Illegal £500k home set to be demolished after lighting up village 'like an alien invasion from Mars'

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The property near West Compton is set to be demolished

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George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 07/12/2023

- 16:24

Updated: 08/12/2023

- 07:57

Nearby neighbours made complaints to Somerset Council

A house that neighbours saw light up “like an alien invasion from Mars” is set to be demolished.

Businessman Tony Harvey failed to obtain planning permission when he self-built the contemporary family home on a plot of land behind a hedge.

The property, which is above the quaint rural hamlet of West Compton, near Yeovil, Somerset, cost approximately £500,000.

However, its spontaneous appearance sparked complaints from villagers, who said it is causing light pollution as it has large glazed windows that illuminate "like a Christmas tree" at night.

Somerset Council made the demolition order

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Another concern nearby neighbours warned the building was allegedly redirecting the water run-off from the field onto the road, which freezes in cold weather making for dangerous driving conditions.

Harvey, a motor mechanic who runs a successful garage was visited by local council officials 12 months ago who told him that the building was illegal.

Two retrospective planning applications were made, both of which were rejected.

Somerset Council which served an enforcement notice on Harvey, ordered him to demolish the house within six months.


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The property has proved controversial to nearby residents

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He has since appealed it and is awaiting a decision from the planning inspectorate.

Nearby resident Stuart Vaughan, 77, said: "It has got glass overlooking these fantastic views. There are no street lights in West Compton and no light pollution so when he puts the lights on it is lit up and it looks like an alien invasion from Mars."

Harriet Ray, who lives in the Manor House in West Compton, said: "The building is in a prominent position on the summit of the hill and overlooks the houses and gardens of West Compton residents, causing a lack of privacy both in summer and winter.

"At night the property is lit up like a Christmas tree so that the skyline is dominated by lights from the building."

However, Rob Smith, a customer at Mr Harvey’s garage, said: "Many of the objections to this application have a distinct stink of nimbyism."

When approached by The Telegraph, Mr Harvey declined to comment.

Managing director of Acorus Rural Property Services Limited James Whilding said in a planning report on his behalf: "The design seeks to provide housing of exceptional quality with high quality design, construction and material quality."

A spokesman for Somerset Council said: "An enforcement notice has been issued requiring the property to be demolished and the land restored back to an agricultural field."

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