Former Top Gear presenter James May has demolished two homes so that he can build a new luxury £3m ($3,966M) house that will have room for his incredible motorbike and car collection.
The 56-year-old TV star has had to move out of his properties while developers completely rebuild them in a project that will take more than a year to complete.
Nicknamed Captain Slow for his driving style, he has relocated his beloved motors to a garage around the corner from the site in a conservation area in Hammersmith, West London.
May has demolished the house he bought for £325,000 in 2000 and combine it with the semi-derelict property next door, for which he paid £310,000 five years ago, to store his 40 motorbikes plus a Rolls-Royce, limited edition Ferrari 458 Speciale, Porsche 911 and Fiat Panda for running around town.
The new home will be six per cent larger than May's existing property, with an extra floor on the two side wings.
But the star, who has made millions from presenting Amazon's The Grand Tour with Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond, lived up to his Mr Nice Guy image and avoided a bruising battle with his neighbours by constantly including them in the planning process.
One said: 'I couldn't wish for a better neighbour than James. He is a delight and has involved us all at every step of the way.
His next-door-neighbour Cathy Lewis agreed: 'James has been really good and given us lots of information. This will be really good for our street, will be a big improvement on what was there before and the designs are sympathetic to the area.
'We know it will take a long time with a lot of disruption, but so far, the builders have been great. The new house will look fabulous.'
May had planning permission approved in 2016 and has put in a series of amendments since then to ensure residents' views were taken into account and to ensure the new property will fit in with a street where some homes were built in the 1840s.
He is currently in Japan filming a solo travelogue for Amazon called 'Our Man In…Japan'.
May shares the Hammersmith house with his partner, dance critic Sarah Frater.
In 2013, May said he planned to embark on the improvements in order to appease his her. 'The permanent and fragrant presence of Woman demands something a bit better,' he said.
He also admitted he would save himself money as there is no VAT on new-builds.
May's approved plans to the 1950s-home are to change use of one property from commercial use to residential, demolition of the properties to rebuild into one two-storey building with a garage on the ground floor.
The majority of the buildings have now been demolished after work began in October, with builders laying foundations for the rebuild to begin.
He held a consultation meeting with his neighbours in 2015 as he was finalizing the plans in order to appease any concerns they had around being overlooked as the new property has an extra floor on two wings and is six per cent larger all round.
One of the builders said, as a concrete lorry squeezed into the narrow street: 'This is a massive job. It will take more than a year to finish, but we are making good progress. We are trying hard to be nice to the neighbours and James is a delight to work for.'
This article has been adapted from its original source.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.