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Town Hall boss faces trial

PUBLISHED: 12:01 06 June 2009 | UPDATED: 10:01 06 July 2010

THE leader of Westminster City Council is due to stand trial accused of making unauthorised alterations to his former £3 Suffolk mansion.

Colin Barrow carried out the alleged renovation work when he owned 330-year-old Darsham House, near Yoxford.

THE leader of Westminster City Council is due to stand trial accused of making unauthorised alterations to his former £3 Suffolk mansion.

Colin Barrow carried out the alleged renovation work when he owned 330-year-old Darsham House, near Yoxford.

The former Suffolk County Councillor, his ex-wife, Angelica Barrow, and the project manager, Elizabeth Wilson-Smith, face nine charges of affecting the architectural or historical interest of the Grade II listed property.

The defendants are accused of affecting the building by installing radiators, removing decorative wall mouldings, carrying out work on a ceiling cornice to insert wiring and replacing floorboards with chipboard and plywood material.

Switches, sockets and mounting boxes were installed in seven rooms and six rooms were re-plastered contrary to planning laws, it is also alleged.

Appearing at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday, the defendants pleaded not guilty to all the charges, which relate to alleged offences between July 1, 2004 and January 30, 2006.

The prosecution has been brought by Suffolk Coastal District Council, which claims the work was undertaken without planning permission.

Colin Barrow stood down as leader of the Conservatives on Suffolk County Council in 2003 and moved to London, where he was elected to Westminster City Council.

In 2004, Barrow, 56, bought the 18-bedroom house - complete with servants' quarters, 60 acres of secluded parkland, a heated swimming pool and a tennis court - from former theatrical agent Sara Low.

Built in 1679, the estate is recognised as one of Suffolk's most outstanding country homes.

Colin Barrow spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on a renovation project after obtaining listed building consent from Suffolk Coastal.

He then sold the property in 2006 before the restoration work had been finished.

Colin Barrow, of Exhibition Road, London, Angelica Barrow, 45, of Vincent Square, London and Wilson-Smith, 48, of Snipes Farm Road, Woodbridge, have been released on unconditional bail.

Their trial has been set for January 11 next year and is expected to last for three weeks.

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