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The Fight To Build A Zero-Carbon Home In Bolton

A man who has been fighting with Bolton Council for four years in his battle to build a state-of-the-art zero-carbon house has appealed the decision to throw out his plans.

David Norris is challenging councillors’ decision earlier this year to refuse permission for the carbon neutral-house with an outdoor forest school in Higher Crtichley Fold Barn.

The 46-year-old, who has spent tens of thousands of pounds on the plans, feels confident about the chances of the appeal succeeding.

He said: “Now that we’ve had a barrister’s and a specialist lawyer’s opinion on it, I do feel strongly that we’ve got a good case.”

More than half of the site would be available for community use under the plans and, according to Mr Norris, 97 per cent of the area will remain green.

As well as building the state-of-the-art home, the scheme includes an outdoor learning area to be used by the school where Mr Norris’s children attended.

An agreement to gift the land to Egerton Community Primary School has been signed on the condition that the scheme goes ahead.

Mr Norris said: “It’s a scheme the community wants. It’s a scheme the Wildlife Trust wants. And it was assessed by an independent panel which looked at the whole scheme.”

The plans by the Intelligent Design Centre were independently assessed by Places Matter.

The panel was positive about the way the design had developed to become a “much more solid proposal”.

Design review manager Richard Tracey described the proposal as a “non-visually intrusive design approach”.

He also said that the forest school is an “individual” and “unique” addition to the scheme.

He said: “The panel celebrated the generous nature of this, which is a substantial plus point.”

The plans have been refused or withdrawn on three previous occasions over the last four years.

The application, first thrown out by officers finally reached the planning  committee in March of this year.

Mr Norris slammed the planning committee’s decision, describing it as “inconsistent”.

If approved, it would have been the second house of its kind in Egerton, following the five-bedroom zero-carbon home which featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs.

However, councillors feared that this development was not sufficiently “outstanding” or “exceptional” to justify building in the green belt.

A total of 11 councillors voted against the proposals at the meeting but six supported the plans with only one abstaining.

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