World’s most expensive problem property … probably

Sandbanks planning application decision notice

Despite being supported in his application by his neighbours, the owner of a £13.5 million property has not been given permission to rebuild the existing “death trap”.

Tom Glanfield purchased North Haven Point  in March 2023. The bungalow, set on 1.4 acres of land, is one of the largest and most expensive properties on Panorama Road, Sandbanks, Dorset – popularly known as Millionaire’s Row. The property was previously known as Harbour Light.

After his purchase, Mr Glanfield posted a message on Instagram, in which he was photographed with the previous owner, that he “fell in love immediately with the view and its rustic charm”.

The bungalow is indeed a little dated in places, with a cork-tiled kitchen ceiling as an example. However, he says he was a bit surprised by the amount of work necessary. The described the property as mould-ridden and “crumbling inside”, with a badly damaged swimming pool, garage and tidal wall. In addition, described the property as relying “on obscene amounts of oil” and said it did not “meet modern building standards”.

His solution was to demolish the property and rebuild it as a five bedroom eco-home with open plan kitchen and jacuzzi with sea views, as well as a cinema, bar, balcony and gym. The existing rusting, corrugated sea defence would be replaced by large, landscaped boulders. He says his “dream is to build a permanent family home that will stand the test of time, using sustainable building methods, locally sourced materials, and calling on local tradesmen to carry out the building work”.

However, the property lies within a conservation area and has previously been nominated to be added to the local heritage list. As such, the property would be awarded the status of a “non-designated heritage asset”.

Bournemouth and Poole Council has refused the submitted planning application on the grounds that it would not fit with other Edwardian properties in the area. However, it did not object to the rebuilding of the harbour wall located at the bottom of the garden.

The conservation officer said that design did “not respect the character” of the area, and was of “a rather generic contemporary design, with its large expanses of glazing, concrete elements, vertical timber-effect as well as stone cladding and flat roof, resulting in a ‘boxy’ appearance.”

The architects argued that the plot itself contributed to the Conservation Area, rather than the bungalow which, in its opinion, was secondary to the plot, and that the “muted natural materials” in which the proposed two-storey, modern box structure might be built would be preferable to the “stark white” properties that currently exist in the area.

Prior to Mr Glanfield’s purchase, the property had been in the same ownership for 117 years. In 1954, permission was granted to extend the chalet bungalow and, in its current state, the property equates to £4,640 per square foot. Accordingly, it has become known as the “world’s most expensive home”, that out-prices properties in places such as New York and Hong Kong.