Former Top Gear presenter, Richard Hammond, has faced a setback in his plans for home alterations.
Mr Hammond’s ambitions to revamp his grade II* listed Herefordshire castle, Bollitree Castle, fell through due to the council’s refusal to grant permission.
Hammond’s plans, originally granted consent in 2019, took an unexpected detour in March 2021. The celebrity sought to introduce a new design, featuring glazed kitchen and boot room extensions, internal alterations, and a transformation of the existing conservatory into a sunroom. His architects claimed the redesign would preserve the existing kitchen’s proportions by relocating it to a slightly larger sunroom, thereby bypassing the need to connect the main house to the surrounding barns.
However, Herefordshire Council’s buildings conservation officer, Conor Ruttledge, called a halt. He voiced his concerns over the lack of re-appraisal of the plan’s heritage statement, criticising the proposal for its ‘more pavilion-like appearance’. According to Ruttledge, this design would introduce a functionality that was never intended for the location, thus distorting the historic building’s aesthetics.
Adding weight to this objection, The Georgian Group argued that the proposed kitchen would act as a ‘lumpen alien feature’, causing harm to the delicate eighteenth-century Gothic façade. Historic England further objected, citing the proposed alteration’s visually and architecturally intrusive form and inappropriate function.
After months of deliberation and failed attempts to address the heritage concerns, Simon Rowles, Herefordshire Council’s development manager, announced the plan’s disposal due to the time passed since the consultation’s closure last year. In a letter addressed to Hammond, Rowles expressed his disappointment over the inability to arrange a meeting and the lack of additional required information from the TV personality.
Richard Hammond’s aspirations to enhance his castle home have been momentarily dashed, with these architectural alterations facing the challenge of maintaining the property’s historic value. Hammond has yet to comment on the development.
Last month the Gazette reporter on Mr Hammond’s powerful new vehicle to serve as his daily driver for 2023.
The vehicle, delivered to him by AEC, the chief importer of Dodge and RAM vehicles in Europe, is none other than the monstrous RAM TRX. This behemoth of a pickup truck sports a 6.2 litre supercharged V8 engine, the same one found in the Dodge Charger Hellcat. Although it’s slightly detuned to 707 horsepower, it’s still a force to be reckoned with.
The RAM TRX is enormous, dwarfing the Charger and sparking questions about whether it will even fit on the narrow UK roads. Regardless, Hammond is excited to put the truck to the test and explore its capabilities.
From an ecological standpoint, the RAM TRX consumes a significant amount of fuel, averaging 14 miles per gallon on motorways. However, as Hammond points out, using up all the fossil fuels will only hasten the switch to electric vehicles.