10 Jul 2006

David Cameron's eco-renovation: an update

The story of David Cameron’s eco-renovation on his house in Notting Hill has been doing the rounds for six months now. I wrote it up on the blog back on January 9th, just after it broke. Back then, the budget was £10,000 which caused me to express a foul-smelling belch of disbelief.

The scheme has been mired in planning controversy. His snooty neighbours don’t fancy a rooftop wind turbine one bit and have been pulling all sorts of tricks to get it all delayed or even abandoned. As an aspirant political leader, Cameron will no doubt have welcomed the opportunity to learn more about what really excites the good citizenry of his country. But what tickled me more than this spat with his neighbours was the Daily Mail’s estimate of the job costs, which have now grown to around £1 million. OK, it’s only the Daily Mail and when have they ever allowed a couple of noughts to get in the way of a good story, but even so, from £10k to £1m in six months is going it some!

In my experience, most people start out wanting all kinds of fancy stuff when they commission building work, only to find out that they can’t afford any of it and they subsequently trim the job down to the bare essentials. Not so Cameron, it would seem. As he has got more and more enthusiastic about green technology, he seems to have adopted a buy now, pay later approach to his home improvements. Should make for an interesting Prime Minister, if he ever gets the job.

12 July: Cameron has won permission for his wind turbine. And the Daily Mail is now reporting the job costs as £150,000.


  1. AnonymousJuly 24, 2006

    On the way to trying to convince our local council to grant permission for our self build, we briefly explored producing an impact assessment. As our house isn't quite a typical square box and sits close to a listed barn, we knew that the planners wouldn't simply accept the plans without some evidence of the hard work we've gone into trying to 'get it right'. (We were right, we're still dealing with the criticisms raised).

    However, the quoted prices for an impact assessment make snake oil seem cheap. Replacing volume guidelines (albeit ones we may yet fall foul of) with arm waving exercises would surely only add to the objective and random nature of planning permission?

  2. AnonymousJuly 24, 2006

    Opps, this comment was meant for your blog on planning changes, not Cameron's renovation.