A mega-rich City banker who made a fortune from the credit crunch is splashing out more than £150,000 – on a chicken coop at his country mansion.
Hedge fund manager Crispin Odey is to erect a Palladian-style hen house complete with stone colonnades, English oak windows and topped with an anthemia monument.
The colossal coop stands 16ft high and covers 775 sq ft – taller than a bungalow and roughly the size of a typical two-bedroomed flat.
Mr Odey, 53, hired a top team of London architects to the design the property, which will be made from estimated £130,000 worth of local sandstone.
The building will replace a dilapidated warehouse at Eastbach Court, his Grade II-listed home in the village of English Bicknor in the Forest of Dean, Glos.
Mr Odey hit the headlines in 2008 after paying himself £28million as Britain slid into recession by successfully predicting the credit crunch.
Plans for a new chicken house were originally approved by Forest of Dean District Council in 2010 but Mr Odey then applied to make the building 30 per cent bigger.
It will be positioned 115ft from the nearest road and be constructed from Forest Stone Ashlar, with a zinc roof and painted timber pediments.
The coop – which measures 23ft 11ins wide and is 32ft 5ins long – is topped with a decorative anthemia set atop hand-carved stone plinths.
It was designed by Smallwood Architects in Chelsea, West London, which normally works on multi-million pound dream houses.
The building was designed to blend in with the main house and not “mock the nearby listed building’s historic features”.
Even the doors will be painted Hague Blue to “match the doors around Eastbach Court”, according to the plans.
Planning officer Anna Welsh conceded that the design could be considered “rather grandiose” for a chicken house but the design and quality of the materials used would be in-keeping with the listed property.
She wrote in a report: “Whilst it could be considered that the design and materials are rather grandiose for its purpose as a chicken shed, it is nevertheless judged that the building is modest in size … and is in-keeping with the character and appearance of the listed building and other curtilage-listed buildings.
“It also replaces a concrete block building which was not in keeping with an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”
She concluded: “The chicken house is an individual and unique structure within the landscape and these materials will ensure that its character and appearance is enhanced.
“It is therefore judged that the proposal will not cause any harm to the setting of that listed building or the visual amenities of the surrounding Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”
A planning officer at Forest of Dean District Council said: “I have not dealt with anything like this before – it’s unique.
“Eastbach Court is quite a special place, and the proposed plans were in keeping with the overall feel of the estate.
“Although it is of the highest quality, the need for a new agricultural building so close to a Grade-II listed building needed to be justified.”
English Bicknor Parish Council did not object to the planning application.
Chairperson Pat Drinkall said yesterday: “It was brought before the Parish Council some months ago and the Parish Council had no problem with it whatsoever.
“We were able to make representations to the District Council and that was what the Parish Council’s view was.”
The plans have now been given full approval, which means construction can begin with immediate effect.
Mr Odey was once married to media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s eldest daughter Prudence and is now married to
He runs the hedge-fund Odey Asset Management, which controls around £4.5 billion worth of assets including £70million worth of Barclays shares.
The company made £64million in 2008 by successfully gambling on bank shares falling.
Mr Odey was listed as the sixth wealthiest fund manager in the Sunday Times Rich List 2012, with a personal net worth of £455million.
His wife Nichola Pease is a former Chief Executive of JO Hambro Capital Management and is currently on the board of Schroders.
The couple – who also have a townhouse in Chelsea – have ploughed a fortune into Eastbach Court, including excavating a huge lake in the grounds.
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