Cameron developer pal wants to build 28 luxury homes and use S106 to fund renovation of his derelict manor house “for the public”

David Cameron‘s multimillionaire friend has insisted the money earned from building 28 luxury homes will benefit the public by helping to restore his Grade II-listed manor house in the countryside.

Nicholas Johnston has claimed that despite owning two massive country estates, he doesn’t have the funds to restore his 4,000-acre Great Tew estate in the Cotswold Hills, Oxfordshire.

So the Old Etonian announced he plans to refurbish his manor with profits earned from a proposed £56million ‘world-class car museum’ that includes upmarket holiday lodges, as he says the restoration will be a public service.

The action has angered locals as it is common practice for big-time property tycoons to use a portion of the development funds to bankroll local parks, donate to schools or other initiatives for the community.

Mr Johnston told the [local] paper: ‘It is a very expensive thing to save. There isn’t the revenue from estate activities to allow the restoration of Tew Park.’

He added that if the Oxfordshire council rejects his plans, the hefty cost could fall back on the public, due to the council’s responsibility to protect listed structures, saying: ‘If I don’t have the money to do it … ultimately that falls back on the public purse.’

Mr Johnston is partnering with American billionaire Peter Mullin to build a ‘world-class car museum’ that has 28 holiday homes on site near an WWII airfield.

Mr Mullin is a vintage car enthusiast and owns a Bugatti Atlantic – there are only two in world.

The development on the estate would include a demonstration track and a suite for corporate events, as Mr Johnston claims that only owners who put their luxury cars up for sale will be able to buy a home there.

Kieran Hedigan, project director for the car museum, shot down claims the development was elitist and that Mr Johnston had ulterior motives.

In another fight over the Great Tew estate, involving rights of way access, a judge blasted Mr Johnston and said he would say ‘whatever he thought was most likely to advance his case, without regard to the truth’.

The Great Tew estate has been owned by the Johnston family since the 1960s.

Mr Johnston purchased the entire seaside village of Bantham in Devon for more than £11.5million in 2014 because he felt a sense of ‘freedom and an independence’ there.

He fought off a rival bid from the National Trust to buy the estate – which features a golf course, shop, beach and about 20 homes – and hopes his children will one day take it on as a lifelong project.

5 thoughts on “Cameron developer pal wants to build 28 luxury homes and use S106 to fund renovation of his derelict manor house “for the public”

  1. If Mr Johnston is so concerned about the heritage of his manor house, then he should do as the rest of us do when we do not have the cash to fund repairs to our property which is to take out a bank loan or mortgage or to sell it to someone else at a price which reflects its condition (presumably the National Trust’s offer fits this) and use the money to buy a smaller but well maintained property.

    Using public funds to increase the value of his private property would be extremely inappropriate, as is the attitude of a man who this it is appropriate.


    • Honestly, you might expect a property developer to have a better grasp of the rules of Monopoly than this!!!!


    • One’s grasp of the rules of Monopoly, old fellow, may depend on one’s family background .. i.e whether one was merely taught ‘the rules’ or trained in cheating strategies.


    • But yes – I agree that there are certain parts of our society where the young are trained rigorously that winning is everything, that you should win at all costs, that greed is good, that might is right, that the hoi-polloi(*) don’t matter, indeed that the little people are simply scroungers wanting something for nothing and that they created their own poverty, and that they – the young elite – are destined for power by virtue of their birth, their birthright as it were – and that cheating is not bad, but instead is encouraged.

      According to Game-o-pedia, a game called Monopoliis(+) was designed as a training aid for this small but elitist group of youngsters, a game that mimics the financial realities of real life as their parents believe it should be. There were 11 rules of Monopoliis and all were clearly defined . The first 10 were written down and were straight forward, however the 11th rule was left unwritten – “Noli adepto deprensus (++)” – and this rule was rigorously enforced by their parents through use of corporal punishment.

      A few years later, the elders of this elite group decided that they could make this game serve an entirely different purpose and, by omitting the 11th rule, it became (somewhat ironically) an aid for training the hoi-polloi to their own station in life by ensuring they had vital experience as a child of having others own the majority of property.

      The elite continue to refine the rules for Monopoliis as it is played in real-life using a strategy called “progenies qui erit disrupit(~)” to achieve an end goal they call “racionabilia societatis(~~)” which will allow them to win the game outright. At the time of writing this article, this objective was tantalisingly close.

      (*) Hoi-polloi – literally Greek for “the many” – this phrase was later repurposed by the elites’ sworn enemy Julius Corbynus, though to date it has not had the result he hopes for.


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