Liverpool Echo

Family 'terrified' as they're forced to knock down home extension

Family 'terrified' as they're forced to knock down home extension

The 'foolish' two-storey addition to the home was built without permission

A couple's 'odd-looking' home extension, which was built without permission and encroaches onto a neighbour's house, must be demolished within weeks after a retrospective planning application was refused.

Paul and Rachelle Horridge from Lancashire must remove the two-storey addition, which includes a first-floor child's bedroom.

The family lives on Helmshore Road in Haslingden, reports Lancs Live, and have been in a long-running planning dispute over the unauthorised rear extension to their home.

Enforcement action first began one year ago and has since been extended, with the latest deadline for the extension to be gone set for late January 2023.

Rossendale councillors this week heard claims that the couple had believed their builder would sort out any planning issues needed for an extension. They're now facing a 'catastrophic' situation, it was said.

The two-storey extension is too big, has different widths between its floors, and inappropriate flat roof and wooden cladding. It also crosses the boundary into the next door's land. And ground work linked to the extension could also harm the roots of a protected tree in an adjoining park.

A previous application seeking retrospective approval was refused in December 2021 on visual and neighbour amenity grounds. An enforcement notice was issued on the same day requiring the extension to be removed and the land to be suitably restored.

The couple then lodged a combined appeal against the planning refusal and the enforcement notice at the end of December 2021. A decision on that was given in May, 2022. A national planning inspector dismissed the appeal and upheld the enforcement notice. However the period to comply with the notice was extended from six to eight months. This means that the unauthorised extension will currently need to be removed by January 24, 2023, council planning reports state.

At a council meeting, neighbour Graham Lowthion, said: "Everyone says it is out of character with other houses. Other houses in the area have single-storey kitchen extensions. Neighbours would have no problem if this was a single-storey extension. But this is a two-storey extension, which is now even higher with a pitched roof.

"I am totally against it. If this was passed, it would cause heartache and pain. It would also lead to other people putting up inappropriate extensions."

Rachelle Horridge spoke in favour of the retrospective application, submitted by her husband, Paul. She said: "We find ourselves in this extremely stressful situation because we trusted a builder who said the extension did not need a planning application. He showed us a few examples of extensions including one nearby. We were within a few inches of regularity. I now see we were foolish.

She added: "My husband is away for periods of time. We have a young family and one of our children was having problems with anxiety. The first floor extension was for that child, so she didn't need to share a bedroom. which was contributing to her anxiety. "

Rachelle said she and her husband had held talks with planning officers and an inspector to explore options. The extension was only eight inches larger than what would typically be allowed, she said.

She said all the circumstances and the prospect of now having to demolish the extension were having a 'catastrophic impact' and added: "We are terrified for our future."

The Helmshore Road house is next to a park. A tree consultant for Rossendale Council had raised concerns about potential damage to the roots of a protected tree there. The original work had been done two years ago, it was understood.

In a vote, the majority of councillors on the committee refused the restrospective application.

Liverpool Echo

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