It’s the most famous feud in rock music. No, not the Gallagher brother from Oasis. It’s the ongoing feud between Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page and his neighbour, former Take That singer Robbie Williams.
The pair have fallen out over Williams’ ongoing plans to renovate his home. Page has repeatedly complained about the works, and the feud has gotten ugly in recent years, with Williams publicly insulting Page on stage and in interviews. And now the feud has reignited over Williams’ latest plan to expand the size of his basement.
We took a look back to comprehensively track the feud between Page and Williams:
January 21, 2013: Michael Winner died
Jimmy Page’s neighbour, film director and restaurant critic Michael Winner, died on January 21, 2013. He died at his London home, which is the property next door to Page’s main residence Tower House. Winner died after a long illness.
Page and Winner were so friendly that Page even recorded the soundtrack for Winner’s 1982 film “Death Wish II.”
December 2013: Robbie Williams bought the house next door to Jimmy Page
News broke on December 1, 2013 that Page was going to get a new neighbour: Former Take That singer Robbie Williams. Williams reportedly paid £17.5 million for the West London property.
December 2014: Williams applied to renovate his home
The event that kicked off the feud was Williams’ first set of proposed renovations. The Telegraph reported in January 2015 that Williams had filed a proposal with The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to renovate the house to a “contemporary standard of family living”.
Williams’ planned renovations reportedly included changes to the internal layout of the house, changes to the garden, and replacing the roof of the glass studio.
January 2015: Page complained over the plans, and Williams wanted to build a basement
However, Page objected to the planned works. He wrote a letter to The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in which he said that “I am extremely concerned that this work will cause vibrations and possible structural damage with my house”.
Page’s London home, Tower House, is a historic property which was built by architect William Burges and completed in 1881. Page purchased the house for £350,000 in 1972. It’s important to remember the history and significance of Page’s house, as it is a key reason why he objected to Williams’ renovations.
Page said in his complaint that he has “protected” his home for “over forty years” and said that “I am now faced with having to fight a new threat to this precious and unique building.”
But Page was also worried about his privacy. His initial complaint said that “it appears the proposed new window is at a height that will overlook the side of my house as well as the garden at the rear of my property, thus having a significant impact on the amenity of the house and its garden.”
Page went on to say that “I understand that much of the interior was altered (and therefore compromised) by the current owners’ predecessor, I believe most of the exterior of the original building remains intact and should therefore be considered sacrosanct.”
He also invited planning chiefs to his home to “make a full and proper assessment of the situation which gives rise to my concerns”.
It was reported in January 2015 that Williams had submitted another set of plans, this time for a two-storey basement extension that would have measured around 3,600sq/ft and included a swimming pool.
Large basement extensions like this have become common for large homes in West London, although they are often controversial.
Page expressed concern over the basement plans, and he wrote to the local council warning that Williams’ planned excavations could cause “catastrophic” damage to his home. He said that similar works carried out by his other neighbour caused “an alarming level of vibration” and “the fall of dust/debris.”
It was in this proposal that Page won his first minor victory. Williams originally planned to add a new window that Page complained would overlook his property. The new proposal dropped the plan for a new window.
March 2015: Williams withdrew his plans
Williams withdrew all of his renovation plans in March 2015, the same month that The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea was due to rule on the plans.
April 2015: Williams submitted scaled back plans
Williams submitted a fresh set of proposals in April for renovations to his house. This time the proposals were less extreme. The plans for an underground extension with a swimming pool were gone, but Williams still wanted to make substantial changes to the existing property.
Williams reportedly submitted plans to lower the floors of the house and knock down some internal walls. “The proposed alterations have been considered in regard to a holistic programme of contemporary family living that will ensure the long term occupation and appropriate use of the place into the future,” the application read.
Also around this time, Page was photographed peering over the wall of Williams’ garden.
May 2015: Page complained for the third time
But Page still wasn’t happy. He wrote another letter to The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in May 2015 in which he urged the council to refuse Williams’ plans.
Page wrote that he was “re-assured” when Williams withdrew his first two sets of plans, but said that he wanted to object to the new plans because of concerns that they could damage his home.
Page also said he was unhappy with Williams’ plan to demolish the existing garage on his property and build a new one. Page called the planned garage “extremely unfortunate in architectural terms,” which is a very polite way of calling it ugly.
You can see the proposed garage design below:
July 7, 2015: Page lost his battle to stop the renovations
It was bad news for Page on July 7 when the local council gave permission for Williams to carry out the scaled back renovations to his home.
