A best-selling author of the novel Wild Swans has objected to her neighbours’ ‘selfish’ plans to build a huge wine cellar in west London – and fears it will prevent her publishing her next book on time.
Jung Chang, whose book about pre- and post-revolutionary China became the highest-selling non-fiction paperback book ever published, said that building a 2.8-metre-deep ‘spiral’ wine store would disturb the work of her and her husband, Jon Halliday, as they finish their books at their Notting Hill home.
In an objection letter to Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council, she said: ‘[Her neighbour’s property] is a narrow house in a row of old terraced houses, and this new intrusion not only threatens to endanger our house, but further to extend the already brutally long period during which we will be deprived of our right to peace and quiet, and to work undisturbed.’
Jung Chang and husband Jon Halliday have objected to their neighbour’s planning application to build a wine cellar under their house
When speaking to the Evening Standard, she explained further: ‘My husband and I are both writers working from home, where we have all our research and reference books. We can’t work anywhere else.
‘The disruption from the noise and the vibration will be intolerable, and will really jeopardise our hopes of delivering our next books on time.’
Ms Chang and Mr Halliday are one of eight neighbours who have objected to the application, which would allow the applicants, Chadi Semaan and his wife Amélie, to store 1,000 bottles.
Ms Chang added in her letter: ‘Our house…which was a beautiful quiet street when we moved in, has been under continuous bombardment from long, noisy work at [one neighbour] as well as [another two neighbours] at the rear of our house for an unconscionable length of time.
‘We most earnestly request that you reject this new application, designed to fulfil a purely selfish – and potentially dangerous – goal at disproportionate cost to others, whose interests you are under a duty to respect and protect.’
Speaking to the Standard, she said: ‘The disruption from the noise and the vibration will be intolerable, and will really jeopardise our hopes of delivering our next books on time’
Installers Spiral Cellars wrote in the application that the cellar would not affect the planned or existing foundations.
The company wrote: ‘The level of excavation involved in the construction of the store is not significant and will be carried out in conjunction with the main front and rear basement extensions.’
Planning officers recommended the approval of the application, with conditions, because they did ‘not constitute basement development’ due to ‘its limited size and use’.