Dumb cluck

When today’s Times [£] runs out of “news” (it’s page 20), Simon de Bruxelles (d’ya want sprouts with that?) gives us:

£150,000 hen house is just chicken feed for millionaire

Do a quick squint around the rest of today’s press, and you have the complete set of plans for this erection:

Let’s break through the Murdoch pay-wall for a peep:

One of Britain’s richest men is building a stately home — for his chickens.

Crispin Odey, a 53-year-old hedge fund manager, ism erecting the Palladian-style hen house at his country estate in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire.

His birds will enjoy the run of a property built from local stone that features stone colonnades and windows made from English oak, topped by a decorative “anthem” design.

The palatial premises were designed by Smallwood Architects based in Chelsea, West London, which is known for designing multimillion-pound dream homes, though usually not for chickens.

The hen-coop will stand 16ft high and cover 775 sq ft, roughly the size of a typical two-bedroom flat.

The £150,000 building will replace a dilapidated warehouse at Eastbach Court, Mr Odey’s Grade II listed home in the village of English Bicknor. Mr Odey, who has a personal fortune estimated at £455 million, hit the headlines when he predicted the credit crunch.

Despite foreseeing the economic collapse, Mr Odey appears to have confidence in the property market, for chickens at least. Since planning permission was granted in 2010 he has applied to make the premises 30 per cent larger than originally planned.

Forest of Dean District Council and his local parish council raised no objections to the structure, which is designed to blend in with the main house and not “mock the nearby listed building’s historic features”. The doors will be painted Hague Blue to “match the doors around Eastbach Court”, according to the plans.

In her report to the planning committee, Anna Welsh, a planning officer, said: “Whilst it could be considered that the design and materials are rather grandiose for its purpose as a chicken shed, it is in keeping with the character and appearance of the listed building.

“It also replaces a concrete block building which was not in keeping with an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The chicken house is an individual and unique structure within the landscape and these materials will ensure that its character and appearance is enhanced.”

Mr Odey runs Odey Asset Management, which controls around £4.5 billion of assets and made £64 million in 2008 by successfully gambling on bank shares falling. Mr Odey was listed as the sixth wealthiest fund manager in The Sunday Times Rich List 2012.

His wife Nichola Pease is a former chief executive of J O Hambro Capital Management and is on the board of Shroders.

But, wait a moment, we’ve met Mr Odey previously!

Before Malcolm Redfellow’s Home Service became so unique, there was also the World Service on Blogspot. There, back in September 2009, we had Malcolm narrating the sad death of Declan Ganley’s Libertas, and his attempt to rescue Ireland from the European Union. The late Brian Lenihan went ballistic when he:

told a press conference in Dublin that “one of the main backers of Mr Declan Ganley, who has lately taken up the cudgels against Lisbon again, is a London-based hedge fund which could hardly be described as being interested in the economic wellbeing of this country.” In fact, “quite a number of these hedge funds have taken out specific bets” on the insolvency of Ireland , Mr Lenihan said.

Lenihan had discovered, from the UK Electoral Commission, Odey had divvied up £3,000 in cash and £13,964 otherwise to Libertas.

Malcolm’s account then went on:

Odey has previous political form:

Hedge-fund Boss Crispin Odey has threatened to move his firm out of Britain to avoid the 50% income-tax rate on high-earners…

“We are seriously considering leaving,” said Odey, who runs the £3 billion Odey Asset Management. “This government is not interested in keeping London alive as a financial centre. Hedge funds are not yet flying but they are fluttering. Everyone is thinking about leaving.”

There’s also the curious business that:

he had added £28million to his personal wealth in a year that his £3billion fund management group had been among those short selling the stocks of failing banks — notably Bradford & Bingley.

It would, of course, be invidious to note that Odey’s wife, another banker, just happened to have been on the board of Northern Rock, with — doubtless — insights into other boardrooms. Odey is co-treasurer of the Tory Party (which may be relevant here), and believes Britain is going to hell in a handcart:

Foreigners have been busy selling gilts and the Bank of England busy buying them. The answer is that if you carry on, that is called Zimbabwean and that is monetisation. Probably we are going to have a visit to the IMF.’

Obviously Mr Odey reckons himself an authority above mere national governments.

But there’s more!

Back in 1st October 2009 Malcolm engaged with the Tory shill, Iain Dale (then running his Iain Dale’s Diary). This was recorded here on the Home Service:

This mid-day Iain Dale set about a Daily Mail style defamation of David Miliband, coupled with a defence of the creepy Kaminzi and the other eastern European allies the Tories have mustered up.

Malcolm deposited the following on the thread, for Iain Dale’s moderation:

In the modern Tory Party, if you speak your mind and are seen to be out of line, you lose your job (consider Alan Duncan);

If you vote with your conscience, because your principles cannot compromise with some very dodgy characters, including Kaminski, you are given the heave-ho (consider Edward McMillan-Scott);

If you donate to political parties standing against Tories — say £13,000 here to Declan Ganley’s Libertas and £25,000 there to George Hargreaves’ theocratic, homophobic, anti-abortion campaign (the “Christian Party”, as of today, had no other policies on its website) — , you are celebrated as a co-treasurer of the Tory Party. Well, Crispin Odey did, and is.

Now, lecture the rest of us on what we should do and what we should say.

No: I’m not calling it hypocrisy. I’m merely saying that in the upper reaches of Toryism, money (£30,000 in Odey’s case) speaks louder than words or votes.

The response was:

Iain Dale said…

Who is Crispin Odey? Never heard of him.

October 01, 2009 3:51 PM

Malcolm replied:

Oh, Iain @ 3:51 PM, do try to keep up to speed.

Crispin Odey is one of the few leading lights in the City who genuinely qualify as a “grandee”. The renowned investment manager and founder of Odey Asset Management, who has just collected an annual performance bonus of almost £28 million, is married to Nichola Pease, the chief executive of JO Hambro Capital Management and part of the dynasty that founded Barclays.

He and his wife are, between them, worth £300 million, according to the Sunday Times Rich List, although that was reduced from £338 million last year.

That’s all from:


As you will see there, and elsewhere (the Daily Mail money pages also like Mr Odey), Ms Pease was an independent director of Northern Rock, into the bargain. He and she are touted as (ahem!) the “Posh and Becks of the City”.

October 01, 2009 4:12 PM

So there was a further example of Mr Odey’s eccentric approach to loose change:

  • First his money, the use and abuse of it was above the law. Irish electoral law is pretty elastic (as recent former Taoiseachs have exploited); but it properly looks askance at imperialistic foreigners muscling in to lobby.
  • Second, how can a Tory co-treasurer (we met another of those in the morally-flexible Peter Cruddas) finance no fewer than three political campaigns — two of which were in direct competition with the Tories?

It all seems pretty fowl stuff.


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Filed under banking, BBC, blogging, Britain, broken society, Conservative family values, Conservative Party policy., Daily Mail, Ed Miliband, Elections, EU referendum, Iain Dale, Irish politics, Law, politics, Private Eye, sleaze., Times, Tories.

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