Millionaire British property developer Patrick Diter and his wife Monica wanted to buy a villa in Tuscany. Instead, the couple ended up building their own sprawling £48 million villa in Grasse in the south of France. The mansion, which can accommodate up to 36 people, is said to have hosted massive, noisy parties that led to complaints from neighbours. The approximately 32,000-square-foot mansion, nicknamed ‘Château Diter,’ includes 18 suites, two helipads, a swimming pool, and well-kept gardens. But it may not be around for much longer.
France's highest court has upheld a 2019 ruling that Château Diter was built illegally and ordered Patrick Diter to demolish it within 18 months, reports Airmail. The court also reportedly fined Patrick Diter £400,000 and announced that he would be charged an additional £436 per day if the property is not demolished by June 2022.
Patrick Diter has been fighting for years to keep his sumptuous property, and the fines keep piling up. In March 2019, the Aix-en-Provence Court of Appeal ruled that the château had been built without permission in a protected forest area, The Guardian reported at the time. The court ordered Patrick Diter to demolish it within 18 months or pay a fine of £164,000 and an additional £410 per day for each day the property remained standing after the deadline.
Patrick Diter admitted having forgotten to apply for a building permit for the property
But almost two years later, the British developer is still not ready to concede defeat. Patrick Diter's lawyer Philippe Soussi said, according to Airmail:
This decision is not the epilogue to this case. The very idea of demolishing Diter Castle, which is an architectural masterpiece, is unimaginable and senseless. We are going to fight to avoid that.
Soussi ‘hinted’ that he and Patrick Diter would take the case to the European Court of Human Rights, according to Airmail. Grasse city councillor Paul Euzière told Airmail
It's ridiculous. Nobody violated Patrick Diter's human rights. His rights have been taken into account at every step of this legal journey.
Patrick Diter built this property between 2000 and 2011. In 2009, a group of neighbours sued him, claiming that ‘the construction frenzy has to stop,’ according to the Daily Mail. Neighbours have complained about noise on the property over the years and once received about £36,000 in damages after the mansion was rented out for film productions and weddings.
A sound system with 132 speakers
Parties at the property sometimes attracted 2,000 guests who came and went by car and helicopter. The property is said to be equipped with a sound system with 132 speakers spread throughout the estate.
During the 2016 and 2017 hearings, Patrick Diter admitted that he forgot to apply for a building permit for the château and ignored the injunctions to stop construction. Patrick Diter and his wife live in the villa, but they also rent it out as a boutique hotel, which earned the villa a feature in the Boutique Hotel Awards.
This opulent estate can accommodate up to 36 people and has several lounges, a library, a 15th-century fireplace, a cellar with a wine tasting room, and a kitchen overlooking the Italian garden.
Patrick Diter and his lawyer did not immediately respond to requests for comments on this matter.