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Couple ordered to tear down their New Forest home over building changes

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The home at Godshill Wood which has been ordered torn down
The home at Godshill Wood which has been ordered torn down

A THREE-BEDROOM house in the New Forest that was built bigger than approved plans must be torn down, the national park authority has ordered.

The property near Fordingbridge was constructed by Mr and Mrs Vickers after they gained permission in 2018 to demolish a bungalow at Paysanne in Godshill Wood to make way for the new home, complete with a detached garage and office above.

But the NPA has now launched enforcement action after refusing a retrospective application to allow the couple to keep changes to the original designs.

Discrepancies include the building being 1.2 metres longer, on a different orientation and location on the site, and changes to the roof.

The Vickers’ application also sought to retain a bedroom window, a covered walkway to the front door, and external downlighters.

The building is nearly complete and the couple have already started moving in their belongings, said their planning agent, Stephen Graeser, in documents submitted to the NPA.

He blamed the divergence from the original plans on “incorrect measurements” used by groundwork contractors when the foundations were laid out.

There was no impact on neighbours or the wider landscape, he argued, adding: “Most people would fail to notice any material differences in the size of the dwelling between the two schemes.”

He said the applicants accepted the dwelling’s total floorspace exceeded the 30% increase on the previous home permitted by NPA planning policies, but they proposed to reduce it with internal stud walls.

He added: “The proposed dwelling enhances the landscape of the New Forest through high quality design and response to the local distinctiveness of the area.”

The failed application prompted six letters of support and five of objection to the NPA from residents. Godshill Parish Council also recommended it for refusal.

The only avenues left to save their home are for the Vickers to appeal against the NPA’s enforcement action or to ask for modifications to make it more acceptable to planners.

A spokesperson for the NPA’s enforcement team told the A&T: “Whilst a planning consent has been granted for a replacement dwelling, the scheme as built, due to its size and design changes, was considered to be larger and in a form which resulted in material harm sufficient that it should not be permitted in its current form.

“There is a right of appeal against the enforcement notice which to date has not been exercised.

“The serving of the notice does not prejudice the applicant submitting a further application to modify the scheme for further consideration or to build out the approved scheme.”

A separate application for an outdoor swimming pool and an outbuilding for a changing room and plant works was also refused. The A&T has asked the Vickers for comment.

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