The Gavin and Stacey star bought Templcombe House in 2020 and is expected to move there with his family when he returns to the UK later this year after quitting the Late Late Show in America.
He was granted planning permission to demolish the old home and pool house and replace it with a new six bedroom property after a planning meeting of Wokingham District Council earlier this month.
But planning documents show he had also originally wanted new leisure facilities including an indoor and outdoor pool, a sauna and steam room alongside the development.
However, his scheme was only given the go ahead once these aspects of his plans had been dropped.
English Heritage had deemed the pool house to be too close to the historic collection of 45 vertical granite megalithic stones that form a circle in the Grade II listed grounds.
The Mont de la Ville ‘dolmen’ was first discovered on the island in the 18th century and given as a present to then Jersey governor Henry Seymour Conway in 1788.
Conway was responsible for erecting many of the round towers that protected Jersey from French invasion.
Field Marshal Conway, as he later became, then had the dolmen transported to his Henley-on-Thames estate, where it was re-erected and remains to this day.
Officials in Jersey recently said they were hoping to return the monument back to the island and would seek support from the television presenter.
Corden acquired the Mont de la Ville dolmen when he purchased Templecombe House in Berkshire last December.
Mr Corden and his wife, Julia, paid £8.5million for the property near Henley-on-Thames, a 43-acre estate that includes the dolmen.
Planning official Simon Taylor recommended approval of the revised application, which involved demolishing the existing house and enclosed swimming pool building.
The original application included a new indoor 11.5m long swimming pool, yoga studio, gym, and bathroom, opening onto a terrace and outdoor 20m long swimming pool.
It also featured a massage room, steam room and sauna.
In his report Mr Taylor said: “Following discussions with the applicant’s agent, it has been agreed that these aspects of the scheme be deleted from the current application to allow the application to proceed to Planning Committee for determination.
“It is possible that the pool house and outdoor swimming pool will come forward in a future planning application to be considered at that time.”
The original country house was built in 1869 and is believed to have been used as a boarding school from 1948 until it was demolished and replaced with the current house in 1961.
Mr Taylor said the planned pool house by Corden was originally “reduced in size and relocated further north due to harm to the setting of the Druid’s Temple” but was eventually taken out altogether.
He said: “The council’s conservation officer, Historic England and the Gardens Trust were all consulted.
“Objections were initially raised in relation to the siting of the pool house as it would harm the significance of the Druid’s Temple and this area of the registered parkland
“The key significance of this part of the estate resides with the Druid’s Temple and itsnaturalistic setting of grassland enclosed by woodland with views of the ThamesValley.
“The ability to see the existing dwelling and pool house buildings is currently limited from the Druid’s Temple, which is positive.
“The parkland setting in which the Druid’s Temple is experienced forms a discrete but important part of the wider Park Place and Templecombe Estate registered parkland.
“The temple was clearly set out as a destination within the 18th century landscape,originally with an avenue leading in its direction that ended to reveal an open area ofgrassland with trees framing the backdrop.
“The megalithic structure was positioned very deliberately to take in the handsome views of the Thames Valley to the south west but within an open grassed area such that the structure itself could be appreciated.”
Once demolished, the home will be replaced with a two-storey six-bedroom home with a basement, a large internal courtyard area, kitchen, living room, dining room and a breakfast room opening onto a large terrace area with playroom. It will also include two study areas, three bathrooms and a boot room
The first floor will be comprised of five ensuite bedrooms and a main bedroom with two ensuites and opening onto a balcony.
The existing tennis court would be kept but extensive landscaping work would be carried out across the site.
Since the revisions English Heritage withdrew its objections “on the location of the pool house and its proximity to the Druid’s Temple.”
The principle of development of the house had already been established, planners told the committee.
Mr Taylor added: “The replacement dwelling is to occupy the site of the existing house.
“This location was previously inhabited by an 1860s mansion, cleared for the present structure. As such, the principle of replacing the dwelling on the site a new high-quality dwelling of the period is follows from precedent and is in-keeping with the characteristic of the site.
“The height and width of the replacement dwelling helps limit its visibility from theDruid’s Temple when combined with existing trees and vegetation.”
The planning committee approved the application with a number of conditions during a meeting on 11 January.