The local council said that Williams’ renovations posed “no harm to Tower House,” Page’s home. “There is no risk of the Tower House being affected by ground movement as a result of the proposed works,” the local council said, citing the analysis of Historic England.
Williams was ordered to install vibration monitoring equipment, and was advised to ask Page for permission to affix vibration monitors to Page’s home.
October 2015: Page complained about the building works
But the feud didn’t stop there. Page hired a firm of architects who complained in October 2015 over Williams’ building works. Page’s architects asked the local council whether Williams’ building works were being carried out properly, according to the council’s decision.
Williams’ Construction Traffic Management Plan, a document which outlines how the building work will take place, was rejected by the local council, but builders were still seen entering Williams’ property, and scaffolding was erected outside.
The local council rejected Williams’ building plan because it “failed to demonstrate that the proposals would be implemented in a manner to ensure highway safety or safeguard the living conditions of occupiers of surrounding properties.”
Page’s architects wrote to the local council, saying “I understand works commenced sometime ago and I would be grateful if you could confirm this does not contravene the conditions of consent for application no PP/15/01845.”
February 2016: Winner’s widow complained about Williams cutting down some trees and street art appeared
Things got more complicated for Williams in February 2016 when Winner’s widow, Geraldine Winner, complained that Williams planned to cut down several of the trees that her husband had planted.
Winner’s widow told The Mail On Sunday that “Michael planted them when they were just a foot high. He loved his garden, and did a lot of work in it.”
Things got even crazier when street artist Fussy Human erected a poster on the gate outside Williams’ home which read “Let me excavate you” and featured photographs of both Page and Williams.
This poster has been put up outside Robbie Williams’ house, next to Jimmy Page’s home (Twitter/jmsvnylrstngplc) pic.twitter.com/Ohqjqx1b3V
— Led Zeppelin News (@LedZepNews) February 14, 2016
— Fussy Human (@fussyhuman) February 14, 2016
June 2016: Page’s neighbours met to talk about the building works
Page’s neighbours supported him in opposing the renovations works, and it was reported in June 2016 that they met to discuss the building work. “We’re all having a meeting about it in June,” one local resident said.
That meeting was prompted by the building works overrunning. The Daily Mail reported that the works should have been completed in February. And the scaffolding permits reportedly expired in April 2016.
Work continued behind schedule, however. Despite the delay, the local council confirmed that Williams still had a permit to continue the building works.
September 2016: Page carried out his own building work, complained about noise levels, and Williams talked about the feud in an interview before mocking Page on stage
Page carried out his own renovations in September 2016 to the outside of his home. The Sun noted that Page’s renovation works included scaffolding company Millennium, which shares a name with one of Williams’ most popular songs.
Williams was interviewed in The Sun in September 2016, and he was asked about the long-running feud between him and Page.
“I won. Did we win? I don’t know if there are any winners, necessarily,” Williams said. “I do know it makes a great story and I’m really pleased, just for me in general for the rest of my life. I’m really pleased it’s Jimmy Page and not Jimmy the accountant.”
“It’s actually Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin and it’s a wonderful story to have in your back pocket – about, you know, the neighbour that doesn’t want to help you out.”
“I don’t think we’re friends, no. I don’t know Jimmy Page. We met briefly a couple of times but it was years ago, in passing, and I was in reverence of the great Jimmy Page. But it’s a great story, for you guys and for me, so everybody wins. Apart from us as a family, who would have liked to have been in 12 months ago but we can’t.”
Meanwhile, on September 11, Page reportedly complained about the noise level of works being done in Williams’ back garden. Williams’ builders were dismantling a shed but used power tools to take it down quicker. That day was a Sunday, though, and there are restrictions on how loud building work can be on Sundays.
And on September 25, 2016, Williams performed at The Roundhouse in London as part of the Apple Music Festival.
During his performance, Williams mocked Page on stage. Led Zeppelin hit “Whole Lotta Love” started playing, and Williams reportedly said “this one is for my next door neighbour,” before repeatedly singing “I’m gonna dig a big hole … and fill it full of shit,” seemingly a reference to Williams’ abandoned plans for a basement extension.
October 10, 2016: Williams finally moved in
Williams finally moved into the house on October 10, 2016, nearly three years after he purchased it. That seemed to suggest that the building works were finally over. Maybe the feud would end too? Well, no, it didn’t.
November 2016: Williams insulted Page during a Facebook Live broadcast
The feud could have ended with Williams moving into his home in October, but a bizarre incident with a Facebook Live broadcast in Italy resulted in Williams publicly calling Page mentally ill.
