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Schumacher abandons housing plans

Schumacher waved good-bye to his new his luxury villa in eastern Switzerland

(Keystone Archive)

German motor racing star Michael Schumacher has dropped his plans to build a luxury villa in eastern Switzerland.

The four-time Formula One world champion abandoned his plans to move to the Appenzeller village of Wolfhalden after having been rejected by the national authorities.

According to a Mario Pighi, head of the local council, Schumacher did not want to put his family through a long decision process, which could have held up his planning permission for years.

Schumacher had planned to build a luxury home on a 17-hectare site in Wolfhalden, which included a traditional Appenzeller farmhouse, a swimming pool and stables.

Environmental groups, including the Foundation for the Protection of Swiss Landscapes and the non-profit conservation group Pro Natura, opposed the plans, which contravened local zoning regulations.

Questionable behaviour

The local authorities, which backed Schumacher's housing plans, said they did not understand the "questionable behaviour" of some environmentalists and claimed the project would have perfectly combined urban culture with natural surroundings.

A statement released by Schumacher's lawyer, Peter Münch, said "it was a difficult decision to give up as the family received a lot of support and encouragement", however, a long-winded process would not have been unbearable.

Schumacher and his family will remain in their home in French-speaking west Switzerland.

swissinfo with agencies

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