Rishi Sunak splashes £400,000 on new swimming pool as Britons battle soaring bills

·3-min read

Tory leadership contender Rishi Sunak is splashing out on a new £400,000 swimming pool just in time for the heatwave - while struggling Britons tighten their belts as the cost of living continues to soar.

Aerial photos show the construction of a mini leisure complex well under way at would-be prime minister Rishi Sunak’s sprawling £1.5million mansion.

The multi-millionaire ex-Chancellor and his wife Akshata Murty were last year granted planning permission to build a swimming pool, gym and an adjoining tennis court on farmland at the manor house.

And while the nation faces the tightest squeeze on living standards in decades, it doesn’t appear to have affected the man who wants to run the country.

Even at a conservative estimate, the project is likely to cost more than £400,000.

Last year, the couple applied for a new stone building on a paddock to house a gym, a 12-metre by 5-metre swimming pool, four showers and utilities and storage rooms.

The going rate for just a pool that size is around £120,000, without excavation works.

But for it to come complete with a fully insulated building structure, it starts at £405,000 with one leading firm.

And that is before you add in the cost of the gym equipment, construction of the single-storey building and full-size tennis courts, which cost around £50,000 on average.

Mr Sunak and his wife Akshata spend weekends at the Grade II-listed 19th century former vicarage in his Richmond constituency in North Yorkshire.

Planning approval was given last August for construction to begin on the complex in a paddock at the plush property.

Proposals included changing the use of agricultural land, constructing a stone building and outdoor tennis court, and creating a wildlife area.

Aerial photographs show the L-shaped building, built using stone walls and a Welsh slate roof, which will house the gym and pool.

According to the planning permission document, it will also house an exercise class area complete with a mirrored wall and a 3m long ballet bar, perhaps for the couple’s daughters.

The building, which is 265 ft (81m) from the main house, will also feature a number of large windows and bifold doors overlooking a patio when complete.

It will also include a fully glazed gable with sliding doors giving access to a hot tub and seating area, documents state.

The building appears almost complete, but scaffolding is still up around some perimitter walls, while diggers can be seen on site as workmen continue to work on the plot.

Planning documents state the fitness studio will include a television fixed to the wall nearby.

Mr Sunak has previously told of his fondness of keeping fit on a Peloton bike, which costs £1,750, plus a monthly membership of £39.

And he once said he will complete a workout before sitting down at his desk at around 7.45am.

The planning committee at Hambleton District Council gave the structure the green light last summer despite some concerns over its appearance.

In her report presented to councillors, planning officer Kate Williams said: “The tennis court and fencing proposed, whilst not uncommon for a property of this type, by its nature is an uncharacteristic landscape feature.

“However, the proposed tennis court and fencing would be largely obscured by the proposed building, topography of the area and existing and proposed planting and as such are not considered to result in an unacceptable harmful impact.

“The building, being single storey, would be of a sufficiently low profile to not be overly visible from any nearby publicly accessible land and is otherwise generally well screened by mature trees.

“The proposed building and tennis court would not be sited on the skyline and the additional landscape planting proposed will enhance the existing landscape features and help to soften and obscure views of the development.

“The site is quite closely linked to the lake, and garden area which is more domestic in character and appearance.”