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Boris Johnson wins battle for revamp of £4 million home to build boot room

Former prime minister wants to modernise Grade II listed manor for the ‘democratic age where families no longer rely on live-in staff’

Matt Mathers
Wednesday 07 February 2024 18:33 GMT
Boris and Carrie Johnson applauded as they leave Downing Street for final time

Boris Johnson has been granted planning permission for a revamp of his multimillion-pound Grade II listed manor in Oxfordshire that will see a single-storey extension originally built for servants demolished to make way for a boot room.

The former prime minister wants to modernise the nine-bedroom Brightwell Manor, said to be worth around £4m, for the “democratic age where families no longer rely on live-in staff”.

Mr Johnson and his wife Carrie, who have used nannies in the past, also plan to build a brick pillar loggia, extend the southern patio and install a larder and plant room, planning documents show.

The couple, who tied the knot in 2021 and moved into the property last summer, also plan to build a new gated entrance to the manor, located in the village of Brightwell-cum-Sotwell in Oxfordshire, boasting original Tudor and Georgian features as it was built over the two periods.

Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie moved into the property last summer ((Knight Frank/Getty))

It is believed that in the 1150s, the Norman King Stephen built a moated siege castle on the site where the manor house now stands. According to a now-closed sales listing, the castle “was delivered up to Duke Henry after the Civil War and [was] probably promptly demolished”.

The heart of the house, which includes the sitting room, family room and bedroom suite, is believed to date back to 1605. The property originally included “extensive arable farmland and further properties”, but these were sold in 1914.

The front of the manor was added towards the end of the 18th century, bringing Georgian characteristics with it. The listing said: “Constructed of red brick with blue brick headers, tall sash windows, a centrally placed entrance door with elegant fanlight and a parapet concealing the tiled roof. The annex and kitchen were built in the 1950s, in keeping with the Georgian character of the house.

Johnsons plan to convert extension for servants into a boot room (Oxfordshire County Council)

The most well-known person who once called Brightwell Manor home was the Reverend Dr William Ralph Inge, a theologian who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature three times, and who purchased the home in 1933. He was the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral and Knight Commander of the Victorian Order.

Buildings are listed when they are of special architectural or historic interest and considered to be of national importance and therefore worth protecting, according to Historic England.

There are extra controls over what changes can be made to a listed building’s interior and exterior and owners need to apply for listed building consent for most types of work that affect the “special architectural or historic interest” of their home.

South Oxfordshire district council said it granted planning permission  to Mr Johnson, who served as the Conservative MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip before standing down in June last year ahead of a recall petition following a slew of scandals during his time as prime minister, because the proposed works “safeguards the historic and architectural interest and setting of the Grade II listed building.”

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