Robbie Williams halts his building work over 'intrusive' Section 106 monitoring

Robbie Williams singing in a pink suit beside a shot of his and Jimmy Page's homes in London
Both Robbie Williams' home and Jimmy Page's home are listed buildings (Image credit: Getty/ Google Street View)

Popstar Robbie Williams has stopped building work at his Grade II-listed, £17.5million home in London, requesting an amendment to the Section 106 agreement that forms part of his planning permission. 

The Angels singer is now seeking to make changes to the Section 106 agreement, which was put in place to protect the neighbouring Grade I-listed home of Led Zeppelin star, Jimmy Page. 

The agreement allowed both the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council and Jimmy Page to monitor construction work to Williams' Queen Anne-style home in Holland Park. However, the monitoring regime has subsequently been found to be 'quite intrusive' by the popstar's team.

The agreement followed a dispute between the two music stars over Williams building an extension, which has been ongoing for several years. 

What does Robbie Williams want to build?

Williams originally submitted planning permission in 2015 to construct a basement extension housing a swimming pool that would be connected to his Grade II-listed property via a tunnel. 

However, Page raised concerns that the construction work, in particular the vibrations from it, would damage the structural integrity of his own property, prompting Williams to withdraw his application.

But in 2018, Williams reopened the application for his basement extension and planning permission was granted in 2019.

According to planning documents, planning permission to Williams' listed building is for: 'Construction of single-storey basement and passageway link to rear of property, landscaping of rear garden, removal and reconstruction of rear ground floor balcony with installation of plant beneath and associated works.'

An exterior view of Robbie Williams' red brick historic home in Holland Park

Robbie Williams wants to add a basement extension to his home for a swimming pool. He was given permission for the basement extension but with conditions. (Image credit: Google Street View)

However, the planning permission came with a set of 18 conditions, which include: 'no use of percussive demolition and construction equipment (other than hand tools weighing no more than 9kg) at any time during the works associated with this permission', tree protection, a traffic management plan and strict working hours. 

Conditions also extended to use of the basement extension once complete. These include: the use of anti-vibration mounts for air conditioning units, and ability for the council to shut down the extraction plant (or source equipment) for the pool if it is deemed not be working and odours are detected beyond the property boundary. 

A Section 106 agreement was also made between Robbie Williams and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council. (More on which below.)

Why did Robbie Williams and Jimmy Page fall out?

A shot of Tower house a red brick building as seen from the street

Tower House has been described as a 'mini castle' (Image credit: Google Street View)

Page openly criticised the Angels singer's plans to build a basement extension and raised concerns over potential damage the building work could cause his home, the Tower House.

The Tower House is a Grade I-listed building that was built between 1875 and 1881 by the Victorian architect William Burges. The red brick home looks like a mini castle and is built in 13th-century French Gothic styling, featuring a prominent round tower with conical turret at the front.

Inside, the Led Zeppelin guitarist has kept the property in immaculate condition, with The Guardian noting that "the National Trust has nothing on Jimmy Page" after visiting the home in 2018.

Page claims the vibrations from building work to his neighbour's property could cause damage to his home, which is of "exceptional" historic interest according to Historic England. You can read more about the different listing grades in our 'buying a listed building' guide.

Jimmy Page at the 78th Venice International Film Festival.

Jimmy Page has gone to great efforts to maintain the history of his house (Image credit: Getty Images)

"The consequences for the building fabric and decorative finishes of the Tower House may well be catastrophic if this project is allowed to proceed," Page told the Evening Standard before the planning permission was granted.

"Having protected Tower House for over 40 years, I am now continuing the fight against a new threat to this precious and unique building."

Other local residents also objected to Williams's plans with this poster being erected outside of his home a few years ago.

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What is a Section 106 agreement?

A Section 106 agreement is a legal agreement between a property developer and a local authority that sets out certain obligations to which the developer must adhere. 

These obligations can include providing affordable housing, contributing to local infrastructure projects, and protecting the environment. 

The local council sought to ease Page’s concerns by placing certain restrictions and obligations on the building work to ensure the Grade I-listed property remained undamaged.

According to the gov.uk website, planning obligations assist in mitigating the impact of unacceptable development to make it acceptable in planning terms.

Planning obligations may only constitute a reason for granting planning permission if they meet the tests that they are necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms. They must be:

  • necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms;
  • directly related to the development; and
  • fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development.

What are Robbie Williams' Section 106 terms? 

The council granted Williams planning permission for his tunnel, basement extension and underground pool after a Section 106 agreement was put in place and signed by the popstar. 

This agreement means all building works is subject to a strict monitoring regime that allows the council and 'the owner of Tower House' (Jimmy Page) to monitor vibrations and construction under the 'Code of practice for noise and vibration control'.

For instance, as part of the Section 106 agreement, measurements of ground movement and vibration must be provided to the council and Jimmy Page on at least a fortnightly basis. Other monitoring requirements include:

  • How the monitoring equipment will be installed must be explained in a statement, with equipment to monitor ground movement and vibrations specified in advance
  • The frequency at which ground movement and vibration is monitored must be shared
  • If an amber level vibration or ground movement event occurs an investigation must be carried out with an explanation as to why it happened shared with Jimmy Page
  • If red levels of vibration or ground movement are detected, work must cease immediately when practical.

The terms of the Section 106 agreement also stipulates:

  • A meeting between Page and Williams to discuss the works, where Page will have the opportunity to 'query' the works strategy
  • That Williams must take Page's thoughts into account and re-write the works strategy in accordance with his queries
  • Where Williams' does not take Page's queries into account, Williams must explain why he hasn't.

What does Robbie Williams want changing to the Section 106 agreement?

Initial work on the project began in September last year until the work was stopped in January this year.

As it stands, construction has been halted as the Section 106 was requested to be amended as it was found that the monitoring regime was 'quite intrusive'. Williams' team requested that the Section 106 be amended in order to:

1. pause construction works and cease monitoring works after a defined time period after the pausing of construction;

2. allow that period to be extended by agreement between the parties; and

3. re-commence construction works, after suitable notification period, and also after having re-commenced monitoring for a defined period.

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.

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