Changes made to a £1.5million mansion that has been owned by Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson are the subject of retrospective planning permission.

A retrospective planning application has been lodged with Cornwall Council following alterations made to the listed Stratton House, opposite the Greenbank Hotel, in 2013.

It is not clear from the application whether Mr Wilson owned the house at the time of the alterations, or if he still owns the house in Stratton Terrace now, but the Regency building is still on the market with Lillicrap Chillcott since it was first put up for sale in January 2020 for £1.5m, just before the pandemic struck.

Falmouth Packet:

The basement buttressing as built. Picture CAD Architects

Mr Wilson spent four years and £500,000 restoring the five bedroom mansion and planned to retire there.

But then his career as The Voice judge took off again along with his music career and he used it as a bolt hole to escape from north London. He was often seen running along the sea front each morning.

Falmouth Packet:

The changes made the Snug interior. Picture CAD Architects

He told the Packet in 2018 that he first fell in love with Falmouth when a holiday to Turkey was cancelled because of the Icelandic ash cloud in 2010.

"I came here instead and immediately thought, I could live here. So that's what I did."

The application is looking to grant permission for extra alterations that were not covered in planning permission originally granted in 2013.

Falmouth Packet:

The garage extension, gateway as built. CAD Architects 

These include:

  • Alteration and enhancement of former kitchen extension to form ‘snug’ area in lieu of previously approved replacement extension.
  • Works to the former dining room/kitchen chimney breast to create open plan layout
  • Hard landscaping works (paving) to yard, basement buttresses and driveway
  • Railing details to external basement stair
  • Secret shelving door to library
  • Replacement basement floor slab
  • New driveway gates

In its application the agents CAD Architects say the works have protected Stratton House by doing necessary repairs and securing uses for redundant areas of the building (principally the basement) to prevent them falling into decay.

"These works were completed alongside an extensive high-quality refurbishment which, due to the sympathetic approaches of the applicant and owner, retained far more historic fabric than was originally expected," it says.

"Overall the completed works, including the relatively few but high-impact alterations, have greatly enhanced the atmosphere and functionality of the house and its private garden areas, increasing the enjoyment of the property for its current and future owners with the crucial benefit of incentivising proactive future maintenance for the long term safeguarding of the asset."

Stratton House was originally built in c.1797 as part of the development of the Greenbank area of Falmouth authorised by the area’s major land owners, the Basset Family of Tehidy.

Greenbank Quay opposite Stratton House accommodated much of the shipping traffic from the packet service and free trade industry that helped make Falmouth both prosperous and fashionable during the 18th century.

In his 2005 Cornwall and Scilly Urban Survey report for Falmouth, Graeme Kirkham indicates that Stratton House may be a part of a phase of Falmouth’s history in which one of its major land owners, Francis Basset (b.1757, d.1835) attempted to take financial advantage of the town’s rapidly rising prosperity at the end of the 18th century.

Former owners of the house include:

  • 1830 John Symonds esq
  • 1840 John Symonds: landed proprietor

Rev. J. Symonds: clergyman

  • 1851 John Symonds (snr): landed proprietor
  • 1861 George M. Millett-Davis: merchant & land/fund holder
  • 1871 Henry S. Trethowan: merchant shipbuilder
  • 1881 William M. Grylls: banker & actuary
  • 1891 Henry Penlerick: draper

Edwin Thomas Olver: printer and publisher

  • 1898 Henry Liddicoat: grocer, wine, spirit & ale merchant, former mayor of falmouth
  • 1906 Joseph Grose, J.P: unknown
  • 1909 Mrs H.E.R. Abbey: unknown
  • 1912 Mrs H.E.R. Abbey: unknown
  • 1914 Frederick William Coles: unknown