Published: 06:00, 11 January 2021
| Updated: 16:19, 13 January 2021
Paul O'Grady is planning a raft of changes at his country home in Kent - including a new guest house where his celebrity friends could stay.
The TV star wants to knock down a neglected cottage next to his sprawling property in Aldington, near Ashford, to make room for the new building.
He also hopes to improve his blue-painted Knoll Hill home by converting the loft into a sixth bedroom and adding an entrance lobby to "create a sense of arrival" at the house.
O'Grady, 65, has called on award-winning architecture firm Hollaway to work on the plan for his home, which lies within a Site of Specific Scientific Interest and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
It says the cottage earmarked for demolition is in a poor state of disrepair and notes the proposed changes to the main house "are sympathetic to the existing architecture".
The plan includes the removal of five trees to improve the driveway and parking arrangements which are described as "currently restricted and inadequate".
Bosses say landscape alterations have been kept to a minimum, with low-level planters proposed around the planned guest house to "retain the green character of the site".
Described as a modern cottage, the two-storey home will feature a dining and kitchen space, a separate living area and two upstairs bedrooms.
And the Hythe-based Hollaway team, which submitted a planning application to Ashford Borough Council (ABC) just before Christmas, says it has included a bat loft in the design to mitigate the impact on the winged mammals.
In his main property, O'Grady - who keeps farm animals including pigs and goats on his grounds - also hopes to increase the size of the study and kitchen, and add a spiral staircase leading to the proposed sixth bedroom in the existing loft.
The For the Love of Dogs presenter, who hit the big time as his drag alter ego Lily Savage, has lived at the picturesque spot for years and has opened the Aldington fete on several occasions.
When built, the facility will feature an 8ft fitted mirror, kitchenette and sound system as well as a green sedum roof.
The scheme - which also included a separate groundskeeper's outbuilding - was approved in July after a planning application was submitted to ABC in May.
In a 2010 interview, O'Grady revealed how he found a home for fellow comedian Julian Clary in the village, but it is believed the TV funnyman has now moved away.
“It was me who found Julian the house," O'Grady said.
“I knew the couple who lived there and thought 'I know who’ll love this place’.
"I told him and he fell in love with it as soon as he saw it.
"It’s a lovely part of the world to live in. I’ve been here for years and it is very much my home.
"When you do get a couple of days of sunshine in Kent and go for a long walk it’s fab. You feel like you’re on permanent holiday.”
In 2019, comedian Alan Carr hinted he may have moved to Aldington in an appearance on The Jonathan Ross Show.
Last April, O'Grady - who partly filmed ITV show Great British Escape from his home last year - spoke about his experience of having a suspected case of Covid-19.