Digging down: the Witanhurst mega mansion extension

The mystery owners of Witanhurst, the impressive Hampstead home that promises to be bigger than Buckingham Palace, are planning a 45,000 sqft extension – if you can call that an extension!

The property is grade II listed and has sadly been mostly uninhabited for the last 20 years of its life, home mainly to BBC period dramas. The planned extension will make Witanhurst the largest privately owned property in London, second only to the Queen’s abode!


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The building plans may be fascinating, including an orangery, indoor pool, sauna and hair salon, but the real fascination is who owns this house. The owners have remained anonymous. Despite owning the property for over a year, they  have yet to move in and with the big plans for development, we will be left in suspense for a while longer. According to the Evening Standard, even the architect doesn’t know who the owners are. Let’s hope their tradesmen are Rated!

Another interesting fact is that the owners are not building up or out, but down! Forget a wine cellar, why not a personal gym or a media centre? With limited space, digging down seems like a sensible option. It can often be difficult to get planning permission, this is usually due to how the exterior of the building looks and how additions will affect adjoining houses. Digging down has little or no affect on neighbours or the external appearance of a building, so if you can’t get permission for a typical extension this may be the answer.

The good news is that you can convert most basements. The bad news is that it can cost up to double to dig down, rather than the typical build-out extension, and it will take considerably longer.

Unless you can bare the digging and lack of hot water whilst living in your home, it might be a good idea to have another pad to crash at. Unfortunately, not something most of us have… Oh well it’s nice to dream!

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