Asia's richest man, Mukesh Ambani, has found himself at the centre of a controversial dispute over his recent acquisition of Buckinghamshire's luxury hotel and golf club Stoke Park.

The billionaire's company, Reliance Industries, purchased the lease of the 300-acre estate for £57mn last year, leading to the expulsion of affluent club members and the closure of the estate for renovations.

This abrupt shutdown has triggered tensions between the Ambanis and Buckinghamshire Council, as the new owners are alleged to have made "unauthorised changes" to the property and potentially violated the leasehold terms.

The council, which owns the estate's freehold, has stated that it will assess any planning applications filed by Stoke Park in the usual manner.

Stoke Park has been contacted for comment.

It comes as the closure of Stoke Park has been a source of contention among locals who fear they are losing a beloved community asset.

In August, residents raised concerns to this newspaper after a man was allegedly spotted with a large python driving around a golf buggy at Stoke Park.

This prompted the RSPCA to issue a warning about the rules around looking after exotic animal in public places. 

ALSO READ: Golf buggy driver at Stoke Park spotted 'wearing a 6ft PYTHON' around his neck

The resident, who wished to remain anonymous, claims his wife saw a “guy in a baseball cap ‘wearing’ a giant white python which must have escaped”.

Another former Stoke Park member and local resident, who wishes to be unnamed, said he was "disappointed" and accused the new owners of breaching planning regulations.

He said the owners were allegedly saying Stoke Park was being used as a hotel but added: "No one can book a room as it's closed. It's been closed since October 2021 and they're mega rich.

He claimed: "The family used to rent hotels around the south-east, they’ve been here for the last summer three months and had a big family wedding here, bought two houses on the road, penguins in the property, peacock pen in the golf course, they’ve created equestrian area."

He alleged that he believed the family were keen animal lovers, saying their passion for animals reminded him of "Michael Jackson".

The Georgian mansion has long served as a hotel, clubhouse, and wedding venue, providing a sense of history and tradition to Stoke Park.

While Reliance-owned Stoke Park has promised that the estate will reopen, insiders say there is lingering uncertainty surrounding the renovation plans.

A comprehensive planning application has not yet been filed, leaving the future of the site in question.

And sources told this newspaper that English Heritage had a number of concerns about changes to the property. 

Peter Strachan, cabinet member for planning at Buckinghamshire council, the owner of the estate’s freehold, said the local authority would assess any planning applications filed by Stoke Park in the usual way.

Stoke Park has denied allegations that the Ambani family uses the mansion as a private residence, stating that the renovation plans include the addition of "7-star" hotel villas, a new clubhouse, and the revamping of the golf course to attract elite players.

However, the company did not comment on specific planning issues and instead emphasized its compliance with the council's guidance and regulations.

As the controversy surrounding Stoke Park and its new owners continues, the case offers a glimpse into the life of Mukesh Ambani, one of the richest individuals globally.

With a £200 billion conglomerate encompassing oil, telecommunications, and retail, Reliance Industries is India's largest public company by market value.

However, the clash between private interests and the stewardship of historic public assets highlights the challenges faced when wealth is involved.