Sunday 23 May 2021
Five brand new one million luxury mansions will be torn down because plots were '33% too large' after homeowners desperately fought to save them in a bitter, five-year-long planning row.
The 6-bedroom, stone-built, detached exclusive properties located in the West Pennine moors are up to one third larger and in different locations than was permitted, a planning inquiry heard. Bolton Council has issued an enforcement notice for demolition in 2018 and a planning inspector has now given the householders 12 months to demolish the structures and return the site to its previous state.
That period has been extended from six-months due to the 'hardship' the decision will impose on the appellants, whose buildings are at the old Grundy Fold Farm. At a previous hearing homeowner Elan Raja said he paid £1,057,000 for the plot in 2016 and claimed he has had since spent more than £215,000 on the rental of an alternative property and other costs. He said he had suffered from severe stress and anxiety coping with the immense demands of the matter and had suffered cardiac problems as a result of the 'nightmare'.
Planning permission was granted for the conversion of a former farmhouse and four new homes around a central courtyard back in 2014, when development began. Finishing works were put on hold after a complaint was filed in October 2016, and after investigation Bolton Council found the houses were not being built in accordance with planning permission. The site is littered with building supplies after the construction was suddenly halted.
The local authority first issued an enforcement notice to flatten the entire development in 2018 following an impasse with the developers, Sparkle Developments. The appeal claims the enforcement notice was excessive and extremely harsh to remedy a breach in planning regulations.
A four-day planning inquiry in March heard from plot holders and their lawyer as well as from Bolton Council. The inquiry considered two appeals from the house owners, one against the demolition enforcement and another to try and overturn a decision on a subsequent amended planning application. Both appeals were dismissed recently. At the inquiry, Bolton Council argued harm had been caused to the green belt.
The owners now face the prospect of a 'fall back position', which is to demolish the existing buildings and rebuild in the correct areas to the correct size.
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