HE SPENT six years pursing his ambition to build a luxury home on the Hampshire coast.

Billionaire businessman Sir Jim Ratcliffe suffered a series of setbacks, with one application after another being rejected on environmental grounds.

But his never-say-die approach finally paid off in 2017, when his fifth proposal was given the green light.

Now 66-year-old Sir Jim is facing another battle after submitting an application to build a second house at Thorns Beach, near Beaulieu.

He is seeking consent for a caretaker’s cottage near Thorns Beach House, the seafront property that was approved by the New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) two years ago.

New Forest Post:

But the Environment Agency has lodged an objection, claiming the danger of flooding means anyone living in the cottage would not be safe.

In a letter to the NPA it says: “Not withstanding the mitigation measures proposed, the risk to life and/or property within the development from tidal inundation would be unacceptable.

“There is insufficient flood risk mitigation and/or no specified arrangements for safe access and egress.”

But a flood risk assessment which forms part of the application claims that measures to protect the property will ensure the safety of occupants.

The report says walls will surround the site and gaps left for access will be plugged with boards by the occupants in the event of a flood warning.

It adds: “Tidal and sea flooding events can be predicted a long time in advance. There will be ample time to evacuate the site.”

The land is currently occupied by a derelict cottage next to the remains of a walled garden.

New Forest Post:

The application says: “The cottage was probably not intended to be permanent and could well have formed part of a local ‘experiment’ known as Tin Town, where the durability of metal-clad houses was tested.

“The cottage is no longer adequate for modern-day living. The proposed replacement dwelling has been designed to a suitable scale and proportion that evokes the character of a rural home.”

If the application is approved, the cottage will be built behind Thorns Beach House, enabling a “permanent guardian” to keep an eye on the property.

Sir Jim is head of the chemical company Ineos and is said to be worth £18.2 billion, making him one of Britain’s richest men.

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