‘Trend setter’ Preston eco house given go-ahead by planners

Mansion: Artist's impression of the new Bux House

Mansion: Artist's impression of the new Bux House

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Architects believe Preston’s first carbon-neutral eco-mansion will be a trend setter for future development, despite being branded a “carbuncle on the landscape.”

The majestic residence, nicknamed “Buxingham Palace” by unimpressed locals in Langley Lane, Goosnargh, was this week given the go-ahead by councillors.

The city’s planning committee approved the controversial Grand Designs project, which swallows up three fields of grazing land in the Bowland countryside, by one vote.

Plans for the Bux textile family’s multi-million pound country seat were thrown out by Preston City Council just five months ago because the design and location were deemed to be “totally inappropriate.”

But an amended scheme was submitted and, despite some councillors describing the changes as purely cosmetic, the scheme was given the nod by eight votes to seven, with one abstention.

Chairman Coun Brian Rollo, whose casting vote sank the application in October, admitted he had changed his mind.

“This is a one-off,” he said. “It is not going to contribute to anything like affordable housing or housing need in Preston. But the changes made have improved the layout.”

Residents once again turned out at the hearing to voice their concerns, but were narrowly defeated after architects assured the committee the house would be the first carbon neutral project of its kind in the Preston area and a trendsetter for future eco development.

Addressing the meeting on behalf of the residents, ward councillor Lona Smith told the committee: “This means the loss of another greenfield site in a tranquil rural area which is not of benefit to the rural community. It will stand out like a sore thumb.

“The building is enormous and completely out of character with the rural landscape.”

Coun Tom Davies added: “It is a carbuncle on the landscape.”

But Alban Cassidy, director of architects Cassidy and Ashton, said the building would be the first major country house built in Preston for a century and its impact on neighbouring homes would be less than locals feared.

Bux House will have grounds designed to recreate a Bowland wild flower meadow. It will also boast beehives and an allotment which will host parties of schoolchildren.

Senior planning officer Janet Filbin said the mansion would be the first carbon-neutral dwelling in Preston.