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De Botton helps ease Cambridge house through planning

Alain De Botton has used his increasing influence in the world of architecture to help this one-off house in Cambridge win planning permission.

The philosopher and author - who recently published The Architecture of Happiness- threw his weight behind this proposal by Mole Architects.

When it faced local objections, De Botton stepped in with a supportive letter of his own for the £450,000 project, which subsequently won planning permission.

Mole Architects principal Meredith Bowles said: 'The scheme has just won planning and it was pretty hair-raising. We had six months of preplanning negotiations.

'It required an awful lot of persuasive demonstration with the planning officers before they recommended it for approval. The local residents were pretty against it.

'I had a letter from my friend Alain De Botton supporting the scheme when faced with objections,' he added.

De Botton will surely appreciate this experience with the planning system, as he is in the process of setting up his own property development company.

When the scheme is complete it will see the construction of a five-bedroom, 190m 2home on Cambridge's Cavendish Avenue.

'It will replace an existing 1930s house which has structural problems and is totally without charm - if not without interest,' Bowles went on. 'The architect was obviously interest in Dutch Modernism, but couldn't shake off British Nostalgia.'

by Ed Dorrell

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