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Luxury house under way on site of ‘château’ built by Body Shop fortune

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THE site of a large mock château in St Aubin which was torn down by its car salesman-turned multi-millionaire owner four years after being completed is finally being redeveloped after lying vacant for over a decade.

Luxury house being built in St Aubin Picture:DAVID FERGUSON. (24389162)

According to a design statement contained in a recent planning application, the owners of the site, listed only as Seychelles-registered Western Grove Ltd, are planning to build a property much more sympathetic to its surroundings than the previous structure – but no less luxurious.

The brief says the building will incorporate a cinema, gym, pool and a sun deck, with extensive views over St Aubin’s Bay.

The design statement says: ‘In summary, the new dwelling will be an appropriate addition for this prime site in St Aubin’s Village.

‘The design strategy will help the new building sit comfortably within its immediate context and the new house will have significantly less impact than the previously approved house that was demolished.’

Residents living in the area will be happy to learn that something is finally being done with the derelict site after so many years.

The saga initially began in 1977, when Ian McGlinn, a car dealer, gave his friend Anita Roddick a £4,000 loan to help her Body Shop business get off the ground and open a second store. In return, she gave him a 22% stake in the company.

Over the next few decades, the business flourished and became one of the most well-known cosmetic brands on the British high street, with over 1,500 stores in just under 50 countries.

Mr McGlinn, who, had previously lived in a run-down two-bedroom flat in Littlehampton, became one of the richest people in the UK. He later sold his shares for around £145 million.

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Wondering what to do with his new-found fortune, he soon turned his sights to Jersey and set about building a new home on a plot of land on Market Hill in St Aubin.

The result was an imposing three-storey luxury château-style house, complete with mock turrets at the southern and northern ends.

However, in 2002, as it was nearing completion, it emerged that Mr McGlinn was not satisfied with the finished product and he set about suing his UK-based contractor, which soon went into administration, along with his architect, structural engineer and quantity surveyor.

An exceptionally lengthy legal battle ensued, but in 2007, after sitting empty and completely unused, the building was demolished. Miss Roddick died during the same year.

Mr McGlinn, who by this time had built a reputation for being a recluse and refused any requests for interview by journalists, spent the remainder of his fortune being carried around the world on his private yacht – spending his summers in the Mediterranean and winters in the West Indies.

He died at the age of 71 after suffering a heart attack in bed at his property in Monaco.

Ed Taylor

By Ed Taylor
Journalist

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