Manchester

Neville's 'flower-home' plans refused by Bolton Council

Side view of the proposed development
Image caption Gary Neville's flower house prompted 120 objections

Footballer Gary Neville's plans for an eco-friendly "Teletubbies house" have been turned down by Bolton Council.

The Manchester United defender said his futuristic four-bedroom property, planned for moorland between Bolton and Bury, was an "important moment" for the town.

However, councillors refused permission after hearing residents' objections to the flower-shaped property.

Mr Neville, who was at the meeting, can appeal against the decision.

Councillors at the planning meeting heard how the house, which is partially underground, was labelled a "Teletubbies" home because of its cartoon-like petal-shaped design.

He wanted to have the kitchen in the flower's stigma, then its petals would be bedrooms, bathrooms, a garage, a children's play area and a swimming pool.

'Energy journey'

However, the planned site, which was greenbelt land off Harry Fold Farm in Bradshaw Road, Bolton, provoked opposition from 120 local people.

Officers from Bolton Council recommended its approval - subject to government backing - because of "its exceptionally high quality of design" and "sensitive relationship with the surrounding landscape".

However, planning committee members ignored the report's advice and voted 14-6 to refuse the application.

Accompanied by his wife Emma, Bury-born Mr Neville gave a short speech at the meeting at Bolton Town Hall.

The 35-year-old said he was "passionate" abut the plans which he said would "inspire" people.

"One of the crucial things we did was to open plans up to independent scrutiny at the highest level.

Image caption The lounge would offer clear views of the surrounding moorland

"While the scheme has been faced with some objections, there's no doubt about it and I have privately met with residents, houses are supposed to move towards generating their own energy by 2016 and we will all have to go on that journey."

He said he hoped his proposal would become the first of its kind in the town and north-west England to be considered groundbreaking enough to be approved for an isolated house in the countryside.

Many residents objected to the 39m (128ft) high wind turbine that was going to accompany his zero carbon home.

In opposition, Mike Dutton told the hearing: "The proposal must also be rejected because the turbine would breach accepted noise levels, the greenbelt must be protected and there are safety fears about access."

He also said the extent of environmental attributes that Neville claimed his home created, were exaggerated.

Mr Neville left the meeting without comment.

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