Qatari royal family’s plans to knock three Grade I-listed mansions together …

  • Plans for Qatari royal family to build 33,000 sq ft palace have been rejected
  • It would have been the UK’s first £200m home complete with 17 bedrooms
  • Planning officer Matthew Rees cited housing shortage in his refusal 
  • Site bought by wife of Sheikh Hamad for an estimated £120m in 2013 
  • Her family also own the Shard – tallest skyscraper in Europe – and Harrods
  • Home would have had a beauty salon, pool, juice bar, two lifts and cinema

Jenny Awford for MailOnline

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It would have been the UK’s first £200million home – a Grade I listed, 17-bedroom mansion complete with a spa and beauty salon.

But plans for Qatar’s royal family to create their own 33,000 sq ft palace in London’s Regent’s Park have been rejected by a town hall planning officer who cited the capital’s housing shortage.

The Gulf state’s rulers had hoped to convert three prime properties on Cornwall Terrace into one twin-lift mansion with a heated swimming pool, gymnasium, games rooms, juice bar and staff wing.

But Matthew Rees, a planning officer at Westminster city council, halted the scheme with an official memo saying the development did not meet the city’s plan.

Plans for Qatar's royal family to build their own 33,000 sq ft British palace in London's Regent's Park have been rejected by a town hall planning officer

Plans for Qatar’s royal family to build their own 33,000 sq ft British palace in London’s Regent’s Park have been rejected by a town hall planning officer

The Gulf state's rulers had hoped to convert three prime properties on Cornwall Terrace (pictured) into one twin-lift mansion

The Gulf state’s rulers had hoped to convert three prime properties on Cornwall Terrace (pictured) into one twin-lift mansion

He said: ‘Your development would lead to the loss of a housing unit which would not meet S14 of Westminster’s City Plan: Strategic Policies adopted November 2013. Negotiation could not overcome the reasons for refusal.’ 

Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned, one of the three wives of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani – the former emir of Qatar – purchased the site for estimated an £120million in 2013. 

Her family also own the Shard, the tallest skyscraper in Europe, Harrods and the Olympic Village. 

Blueprints reveal that the mansion would have boasted 14 lounges, four dining rooms and a cinema along with 17 bedrooms. 

Paul Dimoldenberg, leader of the Labour group at the Conservative-controlled authority, told The Guardian: ‘The stories about the mega-rich parking their money in Westminster have got to the point where even Westminster council is embarrassed at what is going on. 

‘There is no need for more multimillion-pound houses. The issue isn’t finding homes for the royal family or any other monarchy. We need to find homes for people on medium and low incomes.’ 

Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned (right), one of the three wives of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani (left) purchased the site for estimated an £120million in 2013

Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned (left, right), one of the three wives of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani (far left) purchased the site for an estimated £120million in 2013, pictured (right) with the Queen in 2010

The 17-bedroom mansion would have been one of the capital's grandest homes and be among the world's most valuable residential properties, pictured is Cornwall Terrace overlooking Regent's Park

The 17-bedroom mansion would have been one of the capital’s grandest homes and be among the world’s most valuable residential properties, pictured is Cornwall Terrace overlooking Regent’s Park

The royal family even offered to give £850,000 to the council's affordable housing plan as part of the proposal, pictured is the garden of 1 Cornwall Terrace

The royal family even offered to give £850,000 to the council’s affordable housing plan as part of the proposal, pictured is the garden of 1 Cornwall Terrace

Under the plans the palace would have included a huge master suite with separate dressing rooms for the sheikh and sheikha, and a special eveningwear wardrobe and private fitting room.

Children were to have the whole top floor to themselves – with lift access to a games room, a large pantry for snacks and various lounges.

Heated kitchen seats would have kept the family warm in the English winter and during the summer Italianate gardens would have been dramatically lit to look like a ballroom.

Guests would have been treated to a selection of bedrooms and the chance to smoke with their host in a cigar room, and select drinks from a ‘wine cave’.

