House with 25ft SHARK sticking out of its roof no longer allowed to be rented due to technicality

​Headington Shark House

Headington Shark House has been taken off Airbnb for breaking planning rules

Holly Bishop

By Holly Bishop

Published: 24/01/2024

- 21:14

The iconic house has been kicked off Airbnb for breaching planning rules

A house with a massive 25ft shark sticking out of the roof has been kicked off Airbnb because it does not have planning permissions.

The owner, Magnus Hanson-Heine, has been ordered by council bosses in Oxford to stop renting out the property as a short-term holiday let.

Oxford City Council said that he had failed to apply for planning permission to change the use of the house from a permanent to a temporary residence.

Visitors could previously stay at the property, known as Headington Shark House, for between £300 and £1,000 a night, season dependant.

The iconic shark statue

The iconic shark statue is one of the most photographed properties in Oxford


The quirky property, which has been available on the site for the last five years, can sleep up to 10 people.

The iconic shark statue, which has made it one of the most photographed properties in Oxford, was installed by Hanson-Heine’s father, Bill Heine.

He installed the sculpture without official permission in 1986, triggering a six-year planning row with Oxford City Council.

The drawn-out feud over the statue, which was built by sculptor John Buckley, was only squashed when the then Environment Secretary Michael Heseltine visited the house and gave permission for the structure to stay.


Last year, the house was added to the Oxford Heritage Asset Register, despite Hanson-Heine objecting to it as his father initially installed the sculpture as protest against planning laws.

It was erected on the 26th anniversary of the second atomic bomb being dropped on Nagasaki, as an anti-war symbol.

Hanson-Heine said: “I plan to fight this, and it seems so arbitrary that they have chosen me. There are others in Oxford who are using their homes at weekends as an Airbnb. The house has been involved in a planning dispute before with the council and this could be a vendetta.

“The house has been used as an Airbnb and advertised on other platforms for five years. Why now do they want to close it down?

“The Shark House allows visitors to the area to step inside a unique piece of Oxford's history and closure as an Airbnb would represent a significant loss to Oxford's distinctive tourism offerings.”


The property had previously been on the site for five years


Hanson-Heine has appealed to the National Planning Inspectorate and plans to continue renting out the property until his appeal is heard in the next six months.

The highest-rated review for the property on Airbnb reads: “I would highly recommend this place for a group of friends or a family visiting Oxford. Not only is this place a landmark, but a very comfortable and private house. It is spacious and had lots of local amenities, transport, and things recommend things to do around Oxford.”

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.”

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