Damien Hirst is facing increasing pressure from his neighbours in the Cotswolds to renovate his £3 million country pile.
The Turner Prize-winning artist, who shot to fame in the early 90s after his pickled shark piece was exhibited at the Saatchi gallery, bought 124-acre Toddington Manor back in 2005, but has yet to fully restore the property.
The artist, now 56, pledged to renovate it and turn it into a family home and space for his personal art collection.
However, 17 years later, Hirst, who is said to be worth around £282 million, has made little progress and the property is still surrounded by scaffolding and plastic sheeting.
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Artist Damen Hirst, who is said to be worth around £282 million, is under increasing pressure from neighbours to get building work complete on Toodington Manor in the Cotswolds
The manor, which Hirst bought in 2005 for £3 million, sits in 124-acres of land in Toddington, Gloucestershire – but locals aren’t happy at the lack of progress
MailOnline has contacted Damien Hirst for comment.
His furious neighbours will be holding a parish council meeting this week in a bid to see whether they can force him to move ahead with the promised restoration work.
Toddington parish council’s chairman, Nigel Parker, told the Guardian: ‘We want to see what can be done, if anything at all.
‘It is one of the biggest eyesores in the area. People are fed up with it.
‘Damien Hirst has had this property for 17 years now, but it is still clad in scaffolding and tarpaulin, and as far as we can tell there is no restoration in sight.’
Councillor John Evetts, chair of Tewkesbury council’s planning committee, added: ‘I work in restoration and conservation and I think it could cost £50m to restore and still not be finished…It appears he has just abandoned it or got bored with it.’
The 124-acre manor was designed and built by Charles Hanbury-Tracy, for himself, in 1840. By 1894, he was forced to sell it through poverty.
It was bought in the early seventies by retired businessman David Wickens who ran it as a £5,000-a-year school for foreign students.
After the school closed, the building stood empty for 20 years, falling into disrepair.
In 2004, there were plans to turn the manor into a hotel, but local residents waged a campaign to prevent this, and the property was sold to Hirst and his then-partner, Californian designer Maia Norman, a year later.
Hirst shot to fame in the early 90s, after his pickled shark was exhibited at the Saatchi gallery, bringing him notoriety in the art world, which subsequently made him very wealthy
One of Hirst’s most famous pieces – this diamond-encrusted skull – was reportedly sold for around £50 million
However, when the couple, who share three sons, split in 2012, work on the property reportedly started stalling.
Since then, neighbours have spoken out about the manor, which they have branded an ‘eyesore’ and a ‘blight on the countryside’.
In addition, Toddington Manor has been deemed ‘at risk’ by Historic England, which says it wants to ‘encourage the owner’ to continue restoration works.
Speaking about the building in 2018, a spokesman for Hirst’s company, Science Ltd, said: ‘Damien has always recognised that the restoration would be a ‘lifetime’s work’ and due to a number of other projects – including the opening of Newport Street Gallery in London and his Treasures show in Venice – work at Toddington has been on hold.’