A brother and sister featured in a BBC2 TV series over their objections to £1.4m plans for two space-age homes in Frodsham by Widnes Vikings owner and property developer Steve O’Connor.
Permission Impossible: Britain’s Planners told how Liz Rowley, who lives next to the Howey Lane site, unsuccessfully fought the plans along with brother Dennis Rowley.
Cheshire West and Chester Council’s planning committee approved the development by Mr O’Connor’s company Steppingstone which will share the grounds of Howey Croft and sits alongside Frodsham Conservation Area.
The homes, which feature low energy lighting, triple glazed windows and sustainable timber constructions, are said to celebrate open plan style living.
But retired teacher Dennis told programme makers: “When I went to the pre-planning meeting I think my heart sank. They were like an outline of a small nuclear power station and at best you could say they were an industrial unit.”
Liz added: “They are just so imposing. Take them to Altrincham may be or Didsbury where people aspiring to have that life can get on with it.”
But self-made millionaire Mr O’Connor, who sold his haulage business to Stobart and lives with his wife and two children in a £4m house at Helsby Hill, described the new dwellings as “smart, modern, executive houses”.
Looking over one comment from an objector who called them ‘carbuncles’, he quipped: “Carbuncles, may be that’s what we will call them. That might be a good name for them!”
Planning officer Nial Casselden told the disappointed siblings his recommendation was for approval but reassured them: “You are not going to read the whole area and go ‘that sticks out’.”
The planning committee’s reaction to the application was mixed. Cllr Eleanor Johnson described the design as ‘awful’ while Cllr Amy Mercer-Bailey accepted they were ‘different’ and ‘modern’, but added: “You cannot expect things to not move forward with the times.”
Cllr Eveleigh Moore Dutton, who successfully moved approval, said: “The harm here is absolutely minimal when balanced against a person’s right to build a home to their own taste.”
The eight-programme BBC2 series is broadcast on Tuesdays at 7pm and features planning stories from across the country including West Cheshire. The Frodsham episode is available on BBC iPlayer.