Paradise found: Good news for Simon Cowell's £22m villa as halted Barbados development is back on track

This Christmas Simon Cowell will again be looking at a large hole in the ground where his £22 million, 13,000 sq ft luxurious villa ought to be.

But the good news is that the stalled Paradise Beach scheme, where would-be neighbours include Lord Lloyd-Webber, Formula 1 team boss Eddie Jordan and the head of Universal Music, Lucian Grainge, is now back on track and work has recommenced.

Construction consultants Davis Langdon have been appointed to manage the project, and tenders from eight international construction companies have been received.

High-end: How one of the Paradise Beach villas will look when finished

High-end: How one of the Paradise Beach villas will look when finished

The development hit the buffers in February 2009 when HBOS pulled out, but now a Caribbean bank has stepped in and the scheme is also being underwritten by the Barbados government – which was deeply embarrassed that such a high-profile project had stopped with only a quarter of the site completed.

Paradise Beach is a luxurious high-end rival to the famous Sandy Lane resort, with Four Seasons building a hotel beside the resort which will provide 24-hour service to the residents – for an annual charge of £18,000. Initially, the scheme involved 36 villas, with the most expensive, such as Cowell's, directly on the beach.

beach boy: Simon Cowell jetskiing in Barbados

beach boy: Simon Cowell jetskiing in Barbados

Now, the project has been democratised a little for our straitened times – there will be 22 villas and 15 apartments. So far, 16 villas have been sold – mainly to British buyers.

The two most expensive cost £25 million and – Cowell's – £22 million. Paradise Beach's bumpy ride was a mortifying blow to its backers, Barbados-based Mike Pemberton and veteran property figure Robin Paterson, the former CEO and majority shareholder of estate agencies Barnard Marcus, Cluttons London and Hamptons International.

The latter he sold in 2003, buying the 500-acre Park Place at Henley, which he had hoped to turn into a country club. In the event, he sold up for £42 million in July 2007 – right at the end of the property boom.

'Having sold these Barbados villas to some of the biggest egos and most influential people in the UK, I always said, "God help me if anything goes wrong!" And then it did!' says Paterson, who with his partner paid £30 million for the Paradise Beach site.

'It may not be 100 per cent my money in the scheme but it certainly is 100 per cent of my reputation,' he adds.

A critic of the scheme has been Sandy Lane stalwart Michael Winner. The film director claims it is on the wrong part of the island, too crowded and too close to a port.

As for the famous turtles supposedly nesting on the beach, 'You cannot see the sodding turtles because of all the sodding tourists,' he jibes.

Paterson suggests Winner may have confused the Paradise Beach bay with another one on Barbados.

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