The French Government is seeking to block the building of a mega-basement intended to house a collection of vintage cars, the High Court has heard. Over the course of two days of submissions in the High Court before Mr Justice Holgate on the 10th and 11th November 2015 the French Government, represented by Robert Griffiths QC, sought to argue that work planned for a Grade II listed mansion at 10 Kensington Palace Gardens – the former Soviet Mission next door to the French embassy in London – was unlawful.
The owners of the property, Jon Hunt, the founder of Foxtons estate agents and his wife Lois, have already started work. They were first granted planning permission and listed building consent in 2008, and a smaller scheme was given listed building consent in 2010.
The French Government is challenging the validity of certificates of lawfulness granted by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in April 2015 confirming that remaining works are lawful. It is seeking to argue that the listed building and lawful development certificates were both flawed for a number of reasons and should be quashed.
Tom Cosgrove from Cornerstone Barristers represented the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, which disagrees that it has acted unlawfully. Paul Brown QC represented the Hunts. Judgment is likely to be delivered in the next few weeks.