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Near neighbours

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Interesting news from Chiswick, west London, where former RIBA president Jose have lived in Georgian splendour for many years. Now they are hoping to move to a house next door - designed by Michael for a developer, but which he has now decided would be just the job to live in himself. It is not cheap, but a deal would be made possible by the sale of their existing magnificent home, which is on the market (Knight Frank, actually) for a mere £3.3 million, according to a feature in the Sunday Express.The new home is a very different kettle of fish to listed Georgian. It is in the Modern manner, although it would be wrong to call it uncompromising. In fact Michael is still furious over the changes he had to make in order to get planning permission from the aesthetic commissars of Hounslow council. As a long-time critic of the failure of many planning authorities to promote good design, Michael has lost none of his spark: 'Hounslow is the worst, most spectacularly incompetent planning authority I have ever met in Britain, ' he tells the Sunday Express. 'In the end, we agreed to some of their ridiculous demands; in retrospect, I regret not having fought even harder.' The paper has its own way with words regarding the new design's faults:

'You start to wonder about the incongruous metal sun visor disfiguring the front, and then you notice what looks like a hut perched on top - which turns out to be a very pokey main bedroom.' Incredibly, the house has taken 10 years to achieve. If the Mansers succeed in acquiring it, Hounslow might as well get ready for the appeal now.

Alternatively, they could stop pretending they know more about design than a PRIBA and Royal Academician.

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