Dominican Republic told: You can’t use £11m home as embassy

Neighbours in an exclusive London garden square are today set to secure victory in a battle against the Dominican Republic government’s bid to use an £11 million house as its embassy.

Diplomats reportedly moved into the eight-bedroom property, on Gloucester Square, north of Hyde Park, three years ago, but have only now applied for retrospective planning permission to use it as their base.

According to Westminster Council documents, its lawful use is of “a single family dwelling”.

Residents in the square, where three-bedroom flats sell for £4.2 million, urged the council to reject the application as it would set a precedent.

They also say the embassy created parking problems. Dr Allen Zimbler, chair of the Hyde Park Estate Association, said: “We don’t want people to take advantage just because they represent another government.”

Ambassador Federico Alberto Cuello Camilo said he was unaware he needed to apply for a change of use until the Foreign and Commonwealth Office told him.

He said: “As of today, neither my family nor any permanent staff resides in the embassy. The few working do so between 9am and 4pm.

The council indicated I will not be given planning permission, so I am looking for a new place.” 

Mr Camilo rejected claims the embassy caused parking issues, saying most visitors arrive by Tube, and the matter could have been resolved if his neighbours had come for “a cup of Dominican coffee” to raise concerns.

Council planning officers have recommended the bid is refused at a meeting tonight.

Source :