There is already a hot tub, indoor swimming pool, four-room treehouse and orangery, and, but for the neighbours there would also be an outdoor sauna and a 16ft pub sign dedicated to his wife and an Anglo-Saxon style chapel that had been due to serve as a wedding venue.
“Sheeranville”, a £1.5 million estate in Framlingham, Suffolk has, according to popular media, pitted local lad and international superstar Ed Sheeran against the good citizens of his home town, but is that the reality?
The media line has been, in simple terms, Sheeran and his wife, Cherry Seaborn, embroiled in planning battles against their neighbours, but inquiries by The Times suggest a different story.
Christopher Hudson, a County Councillor thinks there is a “generational thing” and that “you’ve got one or two nimbys on the loose”.
He says “He’s a young man who’s made a fortune and kept it as local as he can, and that little green-eyed monster flies out-jealousy. He may have infringed planning rights but cut him a bit of slack. He is putting social capital into Fram through his charities and I’m applauding that”
“To think he’s floating around a little place like this is good. It’s not like he’s deserted and jumped ship out to some tax haven”.
Nick, who shares a garden wall with Sheeran, said that there was a great deal of local affection for Sheeran but a small number of residents had been upset by his planning applications.
Referring to plans to build a chapel on the site, Nick said, “I know a few of the people along here have been disgruntled. It’s not really affecting us. He pops around at Christmas with a card and a bottle of wine. He’s decent”.
Sean Pearce, another neighbour, said “I don’t know what people are complaining about. He does a lot of good for this community.”
Framlingham, population 3,342, achieved global fame when Sheeran released Castle on the Hill in 2017, a paean to the town. He has donated clothing, toys and a lifesized Lego model of his head to raise money for the local St Elizabeth Hospice.
This week, the local planning authority, East Suffolk District Council, ordered Sheeran to remove the pub sign and the sauna or seek planning permission for them. Last year a planning application for the erection of a chapel where Sheeran planned to marry his childhood sweetheart, Cherry Seaborn, was rejected by the Council.
At the time the planning application for the chapel was submitted a neighbour, Sharon Jest, said, “Over the last few years there has been and continues to be significant development on this site. As neighbours we have been accepting of this and the disruption it has caused but feel enough is enough.”
Others wrote complaints about a £500,000 pond – an outdoor pool that has a jetty and two sets of steps with handrails going into the water-which Sheeran claims is for wildlife. However, Kenny and Carol Cattee said “the so-called wildlife pond would now appear to be more like a swimming pool, which is somewhat different to the letter of application received [by the Council].”
Many of the locals appreciate the singer’s down to earth manner.
His favourite pub is said to be the Station Hotel where barman Adam Phipps said Sheeran is most likely to be found in the snug catching up with friends. “He keeps himself to himself. You wouldn’t even know he was here” said Mr Phipps.
Resident Brian Affleck pointed out the ultimate sign that the star has stuck to his roots: “He still has to queue for his pint”.
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