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Surprise as Rowan Atkinson wins planning for Meier house

Rowan Atkinson’s controversial plan to build a Richard Meier-designed house in rural south Oxfordshire has won planning permission despite planning officers’ recommendations

Atkinson’s proposal to build a 9m-tall five-bedroom house and a two-bedroom guesthouse, both of white steel and glass, was recommended for refusal on the grounds the project would stand out in the Chilterns Area of Natural Beauty.

South Oxfordshire District councillors last night however rode roughshod over their official’s advice and unanimously approved the application.

Atkinson’s planning agent, Haydn Morris of Terence O’Rourke, said: ‘It’s quite incredible we didn’t expect anything like this at all. We couldn’t have asked for anything better.

‘Now they have the consent they would like to start as soon as possible. We need to appoint a UK based practice, a few names are in the frame but no one has been appointed.’

Morris estimates the project will be completed in two to three years.

Blackadder and Mr Bean star Rowan Atkinson, who spoke exclusively to the AJ about his plans earlier this month, convinced councillors with a personal address defending Meier’s proposals. He said: ‘Blending in with the countryside for many simply reflects their familiarity with the architecture – looking at and living in the same kind of buildings in which they have grown up in and feel comfortable – I do not believe the answer of putting a building on this site is to build it of wood or paint it green.’

Councillor Felix Bloomfield, the local authority’s design champion, said: ‘The proposal would not stand out visually more than what is already there. The proposed design is bold but I believe it would sit in harmony in this landscape.’

The planning committee chair said: ‘This is something of which South Oxfordshire District Council will be extremely proud and we look forward to the days we see it built.’

Readers' comments (1)

  • At last some council members with some foresight to see the benefits of a contemporary proposal. Shame the planners didn't have the same foresight....

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