Watch: Headington Shark House Airbnb: Owner of tourist attraction banned from letting out his home

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A council row has led to the owner of Oxford's world-famous Headington Shark House being banned from Airbnb

The owner of a world-famous house with a 25ft shark sticking out of the roof has been banned from renting it out on Airbnb.

The quirky property - widely known as the Headington Shark House - has been available as a short-term let on the booking site for the last five years - going for as much as £1k a night during peak times.

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But its owner Magnus Hanson-Heine, who inherited it from his father and its creator Bill Heine, has now been ordered to remove it - as he doesn't have the right planning permission.

Bill installed the shark statue on top of his property in secret without an official permission in 1986 - beginning a six-year planning row with Oxford City Council. Oxford City Council refused retrospective planning permission two years later before the then Secretary of State for the Environment Michael Heseltine intervened to allow it to stay.

Bill died in 2019 aged 74 and son Magnus reignited his late dad's battle with the authorities when he protested against it being added to a list of cultural assets.

And he has now launched a fresh fight after being told it was blocked from Air BnB as he had failed to get permission to change its use from a permanent residence to a temporary one.

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Magnus said he was now appealing the decision with the National Planning Inspectorate and said it would remain open to visitors until this appeal was heard. Over the years the property has also become a tourist attraction in Oxford with visitors coming to see the Jaws-like creature crashing head first through the roof. It also has secured rave reviews from guests with a 4.86 rating.

The listing states the house can sleep up to 10 people with prices for a two-night stay as much as £2k.

Councillor Linda Smith, Oxford City Council's cabinet member for housing said: "Where properties have changed from being residential homes to becoming short let businesses without planning approval, we do take enforcement action. We live in one the least affordable places for housing in the UK. There are nearly 800 properties let out entirely as short lets in Oxford and we need those for people to live in and not as holiday accommodation.'

Oxford City Council has been contacted for a comment.

Magnus previously spoke of his fears that having the home added to a Heritage Asset Register was “a stepping stone” towards getting it listed - meaning more planning controls. Inclusion of a building or place on the register does not place any additional legal requirements on owners.

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But Magnus said he was adamant he did not want it added to Oxford City Council's list of important pieces of heritage. He added: “My father always resisted giving any conclusive answer to the question what was the meaning of it. 'It was designed to make people think for themselves, and decide for themselves what is art. But it was anti-censorship in the form of planning laws specifically."

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