FIVE partially-built mansions have been ordered to be torn down after a planning inspector dismissed appeals from the house owners.

The luxury detached properties, at Grundy Fold Farm, off Chorley Old Road, for which Bolton Council issued an enforcement notice for demolition in 2018, were up to a third bigger and in different locations than allowed, a planning inquiry heard.

The inspector has now given the householders an extended period of 12 months to demolish the structures and return the site to its previous form.

That period has been extended from a six-months due to the ‘hardship’ the decision will impose on the appellants.

Planning permission was granted for the conversion of the former farmhouse and four new homes around a central courtyard in 2014.

The householders now face the option of their ‘fallback position’ which is to demolish the existing buildings and rebuild in the correct areas and to the correct size.

That planning permission, which is still in place, is for just four dwellings and conversion of the former farmhouse, which was demolished and stands partially rebuilt.

A four-day planning inquiry in March heard from plot holders and their lawyer and from Bolton Council.

Developers Sparkle demolished the farmhouse and began building afresh and partially constructed four new homes in the wrong locations and with different dimensions than agreed.

The inquiry considered two appeals from the house owners, one against the demolition enforcement and another to try and overturn a decision on a subsequent amended planning application.

Both appeals have been dismissed today.

At the inquiry Bolton Council argued harm had been caused to the green belt.

Their barrister Ian Ponter, said: “The appeal schemes generate a very substantial loss of openness.

“The character of the area is scattered farms, individual rural houses and groups of houses clustered into small villages located below the uplands.

“The original plans were expressly designed to be compatible with that settlement pattern.

“They were sensitively sited in a hamlet form of development.”

He said that the current location of the houses represents ‘ a significant departure away from the clear design intentions of the 2014 scheme’.

Killian Garvey, for the householders, said that the effect on openness of the greenbelt of the houses were they are now did not cause significant harm to openness.

He also argued that the enforcement action to order demolition was not proportionate to the breaches of planning.

In the decision notice, planning inspector Jason Whitfield said: “Both appeal A and appeal B would result in a greater presence of built development in the green belt than the fallback position.

“I find that this greater increase in built form would be harmful, both spatially and visually, when located in an area characterised by openness and on a site which, when considered at its baseline, is largely free of built form.

“As a consequence, considering all the evidence before me, I find the harm resulting to green belt openness from the appeals would be greater than any such harm resulting from the fallback position.”