It's not even February, and already news has broken of a celebrity-feud story that is likely to be one of the strangest of 2019. If you weren't already aware, there has been a pretty lengthy dispute going on between Robbie Williams and Jimmy Page, and it's all down to Williams wanting to build a basement complex under his home, according to the Guardian. Page's argument is that, if the construction were to go ahead, the vibrations caused by the excavation could severely damage Tower House, his Grade I-listed home.
This back and forth between the two musicians has been going on since Williams moved into the area in 2013, the BBC reports, but has recently re-surfaced in the public eye thanks to a letter sent by a neighbour to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
According to the letter sender — who signed off as "Johnny" — Williams has allegedly been blasting the likes of Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Pink Floyd via outside speakers whenever Page is at Tower House. Not only that, Williams has also allegedly been donning a wig à la '70s era Robert Plant in an attempt to emulate the Zeppelin frontman. The resident's letter states that the ex-Take That singer stuffed a pillow up his shirt to poke fun at Plant's "beer belly that he has acquired in his older age." I can't believe I just wrote that sentence.
In response, William's spokeswoman has told The Telegraph that these claims were "a complete fabrication and nonsense," so who knows what's actually going down? The only solid facts are that Page is worried for the stability of his home, and Williams really wants that basement.
Page won a delay in planning permission in a meeting last May with the committee of Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council, according to The Telegraph. During the meeting, Page stated:
“My name’s Jimmy Page, but that’s not important. What is important is that I have been the owner of Tower House since 1972. It’s one of only 18 Grade I-listed buildings in the borough. It’s highly vulnerable.” The singer continued: “I feel it’s my duty to protect the house. I really do. It’s very dear to me. It’s under my watch.”
Representatives for Williams responded by saying that "any construction work would fall within stringent regulations and any effects on surrounding properties would be 'negligible,'" the BBC reports.
In December, Williams was given provisional permission to go ahead with his building plans. However, as The Guardian reports, "Councillors will not allow work to commence until they have received assurances about independent monitoring of vibration and ground movement." In addition, Williams may be asked to submit a bond, which will be forfeited if the council's conditions are not met or if damage occurs.
There's a reason why Page cares so deeply about this home; Tower House was built by renowned architect William Burges, and was one of Burges' last works before he passed away in the home three years after it was built. As Matthew Williams, a world expert on Burges, told The Guardian back in July:
"Burges placed as much value on interiors as on the exteriors. Tower House is extraordinary... those amazing mosaic floors which any vibration could impact on. It's one of the great hidden interiors of London. This house is coming from Burges' own soul, his own heart. It's pure, undiluted Burges. Someone [talking about the building works] needs to wake up and realise the importance of this building."
As peculiar as this incident is, hopefully the reported dispute will come to an end soon, and Tower House won't be damaged in the meantime.