Villagers furious with Harry Potter star's eco-village plans as decision expected

By SWNS

8th Jul 2024 | Local News

Rupert Grint has applied to build a terrace of two-bedroom homes, five 'luxury' detached houses and six apartments (image via SWNS)
Rupert Grint has applied to build a terrace of two-bedroom homes, five 'luxury' detached houses and six apartments (image via SWNS)

Harry Potter star Rupert Grint has angered residents of a small village with plans to build a controversial 'eco-Hogsmeade' on his sprawling country estate.

Locals of Kimpton, are waiting for North Herts Council's planning committee to rule on the latest set of proposals on Grint's 'eco' housing which is due next month.

Multi-millionaire Mr Grint, who rose to fame in the Harry Potter film series, has applied to build a terrace of two-bedroom homes, five 'luxury' detached houses and six apartments on Kimpton Grange estate.

Residents have hit out against the plans to build on the protected greenbelt land and conservation area which sits on the 22.6 acre estate Grint bought for £5.4 million in 2009.

Grint, who played Ron Weasley in the Potter films, has offered proposed to extend the back gardens of the 19th century cottages that back onto the estate in revised plans.

An outline drawing of the plans (image via SWNS)

Davina Malcolm, 77, has lived in her 18th-century cottage in Kimpton Bottom next to the Kimpton Grange estate for more than 30 years.

She said that Grint's gesture to appease disgruntled residents by extending their gardens was not fully reflected in the revised plans.

She said: "The proposed 'gift' of extended gardens is not reflected elsewhere.

"The Tree Constraints and Protection Plan has not included the trees immediately to the rear of Kimpton Bottom cottages, as if the site boundary no longer includes these.

"Moving a red line surely is insufficient 'proof' of ownership."

The retired teacher previously said: "It is an unsustainable development that will lead to further infilling in the greenbelt and conservation area.

"A set of neighbours to the property have no back gardens.

"They've been offered some land each to extend their gardens which would be lovely and up their property values."

Grint bought for £5.4million in 2009 (image via SWNS)

The application has so far built up 16 written objections on the North Hertfordshire Council planning application portal for the Kimpton Grange property.

In a bid to appease locals, the actor who played Ron Weasley is also offering to open a 'gifted' community park, circular walk and forest school resources.

Grint, 35, has received just one written comment of support by Paul Hunter who said it would "create an exciting new era while being sympathetic to the environment".

Dalia Wyatt, 70, has objected to the plans and called for the community of Kimpton to be more involved.

She said: " A development project of this magnitude needs to hold meetings, that parishioners and the wider community can attend, ask questions and have our concerns about the impact of and implications of the development explained.

"Otherwise planning will ultimately be approved by stealth in the dark, with us not able to object in an informed manner.

"I have severe misgivings about the promise of land being given to the Local Authority for a Nature reserve.

"There is no guarantee that this will be fulfilled after planning is granted. Also if the land was gifted, I have real concerns whether at some future time, some of this land would be utilised for housing or sold on.

The application has so far built up 16 written objections to North Hertfordshire Council (image via SWNS)

"The proposal of the carpark - this would encourage traffic at this entrance which is a blind spot, and also for people to use their cars, which in the current environmental crisis is not good.

"I also do not want the view from my back windows to be of a car park, rather than the glimpses of the grange and its grounds."

Many locals say huge amounts of wildlife are supported by the estate's woodland including an old rookery supporting a colony of birds, red kites, muntjac deer, rabbits, badgers, foxes and frogs.

The application states the work would lead to a Biodiversity Net Gain of 51.35 per cent, however members of Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust have also objected.

Planning and diversity officer for the Trust Matt Dodds previously said: "The application needs to supply the full biodiversity, not a metric.

"This must evidence all the habitat and condition assessments for it to be acceptable. It should not be decided without this information."

Grint is also offering to open a 'gifted' community park, circular walk and forest school resources (image via SWNS)

The revised plans for Grint's estate were submitted in October 2022 and involved transforming the main lodge into six two-bed and three-bed apartments, four 2-bed terraced houses and five detached homes.

The five detached dwellings would consist of a five-bed, two four-bed, and two two-bed homes.

These would lead to the demolition of existing buildings on the estate and create the homes on the woodland site.

Grint bought the estate at just 19 which came with an 18th-century mansion, two swimming pools and a private cinema.

He failed to sell the property in 2018 and has since created plans for the 'eco-village' which would include new public access on a narrow road.

The application will be voted on by council planning committee this July.

     

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