New owners of Cilla Black’s £3.8m country mansion have latest plans to revamp the star’s swimming pool blocked after neighbours complain

  • Damian Gully and Cecilia Elrin have carried out number of redevelopments  
  • Couple say the projects are in the style of the existing house in Buckinghamshire 
  • They have demolished the playroom, conservatory and two chimneys 

The new owners of Cilla Black’s former countryside mansion have had their latest plans to redevelop the star’s swimming pool blocked.

A couple bought the iconic singer’s eight-bedroom Buckinghamshire pad for £3.8million after Cilla died aged 72 in 2015.

Damian Gully and Cecilia Elrin snapped up the sprawling 17-acre estate with an offer £550,0000 below the asking price, according to the Land Registry documents.

The new owners have carried out a number of redevelopment projects on Cilla’s home of 45 years in Denham, Buckinghamshire, which they say are ‘in the style of the existing house’.

A couple bought the iconic singer’s eight-bedroom Buckinghamshire pad for £3.8million after Cilla died aged 72 in 2015

Damian Gully and Cecilia Elrin snapped up the sprawling 17-acre estate with an offer £550,0000 below the asking price, according to the Land Registry documents

They have demolished the playroom, conservatory and two chimneys, replacing them with a two-storey extension and a single floor side extension.

However their latest proposal – to revamp Cilla’s dated swimming pool and pool house – has been slapped down by Buckinghamshire County Council.

In the new owners’ design statement – which lists Ms Elrin as the applicant – they claim the pool is out of date and needs renovating.

They have applied to demolish the detached pool building – which was built by Cilla around 1980 – and replace it with a slightly larger pool house.

The design statement says: ‘The existing pool building is a brick-built structure with a structural plywood portal frame internally.

Pictured: Cilla Black and her husband Bobby Willis at their home in 1992


The new owners have carried out a number of redevelopment projects on Cilla’s home of 45 years in Denham, Buckinghamshire, which they say are ‘in the style of the existing house’

‘It is estimated to be around 35 years old and we have been advised by the client’s pool specialist that the anticipated life of such a structure is circa 25 years.

‘As such the building is due to be replaced.

‘The proposal is to retain and refurbish the pool itself and replace the building around it, the proposed new building is therefore in the same location as the existing.

‘Modern requirements for the pool plant require a larger plant room than before, and our proposal is to also upgrade the changing rooms and storeman and introduce a little more sitting area internally.

The new owners have carried out a number of redevelopment projects on Cilla’s home of 45 years in Denham, Buckinghamshire, which they say are ‘in the style of the existing house’

‘The proposed new building is therefore slightly larger than the existing.’

The designers, Jane Duncan Architects + Interiors, say the design is ‘sympathetic to the original house’.

However earlier this year Buckinghamshire Council refused permission for the pool plans.

It said the new building was too large for the Green Belt – where Cilla’s former mansion is located – and there was an admin error in the application.

The designers, Jane Duncan Architects + Interiors, say the design is ‘sympathetic to the original house’

Steve Bambrick, the service director of planning and environment, said: ‘The proposed replacement outbuilding would be materially larger than the existing outbuilding on the site and therefore would be considered as inappropriate development, which by definition is harmful to the Green Belt.

‘By virtue of the design, form, size and scale, especially in considering the increased bulk present as a result of the raised eaves and the increase in floor space, the proposed replacement outbuilding would have a greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt than the existing outbuilding in situ.

‘The proposed replacement outbuilding would contribute to the erosion of the Green Belt which would detrimentally affect the aims and objectives of the Green Belt.

However earlier this year Buckinghamshire Council refused permission for the pool plans. It said the new building was too large for the Green Belt – where Cilla’s former mansion is located – and there was an admin error in the application

‘The proposal therefore does not fall within any of the categories of specified exceptions for development within the Green Belt and as such, the proposed development constitutes inappropriate development in the Green Belt which by definition is harmful to

the Green Belt.

‘No very special circumstances exist in this case sufficient to warrant an exception to Green Belt policy.’

He also added that the ‘incorrect application type has been submitted and the proposal does not meet the relevant criteria for assessment’.

It is unknown if the couple are going to appeal the decision.

Cilla bought the property with husband Bobby Willis in 1970 – and they brought up their three sons Robert, Ben and Jack there.

Steve Bambrick, the service director of planning and environment, said: ‘The proposed replacement outbuilding would be materially larger than the existing outbuilding on the site and therefore would be considered as inappropriate development, which by definition is harmful to the Green Belt’

The plush mansion is set in a sprawling 17-acre estate near the affluent commuter belt village of Denham, which is just 17 miles from London.

James Bond actor Roger Moore was neighbours with Cilla from 1970 to 1978, during which time he shot Live And Let Die, The Man With The Golden Gun and The Spy Who Loved Me.

The luxurious pad boasts a putting green, indoor pool, tennis court, eight bedrooms and five bathrooms.

There is also a detached cottage within the property, which is believed to have been used by Cilla’s housekeeper of 30 years Penny Walker.

The telly star died at her holiday house in Estepona, on Spain’s Costa Del Sol, when she had a stroke and hit her head while sunbathing.

Her sons put the house on the market in 2015.

The mansion in rural Buckinghamshire was a far cry from her humble beginnings in Liverpool, where she grew up in a flat above a barber’s shop. 

Pictured: Proposed plans for the swimming pool area 

She shot to fame in 1964 with Anyone Who Had A Heart and was at one stage the biggest-selling UK female artist of the Sixties, shifting 100,000 records a day.

Cilla was best pals with the Beatles, and the Fab Four championed her at the start of her career.

She also was a TV star, presenting prime-time shows Blind Date and Surprise, Surprise.

With her hard-earned cash, she bought her parents a detached home in the affluent Liverpool suburb of Woolton.

When she died, Cilla was worth £18 million and owned a portfolio of luxurious properties around the world – from the Caribbean to the Costa del Sol.

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