FIVE £1m luxury mansions will be demolished as they were built ‘too big’, leaving devastated homeowners footing the bill.
Homeowners had claimed developers of the stunning six-bedroom houses near Bolton, Lancs ‘disappeared’, an inquiry heard earlier this year.
Five luxury mansions face being demolished as they were built ‘too big’
The partially built houses must now be knocked down
The partially-built houses will now be knocked down after a planning inspector dismissed house owners’ appeals, Bolton News reports.
A planning inquiry heard the homes were up to a third bigger and in the wrong locations.
The inspector has given how given heartbroken homeowners 12 months to demolish the properties.
Under the order, householders could bulldoze the buildings and rebuild them in the correct area to the correct size.
Planning permission is still in place for four new homes and conversion of the farmyad at Grundy Fold Farm.
In March, a planning inquiry heard that Sparkle Developments was given planning permission to build five luxury homes in August, 2014.
One homeowner, Elan Raja has been embroiled in a “nightmare” feud with Bolton Council over the last five years after he was told his dream home would have to be torn down.
The stone-built exclusive homes were built on a plot in the West Pennine moors.
But finishing works were put on hold after a complaint was filed in October 2016, and Bolton Council found the houses were not being built in accordance with planning permission.
The inquiry heard how plot one on the site had a 31 per cent bigger footprint than allowed, plot two was 19 per cent bigger, plot three 32 per cent bigger and plot four 33 per cent bigger.
The local authority issued an enforcement notice to flatten the entire development in 2018.
Mr Raja said he paid £1,057,000 for the plot in 2016 and claims he has now spent more than £215,000 on the rental of an alternative property and other costs.
He said he suffered from severe stress and anxiety and suffered cardiac problems from the ‘nightmare’.
He told the inquiry he had launched litigation against the developer but “they had disappeared” and refused to take responsibility for “what they have done”.
Mr Raja said: “It has had life-changing consequences for me.
“I feel trapped in a vicious circle with deepening financial pressures and effects on my family.
“Every day feels like I’m waking up to a nightmare. The best way to describe it is a pressure cooker.
Devastated families must now pay for their homes to be knocked down
It follows an impasse between the council and Sparkle Developments
“Sparkle Developments refuse to take responsibility for what they have done.
“I can understand if one house was wrong but not the whole development.”
Mr Raja claimed he was told planning permission was in place when he bought the mansion in 2016.
But he has claimed the developers have not contributed any costs or advice as of February 2020 despite the mess they find themselves in.
In March 2017, a retrospective planning application was submitted to retain the homes as they were built, but this was refused by the planning committee in June.,
Four months later, another application was submitted to retain the five dwellings.
Following discussions between Sparkle Developments and the council’s planning department, the developer was told the application could only be recommended for approval if it involved selective demolition and re-siting of some of the houses.
This compromise was rejected by the developer, who decided to press on with the planning application.
This second application to retain the five homes was refused by the planning committee in May, 2018.
Later that year, the council served the developer with an enforcement notice which required the developer to demolish all homes within six months.
Legal representative for the householders, Killian Garvey told the inquiry the appellants’ lives had been upended for the last four years.
But Ian Ponter, representing the council, told the inquiry the development was ‘harmful to the landscape’.
Mr Ponter said: “The scheme was a hamlet around a courtyard.
“That design was important given the site’s location in the greenbelt and the rural nature.
“That was bought by Sparkle Developments who then sold the plots individually.
“Development got underway in 2016 and was a significant departure from the consent given in 2014.”
Ward councillor Bob Allen, who has been on the planning committee for ten years, said he supported the refusal of the proposed development.