01 May 2014 by John Hall
Brian May, 66, said some of his neighbours had ‘declared war’ on his family
Claimed parts of upmarket Kensington were being ruined by building work
May particularly dislikes piling rigs – calling them ‘an instrument of torture’
Construction rant appeared on the ‘Bri’s Soapbox’ section of his website
Queen guitarist Brian May has accused his neighbours of turning upmarket Kensington into a ‘hellhole’ with their constant building works. The musician, 66, branded residents of the west London suburb ‘selfish’, and said they had ‘declared war’ on his family through constant construction work in his once ‘nice quiet decent’ neighbourhood.
Writing on the ‘Bri’s Soapbox’ section of his own website, May said he regularly lost sleep and could no longer enjoy sitting in his garden thanks to noise from the machines used by builders.
May seemed particularly put-out by the presence in his neighborhood of piling rigs, which he described as ‘an instrument of torture’. He said his life has been dominated by the ‘infernal machines’ over the last four months, leaving him unable to find anywhere in his home to escape the noise, despite some of the rooms being triple-glazed.
‘Whom would a peaceful person like myself fantasise about making suffer? Well that would be the people who have passed sentence on me without me having committed a crime – the people who have declared war on me and my family, to whom I had done no harm,’ May wrote on his website about the noise. ‘The builders, of course, are only doing their job, and, though it would be nice if they acted in a considerate manner, it’s the owners of the property who are the ones who are really guilty of this of this monstrous invasion of my life,” he added. “These people decided that they’d increase the value of their house by building a basement which is the whole area of the garden, and two stories deep,'”May went on to say.
He was referring to the common practice of building large basement conversions in properties in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea – a type of construction the local council are under pressure from long-term residents to reduce.
Some of these structures are so big that they are known as ‘megabasements’, with several floors extending beneath both the existing property and the garden. This often leaves the homes with even more floorspace below ground than above.
May described local building rules ‘nonsensical’ and called for a complete reform of the planning permission system. ‘Kensington used to be a nice quiet decent place to live… now it’s becoming a hellhole,’ he said. May also warned that the relentless noise could have a serious affect on his family’s physical well-being.
Famous friends: Earlier this week Brian May was joined by Roger Daltrey )and Bill Wyman at the unveiling of new mural by Sgt Pepper LP sleeve artist Sir Peter Blake
‘We are stressed, angry, constantly irritated, and wracked by feelings of powerlessness – this is exactly the kind of long-term stress that causes damage to health,’ he said. May said he is concerned that he may have to leave Kensington if the noise continues and urged locals to rally together and launch a joint legal action against those building basement conversions.
‘Perhaps if we all value our peace and quiet at a million pounds, and we all sue the b******** at the same time… they might think twice about behaving like this again. This is an appeal for help… time to take action,’ he added.