Son of legendary shark house creator furious at councils plans for home

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The son of a man who installed a massive shark diving into the top of his house as a protest against planning restrictions is furious at plans to make it a "listed building".

Bill Heine installed the statue on top of his property in complete secret without an official say so in 1986 – which began a long six-year planning row with Oxford City Council.

The abode became known as the "shark house" before his death in 2019.

Bill's son Magnus Hanson-Heine, 34, has now reignited the flames of his late dad's battle with the authorities, the Mirror reports.

Residents were asked by Oxford City Council to comment on 17 potential new additions to the Oxford Heritage Asset Register.

One of those proposed sites include the famed shark house which brings hundreds of visitors each year.

Inclusion of a building on the register "helps to influence planning decisions in a way that conserves and enhances local character".

But Magnus claims he is adamant that he does not want it added to Oxford City Council's list of important pieces of heritage.

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He said he had fears it would be a "stepping stone" towards the building getting listed on a national basis, which means more planning controls.

If this happened he claimed it would go against the original reason the structure was installed, which was to "protest against planning restrictions and censorship".

The house is now a star attraction on Airbnb and was inherited by Mr Hanson-Heine in 2016.

Magnus, a quantum chemist, said: "My father always resisted giving any conclusive answer to the question what was the meaning of it, as it was designed to make people think for themselves, and decide for themselves what is art.

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"But it was anti the bombing of Tripoli by the Americans, anti-nuclear proliferation, anti-censorship in the form of planning laws specifically.

"I see what they are trying to do and I'm sure it's very well-intentioned. But they don't view it now as what it is.

"You grow up with these things, they become part of the scenery and you lose focus of what they mean."

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Magnus claims the consultation form asking for responses did "not really provide an option to object to the listing for listing's sake".

"They ask questions like 'do you think it adds value to the area' which most people would say, yes it does," he said.

"They have not given the option to say no. They have not truly consulted in that sense."

The consultation ended on January 26 after the deadline was extended from December. A decision will then be taken as to whether the nominations should be added to the register.

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