Kirsty Bertarelli is Britain's richest woman and might be the country's worst neighbor
Meet Kirsty Bertarelli. She's probably the worst neighbor to have in Britain. She also happens to be the richest woman in the UK.
She is worth more than Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and the Queen combined, at £9.75 billion ($14.5 billion), according to the Sunday Times Rich List 2014.
But the singer, former Miss UK, and wife of Switzerland's richest man, Ernesto Bertarelli — he sold his family's pharmaceuticals firm Serono for £9 billion to Merck — is set to cause a massive, literal headache for her neighbors.
The 43-year-old just won planning permission from Westminster Council to build a £10 million ($14.8 million) "mega basement" underneath her £5.5 million ($8.1 million) house on one of London's wealthiest streets. (The British press cannot identify the exact location of the Bertarellis' house under privacy laws.)
She plans to turn her mews house, which she shares with her husband and three children, into an "iceberg," as the basement will be two stories deep. Effectively, she is turning her basement into a secret underground lair that would make any evil genius from a James Bond movie proud.
According to sketches by the couple's architect firm, Boundary Space, the basement will host a family room, a cinema, another kitchen, a dining room, and a gym.
"There have been a large number of objections from other residents within the mews," said John Walker, Westminster City Council's operational director of development planning, in a report cited by The Telegraph.
"Concern has been raised by residents that the use of the basements has not been specified, and that they might be used as recording studios. They are concerned that the excavation of new basements is a risky construction process, with potential harm to the property and adjoining buildings."
However, despite Westminster Council banning "iceberg" developments by end of this year, it approved the application.
As The Telegraph pointed out, the Bertarellis live only a few streets away from Kensington and Chelsea council, which has "already banned 'excessive' two-story 'iceberg' extensions, which it says are unacceptably disruptive to neighbors."