The World Forum - July 24th, 2024

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Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page Battles Neighbor Robbie Williams Over a Basement Man Cave


Jimmy Page shot to fame in the 1960s playing earsplitting concerts as the lead guitarist in the band Led Zeppelin.


But in the past decade, the ponytailed 79-year-old Brit has pined for the quiet life. Mr. Page has said he doesn’t hold raucous house parties at his 19th-century manor the Tower House in west London. Instead, he has thrown himself into restoring the frescos and stained-glass windows that adorn the interior of the historic building.


This serene existence was shaken when a new neighbor arrived 10 years ago, triggering a planning war between British rock royalty that continues to reverberate today.


Robbie Williams, a pop star and former member of the boy band Take That, bought the mansion next door to Mr. Page in 2013 and applied for permission to install an underground man cave replete with a swimming pool and gym.


Appalled by the prospect of noisy diggers shuddering the ornate tiles and painted ceilings in his turreted Victorian period home, Mr. Page contested the plans, triggering a feud that has spanned years, captivating locals in leafy Holland Park and the British tabloid press, which has chronicled in detail the numerous planning submissions the two sides have made.


In 2018, the local council planning committee settled on a compromise: Mr. Williams could dig his basement but only using hand tools, and he would have to pay for a “vibration monitoring strategy” that included sensors on Mr. Page’s property. In January, Mr. Williams’s lawyers appealed the restrictions. Their filing said construction had been paused but didn’t say why. A representative for Mr. Williams didn’t return requests for comment.


Across Britain, building a new home or modifying an existing one usually requires approval from town planners, who can place strict guidelines and seek input from the neighbors. Numerous celebrities have found plans for dream homes kiboshed by arcane rules.


British singer Cliff Richard was once ordered to pull down a conservatory in his Surrey home after it was deemed to fall foul of local planning rules. Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has spent years in planning disputes over a sprawling complex he is renovating in Suffolk. He ended up simply buying his neighbors’ houses. Despite a public complaint, the council signed off his plan to build a crypt under his property.


“There are no special favors for royalty, rock royalty or media royalty," said Will Minting, a professional consultant in neighbor disputes who has advised numerous stars, including Mr. Page. This one is a celebrity clash for the ages, he said.


Mr. Williams accused Mr. Page of camping outside his house with noise-monitoring equipment and in one interview called him mentally ill. (He later apologized.)

https://www.wsj.com/articles/led-zeppelins-jimmy-page-battles-neighbor-robbie-williams-over-a-basement-man-cave-1640f175?mod=djemalertNEWS


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