Sheikh angers neighbours at £75m estate with ‘eight staff portacabins’

Billionaire Crown Prince of Dubai angers his neighbours at £75million Surrey estate after ‘installing eight portable buildings for his servants without planning permission’

  • Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Longcross estate at centre of row
  • The 69-year-old is accused of erecting at least eight portacabins to house staff
  • Letter references four recent pagoda-style marquees and ‘considerable’ build
  • The complaint speaks of concern for the monarch existing above the law

The ruler of Dubai is at the centre of a new planning row following claims he installed portacabins on his £75million country estate to house his servants. 

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, 69, has been accused of building the temporary homes on the Longcross estate, near Chobham, Surrey, without planning permission.

A newly submitted letter to planning officials at Runnymede Borough Council claims ‘considerable development’ has taken place on the grounds.

The document, which was submitted by a neighbour, states that a series of portable buildings have been put up in the grounds ‘for staff accommodation’. 

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum is accused of building portacabins for his servants and more recently, dour large pagoda-style marquees at his £75 million Longcross estate near Chobham without planning permission – pictured at Newmarket race course in July 2018

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum with His Wife Princess Haya of Jordan at Ladies Day at Royal Ascot in June 2013

It contains photographs of at least eight portable buildings which were said to have been erected more than a year ago, as well as four pagoda-style marquees set up ‘very recently’. 

The letter, dated May 17, asks why there has been no planning permission for the ‘extensive permanent and semi-permanent residential accommodation modules installed’.

The concerned resident, whose name has been blanked out from the files, wrote: ‘There is no planning permission extant for other considerable development on the Longcross / Liliypond estate in the Flutters Hill Area, namely extensive permanent and apparently semi-permanent residential accommodation modules installed, apparently for staff accommodation, also on the Green Belt.’

‘The permanently installed, portacabin-type accommodation has existed for at least around a year, and the pagoda type is very recent.

‘I am increasingly concerned that there is one planning law for one of the wealthiest men in the World, and quite another for the rest of us.’

It comes just weeks after it surfaced a huge green ‘prison-style’ metal fence was allegedly erected without planning permission to protect himself from members of the public who hurled verbal abuse at his private ‘guards’ and trespassed on the estate grounds.

Retrospective planning applications were submitted to Runnymede Borough Council in December and January, asking for permission to erect the metal fencing.

However neighbours accused the Sheikh of showing ‘cynical disregard’ for planning laws, damaging the environment and putting wildlife at risk.

The ruler of Dubai’s land is covered by an Article 4 Declaration, meaning even minor changes must receive permission from the council.

Billionaire racecourse owner Sheikh Mohammed – who has more than 30 children – is ruler of Dubai and uses his Longcross Estate in Surrey to escape the summer Dubai heat.

Security at the estate is very tight, with perimeter guards, CCTV and an inner security fence.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum at a meeting with Chinese officials in Beijing last month

Last year the Crown Prince erected a fence around his property, asking for retrospective planning permission, claiming that he was being heckled by locals

The Sheikh is best known in Britain for being one of the top racehorse owners and is credited with turning Dubai into one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.

He succeeded his brother in 2006 to become the ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates.

Maktoum’s greatest passion is horse-racing and he is the owner of the Godolphin stables, which has produced some of the leading thoroughbreds in the sport.

Estimated to have a personal fortune of £15billion, in the last 15 years he has transformed Dubai into one of the most modern cities in the world.

His development company submitted a retrospective application for the fence and gates in January, but neighbours say that it is full of ‘false claims’

In January’s planning document, the Sheikh claimed that dog walkers and local trespassed on his property

Maktoum was behind the Palm Islands, the Burj Al-Arab hotel, the Burj Khalifa skyscraper that dominates the skyline of the city.

He also helped start Emirates airlines, sponsors of Arsenal and Paris St Germain football teams.

His first marriage was in 1979 and later wed the daughter of the King of Jordan.

Neither Runnymede Borough Council nor the Government of Dubai responded to requests for comment on Friday.

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