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'Marmite mega home' will be built in countryside

Malvern Editorial 10th Apr, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

A STATE of the art mega home will be built in the middle of Malvern countryside despite dividing opinion among planning chiefs.

The house in Leigh Sinton was branded as ‘Marmite’ by members of the district council’s Northern Area Development Management Committee which approved the bid with a majority vote last week.

Most of the south side of the property will be faced with glass with the home’s three bedrooms looking directly out onto a lake.

The committee’s decision hung on whether the plans were considered ‘Truly outstanding or innovative’ under national planning criteria, sparking a lively debate in the council chamber which was halted for councillors and members of the public to look at a 3D model of the designs.

A handful of residents had raised complaints arguing the house would be out of keeping with the surroundings.

Resident Robert Jolly, speaking at the meeting, warned approval would lead to similar development applications.

“We are talking here about a house in the middle of the countryside, spitting distance away from the AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).

“This breaks every rule in the book. It’s not groundbreaking. Its a piece of very dressed up contemporary architecture and a very substantial house.

“Many are watching this with great interest. The spectre of precedent is in the air.”

Concerns were raised the house would be an eyesore to those walking along the popular countryside route the Worcestershire Way, with Coun Dean Clarke branding the designs ‘awful’ and ‘outstandingly ugly’.

The home will also have a smallholding farm, complete with livestock pens and an on-site butchery which will generate an income for the property owners.

But Coun Paul Swinburn claimed the features were nothing more than a ‘hobby farm’ used to get the rest of the development approved and warned the committee was having the ‘wool pulled over its eyes’.

Most members spoke in support of the plans however.

Coun Tom Wells said: “This is such a breathe of fresh air. It will be a talking point for years to come. Its a bit like Marmite. People may not always talk about it in glowing terms.

“There will be those walking along Worcestershire Way who will think what on Earth have we done.”

Coun David Hughes admitted he was ‘nervous’ about the plans but argued sometimes the council had to take a risk.

“When do we take a risk and do things which people will look back on and say that was a good idea?

“I think this is a very, very clever. It is something outrageous, different which is potentially a visitor attraction. I wished I had thought of it.”

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