Raheem Sterling has paid £2.3million for a plot of land owned by King Charles – and is building a sprawling £7million luxury mansion on it, MailOnline can reveal.
The England star snapped up the desirable 3.5-acre plot owned by the Crown Estate in Ascot, Berkshire, a short drive from his club Chelsea’s Cobham training base.
Because the land is owned by the Crown Estate, which holds and manages ‘hereditary possessions’ of the Monarch, Charles will effectively be Sterling’s landlord, to whom the millionaire footballer will have to pay a yearly rent.
Building work on the star’s new five bedroom home is now well underway after he knocked down an existing house and outbuildings on the site.
Aerial images reveal what appears to be a spectacular pool or water feature taking shape on a terrace at the rear of the palatial home with steps leading to the planned garden beyond, although it currently resembles a mud bath.
Sterling’s spectacular new home, expected to command a value of around £7m when completed, is surrounded by woodland and will have a huge basement including an underground swimming pool and a two lane bowling alley.
The England footballer acquired the leasehold of the land in May, 2021, land registry records show. It had been on the market for £2.495m, but Sterling apparently managed to negotiate a £195,000 discount before completing.
The leasehold arrangement means Sterling will have to pay an annual ground rent to the Crown Estate which retains the freehold of the land. The lease has 141 years left to run. When it expires in the year 2164, the mansion’s then owner would need to negotiate a new deal.
The amount that Sterling has to pay in ground rent has not been disclosed, but one property expert told MailOnline that it was likely to be a few hundred pounds a year.
The expert said: ‘Some people might think it unusual for someone as wealthy as Sterling to buy a property on leasehold where they never actually own the freehold of the land.
‘It is more common for flats to be owned on leasehold, but there is nothing to stop leases being applied to any type property. There are large area of London where the majority of homes are leasehold.
‘Sterling will still have significant rights as the leaseholder. It is just that he will never completely own the land.
‘He will obviously not be around when the lease expires in 141 years time, but the law states that whoever owns it at that point will be able to extend it. They will be able to pay to buy a new lease.
‘How much that would be would be a matter of debate. The existing lease he has may well have conditions in it about how much it will cost to renew taking into account inflation.’
The leasehold is thought to have been sold to Sterling by an intermediary, a property development company, which itself had bought it in 2015 for a reported £1.85m – but then resold it without developing.
Planning consent to demolish the house which used to stand on the plot, and replace it with a new build was granted later in 2015.
The plans for the new house were amended in 2017 to incorporate a basement area with a squash court, gym, swimming pool and a basement car park with room for ten cars.
Council bosses approved one set of plans in July last year, but after a rethink Sterling submitted a completely new set of plans for the interior in December.
The new plans which were approved by the local council in January appear to have slightly scaled back the size of the building, giving it five bedrooms instead of six.
They give the house a central curved staircase around a lift with an open plan kitchen and dining room as well as a family area on the ground floor which also features a drawing room and a study.
Under Sterling’s new design, the first floor has a smaller terrace and four en suite bedrooms, one of them including a sitting area, and all of them with dressing areas.
The second floor has a grand master bedroom, with a large en suite bathroom and a dressing room. There is also a lounge on the second floor with windows opening up to a terrace.
The basement features a crescent-shaped swimming pool overlooked by a bar area and a small sauna and steam room.
The area which used to feature a gym and entertainment zone has open plan seating and a central bar featuring an ‘aquarium’ beside a bowling alley with two lanes.
There is a cinema and a ‘hydraulic car lift display’ which would appear to be designed to give visitors the chance to look over one of his prize motors.
The plans for the house also still feature a separate garage building with living accommodation above, potentially suitable for a member of staff.
Pictures show that teams of builders are still working on the new property with a number of construction vehicles including a large crane, a digger and two dumper trucks on the site along with seven portable buildings.
Steps can be seen leading to a sunken garden area which could potentially be big enough for a small football pitch.
But for now the grounds of the house resemble a boggy wasteland as no landscaping work has yet taken place.
Sterling who has been playing for England’s senior squad since 2012 reportedly currently lives with fiance Paige Milian, 27, and their two sons at a £6million gated mansion in Leatherhead, Surrey. He also has a daughter from a previous relationship.
His home in Surrey was burgled during the World Cup in Qatar last year, prompting him to return home to comfort his family before re-joining the England squad.
The footballer and his partner Paige are no strangers to property investment and jointly own their own development company, called Milian Property Group Ltd.
Companies House records reveal the company had fixed assets of more than £2m in 2021, although its accounts up until March last year are more than three months overdue meaning it has been served with a notice of a compulsory strike off.
Paige revealed on Instagram in 2019 how she and Stirling had added six brand new properties in a run down area of Stockport, Greater Manchester, to rent out as part of their portfolio.
As his new build property is part of the Crown Estate, the freehold is deemed to belong to King Charles for the duration of his reign after he inherited it from his mother, the Queen, following her death.
But as it is held in ownership by the Crown Estate, the King cannot sell it and any revenues from the land go straight to the Treasury in exchange for the Sovereign Grant which maintains the Royal family.
The Crown Estate currently owns property worth £15.6bn including 241 properties in central London. It has extensive landholdings in the Ascot and Windsor area including the freehold of Ascot racecourse.