Rupert Grint and Other Celebrities Who’ve Fought Planning Battles

Rupert Grint wins planning dispute
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Gaining planning permission can be a challenge for everyone, whether you’re a self builder, tradesperson or internationally-recognised celebrity. 

Rupert Grint, best known for playing Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter franchise, is the latest household name to have faced opposition for his development plans. He had initially been unable to cast a spell on his neighbours over plans to turn his Hertfordshire barn into three eco-friendly homes, but finally received planning permission this week.

As evidenced by Grint's case, obtaining planning permission can require some adaptability and patience, and it can be just as trying for celebrities as the rest of us. 

Grint Finally Gets Green Light

Grint, who has a property portfolio worth more than £24m, bought an 18th century mansion in Hertfordshire in 2009 which he then tried - and failed - to sell last year. Instead he decided to turn a barn on the £5.4 million country estate into six eco-friendly homes. 


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North Hertfordshire District Council said this was too many, so Grint amended the plans to three, three-bedroom, luxury homes. 

But one neighbour claimed the building work would “further exacerbate” congestion and traffic on the roads surrounding the village, and Middlesex Wildlife Trust objected to the plans alleging there had been no extensive ecological research to see if bats were in the barn (the properties were to be built on a designated Conservation Area).

Thankfully for Grint, the council said this week that changing the barn into a small housing plot would “not be [an] inappropriate development”, and gave the development the green light.

Future owners of the homes will be able to utilise rainwater harvesting for toilet flushing, and the properties will feature a roof that encourages local wildlife to nest. 

Robbie Williams

In a saga so unexpected it’s strange Netflix hasn’t yet picked it up for a 10-part series, Robbie Williams fought Led Zeppelin star Jimmy Page for three years over planning consent to build a swimming pool and a summerhouse in his basement.

The “Rock DJ” singer and Page were at loggerheads over Williams’ plans to renovate Michael Winner's old home in Holland Park, which he bought for £17.5million in 2013. Page didn’t have a whole lotta love for the plans, who said he feared that construction work could damage his 19th century Tower House home. 

Williams was eventually granted conditional approval for the plans in 2018.

Cliff Richard 

In 2010, Sir Cliff Richard was instructed to tear down a £30,000 conservatory at his Surrey mansion following a long dispute with Runnymede Council.

The singer had knocked down a bungalow to build the conservatory in 2006, but it was only after that he decided to sell his property in 2009 that he discovered he should have sought planning permission for the conservatory.

The council rejected the retrospective application for planning permission because planning rules stated that the cumulative floor area should not have increased by more than 30%. It increased by nearly 40%. 

Sir Cliff appealed the decision, but lost, and had to remove the structure in 2010. 

Jack Woodfield
News Editor

Jack has worked in journalism for 11 years and is the News Editor for Homebuilding & Renovating, a role he has had since 2019. He strives to break the most relevant and beneficial stories for self builders, extenders and renovators, including the latest news on the construction materials shortage and hydrogen heating. In 2021 he appeared on BBC's The World at One to discuss the government's planning reforms. 

He enjoys testing new tools and gadgets, and having bought his first home in 2013, he has renovated every room and recently finished a garden renovation.