The Beckhams are ruffling some feathers in the Cotswolds. We learned in June that the famous duo are fulfilling their James Bond fantasies by adding a super-secret underground tunnel that will allow them to travel in stealth mode from their nine-bedroom cottage to a planned underground wine cellar. From the cellar, the tunnel takes them to what has been upgraded from a “luxury car garage” to a “super garage.” I, for one, cannot wait to hear what makes up a super garage. Like, does any oil that leaks get absorbed by the space-age floors and turned into salad dressing? But we are here to discuss the other renovations planned that are ticking off their countryside neighbors. One such neighbor, named Michael Douglas but not that Michael Douglas, wrote a sternly worded email to the town’s council about the Beckhams mucking up their pastoral countryside with all their fancy-schmancy changes. According to Mr. Douglas, their plans include a lake and a hill on their property, which is threatening to turn the Cotswold’s into “suburbia.” Except a little lake and small hill sounds kind of nice.
Their latest proposed project, a large kidney-shaped swimming lake, has been met with fierce criticism from neighbours.
Local resident Michael Douglas voiced his concern in an email to the council having previously objected to the gatehouse.
He wrote: “I now note a further new application has been submitted regarding the Beckham’s Barn, regarding change of use of land to extend the residential curtilage and installation of ‘a heart shaped pond’.
“What they appear to want is to bring suburbia into the countryside, if they had wanted all they have applied for why not find an estate which was big enough to accommodate all of this.”
Mr Douglas fears the project will lead to more buildings in the future and believes a hill to increase the Beckhams’ privacy will be a blot on the landscape.
He continued: “The fact they want to use the soil dug out for this proposed pond and a Bund to protect their privacy changes the whole landscape of the area of fields.
“The statement says ‘The intention for the pond is to improve the landscape aesthetically’ how can you improve the landscape around Great Tew and surrounding areas, what you have at the moment is crop, planted fields, that’s what farm land is and used for, it’s always been green and planted and the land has always been fields.
“They also add ‘to the enjoyment of family living’. If they don’t want to live in the countryside in an open area of green fields why buy the properties in the first instance after all they have properties in Los Angeles, Florida, New York and London.”
The Beckhams’ pad neighbours the trendy Soho Farmhouse retreat which is a popular rural getaway for celebs.
There is a bit more at stake here. The pond proposal was recently blocked by environmental concerns for some for the wildlife in that area. The Beckhams are required to submit a five-year sustainability proposal for the lake. That’s pretty standard, most environmental groups weigh in when the habitat is involved. The proposal also mentions lighting for the lake, which The Daily Mail referred to as “flood lights,” that were also blocked due to environmental reasons. Even if it wasn’t going to mess with the local bats, I, as a neighbor, would have several stern words about a baseball field’s illumination glaring through my cozy sitting room. I live in an area that had built a lake as a local swimming hole in the first part of the last century. It was drained because it saturated the surrounding properties so much that we all have Pisa-level leaning property walls. Water tables are nothing to trifle with. Aesthetically, I do not understand the complaint. I live in suburbia so a small lake and hill view would be lovely and anything but a “blot”.
If the neighbors honestly bought their parcels because they wanted miles of flat landscape to look at, I understand their grievances. If this Douglas guy doesn’t want to have to listen or deal with the amount of trucks and machinery drilling away for years to make underground super garages, saunas, ponds and hills, I also understand. But I don’t agree with a pond being a gateway to more buildings. And I think the suburbia claim is off. If anything, this sounds more like an attempt of a suburbanite playing out their Cotswold fantasy with a small bund and lake of their own. And it is David flipping Beckham. Apparently there is a new holiday park that allows for a direct line of sight into the Beckhams home. Any access to him like that is going to wreak even more havoc in the community with all the looky-loos than a small hill that obstructs that. Security concerns are legitimate for someone with David’s level of fame, it’s either underground tunnels and hills or a ton of security personnel parked throughout the area. I’d rather the landscape did the work, myself.
Photo credit: David Beckham’s Instagram/small>