Chinese Property Tycoon to Build Palace Overlooking Hyde Park
Westminster city council granted Cheung Chung-kiu, a Hong Kong-based property tycoon, permission to partly demolish and reconstruct 2-8A Rutland Gate, in Knightsbridge, in order to construct an eight-storey, 5,760-sq metre (62,000-sq-ft) private palace overlooking Hyde Park, central London, which experts said could be worth up to £500m when completed.
Cheung bought the property, which was built in the 1830s as a terrace of four grand family homes, for £205m this year in a deal making it the most expensive property ever sold in the UK.
The council’s decision to allow the project to go ahead comes just months after it imposed a ban on new “Monopoly board-style” residences so as to free up space for more affordable homes. Westminster council said, “It was unable to stop this project going ahead as the site had previously been a single dwelling and planning rules allowed it to be replaced. The council also confirmed that Cheung would not be obliged to contribute to the construction of any affordable homes in the borough, as is the case with most large-scale private property developments.”
This year the council introduced a policy which will prevent the construction of new homes over 200 sq metres. This policy does not apply to the redevelopment of existing single dwellings. Building the right type of homes for people to live in is a priority for the council and Westminster has delivered over 725 new affordable homes since 2017.
The property, which has lain vacant for at least 10 years, previously was granted planning permission to be converted into 13 flats. To help free up more space for affordable homes in London, Westminster council in 2018 announced plans to ban new supersize properties built for overseas billionaires. The ban came into force earlier this year but does not apply to the redevelopment of existing houses.