A LANDLORD originally won planning permission to build three new homes beside his Middlewich pub back in 2011.

This week, eight years later, John Chapman, owner of the King's Arms has finally received consent for the Queens Street terraced properties.

Cheshire East Council (CEC) claimed the Cheshire brick on the walls was the wrong colour and the white UPVC windows didn't fit in with the neighbouring conservation area.

A retrospective planning application had to be submitted because the council believed that certain conditions attached to the original approval had not been implemented.

Tenants moved in after the houses were finished in 2017 but it was feared the properties, two four bedroom and one three bedroom, could have been made unavailable for sale or faced the bulldozer!

"It's been an absolute nightmare," said John, 72, who has run the ancient pub dating back to 1710, for 24 years. "We have had to replace all the UPVC windows on the front of the houses with timber frames which we had to paint white.

"They have made us throw away plastic which has now been put into the ground and chop down a tree to put wooden ones in. How does that fit in with saving the planet?

"It's ridiculous because they look exactly the same as what was there before!

"I could understand it if it was a listed building but nearly all the windows in the conservation area round here are plastic."

John decided to build properties on the pub's former car park after a dilapidated stable block had to be knocked down because the second floor collapsed.

Winsford Guardian:

John Chapman reused Cheshire brick from a barn that had fallen down on the site

"It was my land," said John. "We recycled all the brick from the barn building that fell down. The builder's two sons spent six weeks cleaning all the bricks but the council said it did not look right.

"Cheshire brick is hand made and is all different colours How can you not use Cheshire brick in Cheshire? It just doesn't make sense to me."

After detailed investigations and examining the bricks, the council has now relented and said there is no need to change them and has granted their full consent to the development.

A council report concluded: "The applicant has advised that the facing bricks utilised are reused, having been cleaned from a barn that previously stood on site.

"The barn bricks don't appear dissimilar to those now installed. Whilst the bricks are not a darker coloured red brick which predominates in Middlewich, the previous bricks are considered acceptable in the light of the bricks that were previously used on this site.

"The proposed development is acceptable and, as revised with the provision of timber framed white painted casement windows to the front elevation, is of a satisfactory design that would not have a detrimental impact upon the character and appearance of the conservation area."

John estimates the cost of erecting scaffolding twice to install, and then remove and replace the windows plus all the legal paperwork has cost more than £15,000.

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"It's been terrible," he said. "We were just trying to provide houses that people need in this area. These three tenants are all paying council tax which the council wasn't getting before when it was a field.

"I have left space for another house to be built but with all the trouble we've had I don't think we will bother."