Sexy Beast star loses planning battle over his £4 million Victorian mansion

The exterior of Ray Winstone's house that has had planning refused
(Image credit: Google Street View)

Hollywood star Ray Winstone has lost a battle to revamp his £4million country home after the local planning authority ruled that his plans were ‘unsympathetic’.

The TV and film star, who has appeared in hits like Cold Mountain, Sexy Beast, and The Departed, wanted to do an extensive refurbishment of the property in Roydon, Essex.

But Epping Forest District Council turned down Winstone's plans for his farmhouse, which is late Victorian house style, has two swimming pools and a barn.

What plans did the actor have for his home?

The 65-year-old actor wanted to level a ground floor games room at the rear of the mansion to make way for a new open-plan kitchen extension.

He also applied to add side and rear extensions, convert his loft into a sixth bedroom with dormer windows, double the size of his porch, and replace the front porch.

The proposed floorspace would be increased by 42% beyond that of the original house and the volume would increase by 78.8% above the original house.

But Epping Forest District Council said the larger scale, deeper density, and extended height would be “unsympathetic to the appearance of the principle building form and the character of the area”.

The plans were rejected by the local council

The plans for the extension in the planning application (Image credit: EFDC)

Why were the plans rejected?

The planning officer wrote: “Although modern in date, the subject site was designed in order to appear sympathetic within its rural, traditional environment.

“The dwellinghouse is located within the Metropolitan Green Belt wherein there is strict control over the extension and alteration of existing dwellinghouses.

“The existing extensions and proposed development would cumulatively amount to  disproportionate additions over and above the size of the original dwellinghouse and is considered detrimental to the open character and  the visual amenity of the Green Belt area and would represent inappropriate development.

The report added: “Inappropriate development is, by definition harmful to the Green Belt and for which no very special circumstances have been demonstrated to clearly outweigh this harm.

“The design, scale and form of the development will cause further harm to the openness of the Green Belt above and beyond the harm caused by reason of inappropriate development.”

Below: Ray Winstone in one of his most famous roles in the film 'Sexy Beast'

What did Winstone’s planning agent say?

Winstone's planning agent Graham Aldridge argued in a heritage statement presented to the council that the extension plans would "reflect the design and character of the existing building and would be congruous with type, form and massing of the dwellings in the surrounding area".

He adds: “The layout of the dwelling would be revised in light of the extensions to provide a more suitable and efficient living space with additional internal reconfigurations.

“The proposed development would remove these negative elements of the dwelling and provide an extended dwelling that is reflective of the type, form and massing of dwellings in the surrounding area. It would also use the same materials and colour palette with the extensions reflect the character and style of the host dwelling.

“Therefore, the proposed development would not result in substantial or less than substantial harm to the conservation area and instead would have a neutral impact on the significance of the Conservation Area.”

The TV and film star wanted to do an extensive refurbishment of the property in Roydon, Essex

The plot around the home (Image credit: EFDC)
Sam Webb

Sam is based in Coventry and has been a news reporter for nearly 20 years. His work has featured in the Mirror, The Sun, MailOnline, the Independent, and news outlets throughout the world.  As a copywriter, he has written for clients as diverse as Saint-Gobain, Michelin, Halfords Autocentre, Great British Heating, and Irwin Industrial Tools. During the pandemic, he converted a van into a mini-camper and is currently planning to convert his shed into an office and Star Wars shrine.