IT COULD have cost up to £25m and would have been visible from 35,000 feet.
But Scottish architect Kathryn Findlay’s starfish design for a 21st century stately home, set in open countryside near Stretton, was replaced by a more traditional design.
The property put forward by the award-winning practice of Robert Adam Architects, for Stretton Hall Lane, Stretton, will be a family home for applicant Martyn Weaver.
Agents for Mr Weaver say there was a ‘very positive’ reaction at a public meeting in Tilston Memorial Hall attended by 30 residents and parish councillors in January.
They argue the house, which will largely be built of stone with brick and slate, will offer benefits compared with the four-fingered sandstone starfish in terms of protecting and enhancing the landscape and ecology and through the use of renewable energy.
Chester’s planning board heard the starfish design would have made a significant contribution to the evolution of the development of the large country house.
But a buyer could not be persuaded to part with the estimated £20m-plus asking price.
The project appeared to have been resurrected when Mel Hood, the developer, said he planned to build and live in a smaller version of the starfish, but that scheme came to nought.
Features in its traditional replacement include galleries, a drawing room, sitting room and library, bedrooms including a master bedroom with a lobby, dressing rooms and a covered balcony, a courtyard, cinema, gym, pool and jacuzzi.
Plans also include a wine cellar, stables, staff quarters and garages.
Mr Weaver’s agents say their approach will be ‘carbon zero’ and includes separate plans to follow for three wind turbines on 20m columns.
The architects say the house has been integrated into its woodland setting and will provide enhanced habitats for wildlife. Access to the property will recreate a local historic route.
People will have a few views from a distance which, it is said, will encourage interest and curiosity.
The surrounding farmland is to be farmed on organic principles and the most sensitive archaeological remains in the vicinity will remain intact.
Crispin Harris at the Wilmslow office of estate agents Jackson-Stops & Staff has been advising on the project.
Parish councillors support the development which they describe as “well-proportioned”, but object to the three wind turbines, arguing they will have a detrimental impact on the rural area and views from Castletown.
The board agreed the application although city centre Cllr Gwyn Cooper (Lab, City & St Anne’s) commented: “I am sorry the starfish will not happen.”