Williams was interviewed on the Italian radio show Radio Deejay in November 2016. While he was on air, Williams was asked about the feud with Page. “He doesn’t want you to do renovations?” Williams was asked. “He doesn’t want a lot of things to happen,” Williams answered.
The hosts pressed Williams on the feud, asking him if he had beef with Page. “Not from me, not from me,” Williams replied.
Then the hosts asked Williams if Page is “kind of like an asshole.”
“He’s not ‘kind of’,” Williams replied. “No, no, no, let me tell you: Our next door neighbour isn’t happy with us trying to renovate our house and it has caused a problem and it will probably continue to cause a problem. But what is great about this whole thing is it’s Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin, and it’s not Jimmy the accountant from Chelsea so at least we’ve got a good story.”
Williams went on to explain that “we bought this house and it was dilapidated, you know. It needed fresh energy, new love. It just needed a lick of paint and, you know, new stuff to be added, and our next door neighbour sort of decided to concentrate all of his energy on trying to block everything. I think Jimmy is bored. I’m next door now, I’ve got a studio in my house. We could write songs together.”
The hosts then cut to an advertising break. Williams, believing he was off air, continued talking about Page. But what he didn’t realise was that the interview was being broadcast on Facebook Live, and everyone watching on the social network heard what Williams thought was off the record:
“Jimmy has been sitting in his car outside our house with the windows down, four hours at a time with a recording equipment,” Williams reportedly said.
The hosts commented that Page must have some high-end recording equipment. “Yeah, you would think,” Williams said. “He’s recording the workmen to see if they’re making too much noise. And also two weeks ago, the builders came in and he was asleep in his garden, waiting. Honestly, it’s like a mental illness. Like, concentration.”
The radio hosts then asked Williams who lived in the property before. “A director called Michael Winner. He did … Death Wish. He did the Death Wish films,” Williams said. “It’s really strange. At first it’s like, ‘Fuck, nooo!’ because it has taken so long – four years. But now it’s like, ‘What are you hiding? Is there something you’re hiding?’ So, so weird.”
After the interview ended, either Williams or the radio station realised what had happened. Both the Facebook Live broadcast and the online broadcast of the interview on the station’s website were deleted shortly after broadcast.
Also in November 2016, Winner’s widow gave her blessing to the renovation works that Williams had carried out. She had publicly opposed the changes, but now she backed Williams.
Robbie and Ayda have made Melbury Road into a dream…the house and garden…thank you, thank you
I know Michael would have loved their view
— Michael Winner (@MrMichaelWinner) November 12, 2016
December 2016: Williams said Page was ‘more than a tit’
Williams was again asked about the feud in an interview with The Radio Times that was published in December 2016.
The interviewer mentioned Williams’ comments that were broadcast on Facebook Live the previous month. Williams said the incident was “ embarrassing,” and winced. “Because I’m a people-pleaser. And even though [Page’s] been more than a tit, I feel as though I’ve done something wrong. But at least he knows!”
April 2017: Williams submitted a new proposal for a shed on stilts in his garden
It looked like the feud between Page and Williams could restart when Williams submitted a proposal to build a modern outhouse in his garden.
The planning application was for a modern outhouse on stilts which would likely be visible from Page’s house.
The planning application showed that the proposed outhouse is modern in style. The application said it “is designed to provide a relaxation play space amongst the woodland setting. It is whimsical in its composition and incidental in its setting.”
The last time Williams submitted plans for an outbuilding was in April 2015 when he wanted to demolish and rebuild his garage. That prompted a stern letter from Page in May 2015 which called the proposed garage “extremely unfortunate in architectural terms”. But Page lost that battle and the renovation works went ahead.
May 3, 2017: Williams’ builders were fined £3,000 after a complaint by Page
The Evening Standard reported that Williams’ building form, CC Construction Ltd, was fined £3,000 on May 3 after Page complained on September 11, 2016 over noise levels. The builders had been dismantling a shed in Williams’ back garden on a Sunday, but they reportedly used power tools to get the job done quicker. There are restrictions over how much noise building works can make on Sundays, and Page complained that the builders were too loud.
The company was reportedly fined £3,000 and was also ordered to pay £1,500 in costs and a £170 victim surcharge.
May 21, 2017: Page didn’t object to Williams’ latest proposal
The deadline for objections to Williams’ proposed outbuilding came and went and there were no signs of a letter from Page.
LedZepNews contacted The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, who told us that “we have received four objections to the planning application PP/17/02365 which are available to view on our website. The author of the comments and their postal address are published to the website. None of the objections we have received are from Mr Page.”
June 27, 2017: Williams issued a public apology to Page
On June 27, Williams’ representatives contacted entertainment websites and newspapers with an apology to Page over Williams’ remarks that were broadcast on the Facebook Live stream.
