Property company owned by United Arab Emirates leader bars roof garden at £6m home, claiming it owns airspace above it
: Dafydd Jones
A businesswoman is taking on the president of the United Arab Emirates after his property firm barred her from building a roof garden at her £6 million home, claiming it owns the airspace above her property.
Anna Sosnowska won planning consent from Westminster City Council to create a rooftop garden room and terrace at her Mayfair house.
But when she sought permission from the freeholders, a company ultimately owned by the private department of the president of the UAE, this was refused.
Berkeley Square Holdings Ltd claims that it owns the airspace above her property, and that since she is not entitled to build into it, her scheme cannot go ahead.
Ms Sosnowska is now going to the High Court to obtain a declaration that the roof and airspace above her house in Bruton Place are part of the property she leased in 2018.
Lease runs until June 2208 at a rent of one peppercorn a year
The businesswoman, who also has a home in Jersey and is a director of an organic dairy farm and a game shooting operation in Devon, took the lease of the five-bedroom house in 2018, paying £6.1 million for the ground and upper floors. The lease runs until June 2208 at a rent of one peppercorn a year.
She argues that the basic proposition of land law is that the owner of the land surface is also entitled to the airspace above it, with the landlord only entitled to access the roof and airspace to look at the physical condition of the property or to repair service conduits.
But solicitors for Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the UAE president, have argued that the airspace is not part of her house, and that she is not entitled to build into it. His representatives say the president will not consider an application for consent for her to build the garden and terrace.
Ms Sosnowska, 57, is now asking the High Court to declare that the roof and airspace above are part of her home, under a lease made in March 2016, which now relates to her and that she is entitled to use the airspace above her home to build the rooftop garden room, terrace and a lift.
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