Skip to content

EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Bridgerton school's £6.5m plan to build new tech centre sparks estate drama 

EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Bridgerton school's £6.5m plan to build new tech centre sparks estate drama 

Stowe School sparked public interest when it graced our screens as one of the glorious period settings in the hit Netflix drama Bridgerton.

But now I hear that the public school in Buckingham, which includes ex-girlfriends of Prince Harry, Chelsy Davy and Cressida Bonas, and Virgin tycoon Sir Richard Branson, has stoked up some theaters of its own.

For I can reveal that the £40,000-a-year boarding school is pushing controversial plans for a £6.5million design, technology and engineering facility to be built on the estate, despite fierce opposition from conservation groups.

Historic England, The Gardens Trust and The Georgian Group have claimed the ‘flawed’ proposal will cause ‘a high degree of damage to the historic fabric and character of one of the most important registered parks and gardens in Europe’.

The landscaped parks have been managed by the National Trust since 1989, while the main school building, the Grade II listed Stowe House, is the former country estate of the Dukes of Buckingham and Chandos.

An aerial view of Stowe School in Buckinghamshire, which came to prominence via Netflix hit Bridgerton

An aerial view of Stowe School in Buckinghamshire, which came to prominence via Netflix hit Bridgerton

£40,000-per-year boarding school pushes ahead with controversial plans for £6.5million design, technology and engineering facility

£40,000-per-year boarding school pushes ahead with controversial plans for £6.5million design, technology and engineering facility

It has played host to kings, queens and tsars over the centuries.

Opponents were so outraged by the ‘damaging proposal’ to build part of the Rook Spinney forest, an area unaltered since the 18th century, that they sent their appeal to Housing Secretary Michael Gove.

But he brushed off their complaints and refused to participate.

Although permission was granted, the planning officials expressed their own concerns and advised that the application be rejected, noting in their report that: ‘The officers believe the damage level would be at the higher end of that scale’.

Planning documents indicate a minimum of 28 trees to be removed, including some that are approximately 150 years old.

However, Stowe’s rector, Dr Anthony Wallersteiner, remains optimistic about the plans.

He tells me: ‘We are working closely with our partners and stakeholders to ensure that the entire site is sympathetically developed in line with the well-established principles of conservation and restoration.

“We hope to open the property at the end of 2023, Stowe’s centenary.”

Emma’s girl prevents birthday fire for family friend Hayley

Blowing out the candles on her 40th birthday cake was almost a Mission: Impossible-level hazard task for the franchise’s star Hayley Atwell.

Fortunately, Dame Emma Thompson and Strictly, Greg Wise’s 22-year-old daughter, Gaia (far left), held onto her hair to “make sure we didn’t all go up in flames,” Atwell says.

Hayley Atwell (right) blows out candles on her birthday while Gaia Wise (left) keeps her hair away from the cake

Hayley Atwell (right) blows out candles on her birthday while Gaia Wise (left) keeps her hair away from the cake

“Just a whisper of singe instead.”

Atwell became a family friend after she starred in Brideshead Revisited with Dame Emma, ​​who defended her when a producer reportedly ordered her to go on a diet during filming.

Liz’ star friends get her in hot water

Elizabeth Hurley’s penchant for posting swimwear photos finally seems to have struck a chord with her fans.

During an escape to the sun, the actress was proud to share a photo of her saving two starfish.

“This beautiful starfish, alive but stranded, found on the beach – they are now happily back at the bottom of the sea,” boasted the 56-year-old.

Elizabeth Hurley posted a photo in her bikini with two starfish on her social media, but was criticized

Elizabeth Hurley posted a photo in her bikini with two starfish on her social media, but was criticized

But despite her best intentions, it is advised never to touch a starfish.

One disgruntled fan wrote: ‘They are extremely delicate and probably won’t survive once you take them out of the sea and manipulate them.’

Another commented, “You just killed those stars.”

oh dear.

Lucy vaping about sexist judgements

Bohemian Rhapsody star Lucy Boynton says sexism in the film industry forces actresses to “prepare too well” for roles.

“It fills me with anger and frustration,” said the 28-year-old, who holds both British and American nationality.

Bohemian Rhapsody star Lucy Boynton pictured at the British Academy Film Awards in London last month

Bohemian Rhapsody star Lucy Boynton pictured at the British Academy Film Awards in London last month

“You can’t present angrily because people drop out and don’t listen to the angry woman.”

She adds, “A man walks into a room and you take him as he is, but as a woman there are so many factors that people will base their judgments on.”

First eco-rebel Stella has the last laugh…

She’s not normally one to blow her own trumpet, but sustainability fighter Stella McCartney wishes she were more admired for being the first fashion eco-rebel.

“As a fashion designer who shuns fur and leather and has never used animal products, I was the victim of a joke in the beginning,” says Sir Paul’s 50-year-old daughter.

She tells Chef Ruth Rogers on her River Cafe Table 4 podcast, “I used to come up with it and think, ‘I don’t understand why I’m not the coolest rebellious punk rock person in the room, because if you’re all fur and leather, and all eating meat, you are the ones who are boring and mainstream.’

McCartney, who received an OBE in 2013 for his services to fashion, adds, “I’m the one who asks questions and pushes buttons and challenges convention.”

Pop misses politics for Pet Shop Boy

Pet Shop Boys frontman Neil Tennant has called on pop stars to record anti-war songs in light of the current political climate.

The 67-year-old believes: ‘Marvin Gaye wrote What’s Going On in response to the Vietnam War.

‘Where is the report responding to the war in Ukraine?

“Where’s the fantastic pop song about Putin?”

Pet Shop Boys frontman Neil Tennant has called on musicians to record an anti-war song after Russia's invasion of Ukraine

Pet Shop Boys frontman Neil Tennant has called on musicians to record an anti-war song after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

He adds, “It’s like it’s not the concern of the pop music, but I think it’s the concern of the pop music.”

The synth pop singer who has sold more than 100 million records worldwide along with keyboardist Chris Lowe says his interest in the industry has waned.

‘I find contemporary pop music narcissistic.

“I wish there was more art in it, rather than just people berating their boyfriend,” he says.

Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg backs Transport Secretary Grant Shapps’ pledge to abolish the ‘endless flow’ of train announcements.

The 52-year-old says: ‘I was picking up a son from a trip and they said ‘Kids wander on the luggage carts’.

“I was like, ‘What kind of announcement is that?’ Can you just leave us alone?

“The government should not encourage these annoyances.”

Spare a thought for Countdown presenter Anne Robinson, who reveals that driving back from filming for the Channel 4 quiz in Salford is a perilous task.

“When I come back, I can only make it through about two intersections before I have to stop and go to the bathroom.

“And the worst part is that I’m completely made up and dressed for the show, so when I get out of the car I look like a whore.”

The Queen likes a bit of je ne sais quoi when it comes to her dinner menus, which are traditionally written in French.

Her Majesty’s love for the language is so great that she appeals to the chefs of the Royal House about their language skills.

The Queen’s personal chef, Mark Flanagan, reveals that the 95-year-old monarch is not accepting a faux pas.

“If I get the wrong accent or mix up the masculine and feminine on the menus I send her for approval, she’ll let me know.

“Her Majesty lacks nothing,” he says.

Source link