Neville gets go-ahead for luxury home after green belt quandary

Manchester United star turned property mogul Gary Neville has been given the go-ahead to build a luxury home in Bolton against the recommendations of town planning officers.

His application was recommended for refusal because it was for a site in the outlying village of  Bromley Cross which Bolton Council had deemed to be green belt.

But Bolton planning committee councillors have voted unanimously to approve Neville’s plan after agreeing they did not consider the land off Grange Road to be green belt.

In a report of the committee meeting in The Bolton News, Bromley Cross councillor Norman Critchley said he would “defend the green belt to the end”, but did not see that there was any green belt that demanded protection.

He said: “I have lived in area since 1977 and have been a councillor since 1988. I do know the area very well and have often been to parties at the bottom of that road.

“The way we look at it is that if the house is in keeping with the other developments in the area, it would be allowed.

“It isn’t a series of five or six houses, it is one large house which doesn’t replicate the style of the others but also isn’t completely modern like some that come before this committee.”

A report from the council’s planning office said: “It is concluded that the harm to the green belt by the proposed development by reason of its inappropriateness is not clearly outweighed by other considerations. The very special circumstances needed to justify the development do not exist.”

Mike Ralph, speaking on behalf of planning consultant Zerum, said that the new home will “complement” the existing properties in the area and had not provoked any objections from neighbours.

Neville’s ambitious home-building plans in the Bolton area have hit headlines in the past, with one futuristic design in the suburb Harwood likened to a home on children’s TV series Teletubbies.

Those proposals, which were subject to a lengthy planning battle, were later abandoned.