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Owner Of House With 25 Foot Long Shark Sticking Out Of Roof Is In New Battle With Council

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Owner Of House With 25 Foot Long Shark Sticking Out Of Roof Is In New Battle With Council

A man is fighting Oxford City Council after they announced plans to give his house with a 25ft model shark sticking out of the roof listed status. 

Magnus Hanson-Heine, 34, inherited the whacky house, dubbed ‘Headington Shark’, from his late father, Bill Heine. 

Bill, who died in 2019, installed the bizarre sculpture without permission in 1986, which prompted a lengthy six-year planning row with the authorities who ordered it to be demolished. 

The house has now been featured on a potential list of additions to the Oxford Heritage Asset Register, much to the frustration of Magnus. 

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Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

He believes listed status would defeat the original purpose of the sculpture that his father intended – to ‘protest against planning restrictions and censorship’. 

He said, as per The Mirror: “The nomination forms have been, let's say, lacking in that they do 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. They have not given the option to say no. They have not truly consulted in that sense.” 

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According to the council, inclusion of a building on the register ‘helps to influence planning decisions in a way that conserves and enhances local character’. 

Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS

However, Magnus is adamant his house is not added to the list, as he fears it will be a ‘stepping stone’ towards getting listed on a national basis, which would result in more planning controls. 

The huge shark draws in hundreds of visitors each year, and is also a star attraction on Airbnb

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Magnus, who works as a quantum chemist for Nottingham University, told This Morning today (31 January): “The most important thing is that everyone gets to come and decide for themselves.  

“To see the sculpture and add their own meaning to it on a personal basis. 

“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. 

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy
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“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.” 

A representative of Oxford City Council said: “The Headington Shark was nominated by members of the public to be designated as a heritage asset.  

“The council sent letters of notice of nomination in November to all owners of property that had been nominated so they could share their views as part of the public consultation, whether this be for or against the nomination.  

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“The public consultation closed on 26 January and we will now consider the responses.” 

For more information on the unique townhouse, visit its official website here.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: News, UK News, Weird

Abbi Murray
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