Malta’s cultural ambassador Francis Sultana is facing a row after erecting an electric fence at an 18th century lodge he recently bought in the UK before getting planning permission.
The London-based interior designer who in 2018 was named cultural ambassador for Malta has submitted plans to the district council for a pair of metal gates in the grade II listed building – once described as ‘the smallest house beautiful in the world.’
However, according to a report in The Timesthe 49-year-old erected the gates before planning permission was granted.
According to the planning proposals, the new gates would be positioned behind the traditional white wooden gates that cover the iconic Jacobean Revival facade of three elaborate gables that made the house famous.
Sultana, who moved into the National Trust property last year, has come under fire from fellow interior designers over the conservation of the famous National Trust hunting lodge in Hampshire.
Odiham lodge, which has been described as one of King Henry VII’s hunting lodges, but which the National Trust believes was built in the 18th century, has become an icon of English country house design under -renowned decorator John Fowler, who moved into the house. in 1947, and Nicky Haslam, who lived there until 2019.
Loud objections have been led by decorator John Tanner, who is encouraging his 27,000 Instagram followers to submit objections to the council about the grades and other features in Sultana’s planning application, including the installation of 14- the security camera and plastic covered fence around the property. .
Several interior designers and members of the National Trust claim the additions would go against the estate’s 18th-century conservation management plan.
But the National Trust plan states that “the nature and general environment of the property is not compromised, in particular the planned environment and views of the house”.
In comments, Sultana described the metal gates as “an acceptable compromise between not obstructing the view of the house while stopping deer entry,” adding, “this is an improvement from ad hoc meshes installed previously .”
The Sultana who was born in Gozo added: “I first fell in love with the hunting lodge when I was a teenager. I understand that not everyone was happy when my lease was announced.
“However, I would like to reassure anyone who loves the house as much as I do that both the National Trust and I have only the house and the garden’s best interests at heart.”