The Qataris’ agents – Montagu Evans – had tried to offer the council £850,000 in cash towards its affordable housing fund. 

But Mr Rees said this was not permitted and the decision was upheld. 

The mansion was expected to be the most valuable residential property in London in private hands.

Under the plans the palace would have included a huge master suite with separate dressing rooms for the sheikh and sheikha

Under the plans the palace would have included a huge master suite with separate dressing rooms for the sheikh and sheikha

Children were to have the whole top floor to themselves – with lift access to a games room, a large pantry for snacks and various lounges

Children were to have the whole top floor to themselves – with lift access to a games room, a large pantry for snacks and various lounges

The palace was predicted to be worth more than Dudley House on Park Lane (pictured), a grade II-listed mansion which was also bought and renovated by Sheikh Hamad, 63, and is valued at £200 million

The palace was predicted to be worth more than Dudley House on Park Lane (pictured), a grade II-listed mansion which was also bought and renovated by Sheikh Hamad, 63, and is valued at £200 million

Qatari sources said they had yet to decide what strategy to take following the recommendation for refusal.

Their designers, March White – who also produce interiors for superyachts and dressing rooms that allow residents to use an iPad to select their clothes – declined to comment.

All three properties – 1, 2 and 3 Cornwall Terrace – were designed and built in the 1820s by Decimus Burton, the protégé of John Nash, the architect who designed Buckingham Palace. 

It was named after King George IV, whose titles included the Duke of Cornwall.

The homes were badly damaged in the Blitz. After refurbishment, one of the properties was the official residence of the New Zealand High Commissioner from 1955 until the seventies, with lavish parties for royalty, celebrities and ambassadors.

The family of Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned own Harrods along with other prime London properties

The family of Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned own Harrods along with other prime London properties

The royal family snapped up Canary Wharf for £2.6billion this week, adding to its London portfolio which includes the Shard skyscraper (pictured)

The royal family snapped up Canary Wharf for £2.6billion this week, adding to its London portfolio which includes the Shard skyscraper (pictured)

It was subsequently overtaken by hippy squatters in 1975 and was hailed as a ‘temple’ for the ‘Rainbow People’ and ‘Divine Light Mission’ – before being redeveloped in 2007 by a property company and sold.

Representatives of the Qatar royal family said after joining the houses together, the new single mansion ‘will be ordered through a series of zones creating a sense of hierarchy’.

The palace was predicted to be worth more than Dudley House on Park Lane, a grade II-listed mansion which was also bought and renovated by Sheikh Hamad, 63, and is valued at £200 million.

The royal family also snapped up Canary Wharf for £2.6billion this week, adding to its London portfolio of Harrods and the Shard skyscraper. 

A spokesman for Westminster council said: ‘Houses containing a number of flats or homes shouldn’t be knocked through, and that is our policy.

‘We need as many homes in central London as we can possibly get. It would now be up to the planning committee to decide [if] they agree with that.’ 

WHO ARE THE QATARI ROYALS? AL THANI FAMILY HAVE RULED SINCE 1850

The state of Qatar has been ruled by the Al Thani family since the mid-19th century.

It is an absolute monarchy, which means the monarch has unrestricted political power over the state and its people.

The current head of state is 34-year-old emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and there has been eight rulers in total since the House of Thani was established in 1850.

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani handed power over to his son – one of his 24 children – in June 2013.

He was the first ruler, in a succession of three Qatari rulers to ascend to power without resorting to a coup, following his father’s seizure of power from his own father in 1995.

Sheikh Tamim married his second cousin in 2005 and had four children, and then married his second wife – the daughter of the Qatari Ambassador to Jordan – in 2009 and has a daughter and a son. 

Oil was discovered in the country in 1940, transforming its economy and it is now the world’s third largest natural gas reserves and oil – in excess of 25 billion barrels.

The country now has a high standard of living, with no income tax and one of the lowest tax rates in the world and less than one per cent of the population is unemployed.

 

 


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