Architect Quinlan Terry has been fined £25,000 for destroying two Grade II-listed lodges in the grounds of a John Nash house in Regent’s Park, London.
Terry, who is one of Prince Charles’ favourite architects, pleaded guilty to three offences under the Planning (Listed Building and Conservations Areas) Act 1990 after Westminster City Council took the case to court.
The South and North Lodges of Hanover Lodge – one of London's grandest homes designed by John Nash – were built in 1827.
But both lodges were destroyed in December last year after demolition teams working for contractor Walter Lilly moved in during Terry’s modernisation of Hanover Lodge.
The fine is one of the largest ever for damage to protected historic properties, but, speaking to The Evening Standard, Terry said the fine was unfair and ‘irritating’.
He added: ‘The problem was that the surrounding buildings, from a much later period, needed to be demolished. We had permission to do that. But as we were doing the demolition one wall of one of the lodges collapsed.
‘The second lodge was also in a poor condition and had a rotten window. They were both very neglected. My chap said they were dangerous and needed to be shored up with a view to putting them back as they were later.
‘The mistake we made was not getting in the necessary 'method statement' to the council to inform them what we were doing. We put our hands up, it was just a straightforward error. The size of the fine was not expected but sometimes the law is an ass,’ Terry concluded.
But council cabinet member Robert Davis said: ‘For one of the country's pre-eminent architects to fall foul of the law is disappointing, but I hope the size of the fine will send a clear signal to anybody who thinks they can damage or destroy listed buildings, whoever they are.’