Here’s the full statement:
“I would like to offer my sincere apologies to Jimmy Page, my neighbour, for my comments made before Christmas about him in relation to my recent building works, in which I likened alleged behaviour on his part to suffering from a mental illness. Jimmy Page has explained to me that certain specific factual assertions which I made were in fact not true and I am happy to accept what Jimmy Page says. I understand why Jimmy Page will have found my comments offensive and I apologise for any hurt that they have caused him and his family as a result. I did not intend my comments – which, so far as I am concerned, were made privately – ever to be published. I regret that the press went on to report them and I hope that the press will now remove them.”
August 10, 2017: Page’s lawyers announced he had reached a ‘confidential’ settlement with Williams
A law firm working for Page contacted British newspapers on August 10 to inform them that Page and Williams had reached a “confidential” settlement. The email from Page’s lawyers also included Williams’ full apology that he made in June.
February 2018: Page restarted the feud with a letter and gave a tour of his home to surveyors
Page restarted his feud with Williams on February 19, 2018 when he wrote to the local council in objection to Williams’ latest planned basement excavation.
Page wrote another strongly worded letter about Williams’ latest planning application. “The latest proposal for 31 Melbury Road [Williams’ house],” Page wrote, “seeks to create a new basement below the existing garden. I understand this will be to an overall depth of just under 8 metres from ground level, with much deeper excavation for the supporting pile foundations, which appear to contravene the council’s policy guidance that such basement development should not comprise more than a single storey.”
Page went on to call Williams’ latest plans “excessive” and said the consequences on his home could be “catastrophic.” He also expressed concern that Williams’ plan would involve removing trees from his garden, which Page’s house overlooks.
Page also included two new letters from experts with his own objection: One from a conservation architect, and another from a conservation engineer.
And on February 28, Page gave a tour of his home to surveyors hired by the local council. “Mr Page pointed out features and decorations of the Tower House that he considered fragile and some cracks evident in the hall and on archways on the upper floor,” the surveyors wrote.
March 21, 2018: Robbie Williams’ property consultants responded to Page’s letter
Robbie Williams hired property consultants Gerald Eve, who wrote a letter to the local council on his behalf and disputed various parts of Page’s February letter.
Gerald Eve did research on Page’s home, Tower House, and dug out an old quote from architect Norman Shaw, who said that Tower House was supported on “beds of concrete that are too astonishing.” It also quoted Shaw as likening Page’s home to a “fortress.”
Gerald Eve went on to dispute Page’s claim that his home would be affected by Williams’ planned basement, with the company saying that the building survived the Second World War bombing and reconstruction work that took place nearby.
The consultants admitted that Williams’ basement plans would involve removing some trees, but they said that they would plant new ones, and “in doing so will enhance the privacy of the private gardens of both the site and neighbouring Tower House in the longer-term.”
The consultants then rebutted several points of Page’s letter, including his claim that the height of the planned basement broke planning regulations.
April 2018: Williams’ outbuilding was approved, both Page and Williams were ‘hounded by vicious peacocks,’ and Williams rented out his London house
Williams’ application to build an outbuilding in his garden was approved by the local council on April 25. Page never objected to that application, however.
The Sun reported on April 29 that “vicious” peacocks were regularly escaping from nearby Holland Park and causing damage outside Page and Williams’ houses. “The birds then viciously peck the luxury vehicles, including Robbie’s 4×4 BMW, causing thousands of pounds of damage,” The Sun reported.
One anonymous local resident told The Sun that “these peacocks are an absolute nightmare. They have started attacking our cars because they’re attracted to their reflections. They tend to attack the black or navy blue ones because they can see themselves more easily.
“I saw one repeatedly bashing a £130,000 Lamborghini with his beak, which I tried to shoo away.
“I complained to the council but they say there is nothing they can do. These peacocks may look beautiful but they are a real menace.”
The Sun suggested that the peacocks were escaping through a side gate into the park. A spokesperson for the local council confirmed the report and said in a statement that “peacocks are large birds that are prone to wander. From time to time we receive calls about them straying from the park.”
Also on April 29, The Times reported that Williams had moved out of his London home and was renting it out for up to £40,000 a week.
May 2018: The local council provisionally approved Williams’ basement proposal
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea produced a report in May about Williams’ basement application which suggested that the Planning Applications Committee approve the proposal in a meeting on May 29.
The report noted Page’s objections but said that “the proposals would preserve the heritage significance of the listed building, and the neighbouring listed building (the Tower House).”