Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber gets planning permission to build pool house at his Watership Down estate

Aerial photograph of Sydmonton Court in Hampshire shows a large front and back garden, tennis court, and large outbuilding around a large mansion
Sydmonton Court, the home of Andrew Lloyd Webber has been approved permission to erect a new pool house on its 5000-acre estate (Image credit: Getty Images)

Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber has been given permission to build a pool house at his his home in Hampshire.

Famous composer, Lord Webber, 75, purchased Sydmonton Court in 1978 where he lives with his wife, former equestrian sportswoman Madeleine Gurdon, 60.

Basingstoke Council granted planning permission at the 5000-acre estate, despite the home being surrounded by the famous Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) of Watership Down, as it was claimed the pool house "would not cause harm to the setting of neighbouring heritage assets".

Pool house design includes a living green roof

The new pool house will replace the existing dilapidated summer house at the property.

The Council’s Historic Environment Team commented on the current outbuilding: "Although the building is maintained, it is in poor condition and whilst it is a shame to lose the structure which has interest and arguably reflects the ownership, thus contributing to the (future) significance of the assets, the removal is not objected to."

Basingstoke Council granted permission to remove a timber pavilion next to the composer's outdoor pool and tennis court and install a new outbuilding that will include a kitchen, dining area, and changing rooms.

The proposed pool house will include a living green roof for plants and wildlife, measuring 60ftx15ft, and will also include a metal fascia board (board that runs along the edge of the roof).

The Historic Environment Team stated the new design is "unabashed contemporary" which "allows for a number of sustainable construction features" and for "greater on-going performance". The pool house will also use triple glazed windows and underfloor heating.

Pool house to be 'sensitive' to the local landscape

The planning documents showed there were no objections to the plans by residents, the arboricultural report, the urban design and conservation team, the parish council, or the county archaeologist, as well as being endorsed by the Council's Historic Environment Team.

According to documents submitted to Basingstoke Council, it was claimed that: "The pavilion (pool house), like the existing building, would continue to be used for purposes incidental to the occupation of Sydmonton Court. 

"The proposed replacement building is highly contained within the grounds of the estate and does not introduce a new use or activity to the site.

"By reason of its modest sitting, unobtrusive design and discreet location, the proposed replacement building, it is submitted that the development has responded appropriately and sensitively to its context and would not cause harm to the setting of neighbouring heritage assets or to the character of the local landscape or scenic quality of the AONB."

Lord Webber has also made a number of improvements to the home after installing successfully a new conservatory, restoring some old horse stables and removing a dam on the estate.

Andrew Lloyd Webber and his wife Madeleine Gurdon attend the Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials meeting at Newbury Racecourse

Lord Webber Sydmonton Court in 1978 and lives there with his wife, Madeleine Gurdon, whom he married in 1991 (Image credit: Getty Images)

Historic 5,000-acre estate played host to VIP stars

Sydmonton Court has a significant history in a world famous area and has played host to royalty and celebrities alike. 

Constructed during the 16th century, the residence holds Grade II listing status. Spanning across a 5,000-acre expanse, the estate comprises paddocks, fishponds, a polo field, a granary, dovecote, stable block, barns, carthouse, and gardens that are registered with the Hampshire Garden Trust.

The historic home is located near the famous conservation area and AONB of, North Wessex Downs, also known as Watership Down, which is best known as the setting for Richard Adams' 1972 novel, also called Watership Down.

Sydmonton Court from the rear shows a conservatory overlooking the large garden

Sydmonton Court, built in the 16-th century, has recently played host to royalty and celebrities alike through polo championships to exclusive performances of Lord Webber's most famous shows (Image credit: Getty Images)

The unique architecture of the house led it to be described by Pevsner, an art historian, as "the sort of English Architectural mongrel you want to rescue and love for the rest of your life."

Lord Webber's home was previously owned by the Kingsmill family for 400 years who were given it by Henry VIII in the 1530s. Recent royalty has also visited the property with Webber revealing the Queen visited him on the estate.

Sydmonton Court has also hosted an exclusive arts festival where Lord Webber's most famous shows were performed such as Cats, Evita, The Phantom of the Opera and Starlight Express, and VIP guests were invited for the private performance.

Joseph Mullane
News Editor

News Editor Joseph has previously written for Today’s Media and Chambers & Partners, focusing on news for conveyancers and industry professionals.  Joseph has just started his own self build project, building his own home on his family’s farm with planning permission for a timber frame, three-bedroom house in a one-acre field. The foundation work has already begun and he hopes to have the home built in the next year. Prior to this he renovated his family's home as well as doing several DIY projects, including installing a shower, building sheds, and livestock fences and shelters for the farm’s animals. Outside of homebuilding, Joseph loves rugby and has written for Rugby World, the world’s largest rugby magazine.