Manchester United star's eco-bunker refused application after local protest

Manchester United star's eco-bunker refused application after local protest


Gary Neville’s application to build an underground, eco-friendly property on greenbelt land between Bolton and Bury has been rejected by Bolton Council, despite the planning officer granting permission.

The officer concluded that the proposal qualified under the “contemporary country house” clause in planning laws which allows buildings of “extremely high quality” to be built on the usually protected greenbelt.


At a Bolton Council planning committee meeting, the Manchester United star put forward his plans to build the 8,000 sq ft four bedroom, zero carbon, ‘eco-bunker’ on his estate in Harwood but was refused.


He argued that its green credentials made it worthy of being built on protected land, and that he was simply leading the way in low carbon living. Gary planned on using solar panels, a wind turbine and dry stone walls in an effort to minimise his carbon footprint.


But the councillors weren’t persuaded, voting 14-6 against the footballer’s proposal, a decision that was met with cheers from the packed out public gallery.


Accompanied by his wife, Gary gave a heartfelt speech at the start of the meeting, he said:“I am as passionate about this project today as I was 18 months ago.


“By 2016 all houses will have to move towards being carbon neutral and I want this to inspire other developments.


“When I first found out about this policy, the properties being developed were in the south of England. I wanted to do something in the north.”


Local residents don’t appear to share Gary’s enthusiasm for the project and 120 locals put forward objections. Despite the protest, planning officers from Bolton Council recommended its approval, pointing to its “high quality of design” and “sensitive relationship with the surrounding landscape”.


The proposed home has been dubbed the “Teletubbies House” as its flower shaped design is said to resemble houses on the children’s TV programme.


But it was the planned 39m wind turbine that residents really took offence to, Mike Dutton opposing the application said: “The proposal must be rejected because the turbine would breach accepted noise levels, the greenbelt must be protected and there are safety fears about access.”


However, hope springs eternal and Gary will be able to appeal the outcome. A council spokesperson confirmed:“The applicant has the right to appeal and can submit an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate within six months of the date of the planning committee’s decision.”


It unclear whether Mr Neville will appeal or not and he left the meeting without comment.



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