ONE of Britain's richest men has been permission to build a second home on his Hampshire estate.

Billionaire businessman Jim Ratcliffe is constructing a seafront mansion at Thorns Beach, near Beaulieu, after winning a six-year battle to secure planning permission.

Sir Jim's first application to build a caretaker's cottage on neighbouring land was submitted last year.

New Forest Post:

As reported in the Daily Echo the Environment Agency lodged an objection, claiming the danger of flooding meant anyone living in the cottage would not be safe.

Beaulieu Parish Council also criticised the scheme, citing the size of proposed outbuildings and the "serious health and safety concerns" raised by the Environment Agency.

Sir Jim withdrew the application but later submitted a revised scheme.

The floor level was raised to combat the risk of flooding, the size of the garage was reduced and the proposed landscaping was "updated and rationalised".

The new proposals have now been approved by the New Forest National Park Authority.

A report by the authority's planning offices says the site forms part of a unique area known locally as "tin town" because many of the homes have corrugated tin roofs.

It adds that the new property would not have a similar roof but its design would reflect the rural feel of the area.

"It is of modest height and would not have a detrimental impact on the wider area," says the report. "The outbuildings are simple and subservient.

New Forest Post:

"The flood defence proposals are considered acceptable and would not result in a form of development which would be inappropriate. Although the building would be raised above the existing ground level it is a low dwelling and would not have an impact on the wider area."

The site is currently occupied by a two-bedroom property, Garden Cottage, which the application described as "no longer adequate for modern-day living".

Sir Jim, who co-founded the chemical group Ineos and is said to be worth £18bn, is seeking consent to replace the existing property with a three-bedroom cottage.

It will be occupied by a "permanent guardian" who will be responsible for tending to the site and the main property, Thorns Beach House.