Residents in uproar after billionaire granted permission to close road to plant trees

·2-min read
Richard Caring (Getty Images)
Richard Caring (Getty Images)

Local residents have expressed anger after a billionaire has been granted permission to close a main road in South Kensington in order to have a dozen trees planted in the grounds of his £40million mansion.

British businessman Richard Caring, who owns clubs and restaurants including the Ivy, has secured backing from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to close part of Onslow Square for two weeks in order to install a crane to lift mature trees over neighbouring terraced houses.

However, local residents have criticised the council for “acquiescing to the whims of a billionaire who wants a nice garden”.

David Erb, a software developer, told The Guardian: “It is absolutely wrong that a single man, with a huge fortune is able to disrupt the lives of thousands of people.

“They often close off the pavement as well and it’s beginning to feel a bit like we live behind a barricade.”

The huge house features a two-storey basement with a swimming pool, beauty treatment room, steam room and store for summer clothes, according to plans filed with the council.

Mr Caring has been embroiled in a five-year battle with residents who live near his Park House mansion.

“Anyone can apply to us for a road closure, from residents wanting to lift heavy items into their homes to utility companies carrying out repairs and upgrades,” a spokesperson for the council said.

“While we cannot unreasonably refuse those requests, we appreciate that closures can be inconvenient and do our best to minimise any disruption.

“In this case, we publicised the closure in local media and on our website several weeks in advance and the applicant hand-delivered a letter to more than 600 homes in the area. We also encouraged the applicant to carry out the work during the school holidays to avoid disrupting school traffic and informed Transport for London and the emergency services of the planned closure.”

The standard has approached the representatives of Mr Caring for comment.