Plans to demolish a historic farmhouse and replace it with a luxury home around 50 per cent larger have been rejected.

Knowles Farm, Fleet Street, Horwich,which dates back to around 1670 is considered to be one of the oldest surviving farmhouses in the area.

A meeting of Bolton Council’s planning committee heard that applicant Daniel Walsh wished to demolish the existing structure and replace it with a three-storey five-bedroom house, with roof and basement accommodation, infinity pool and a new access.

A planning report considered by councillors said the new house it would have a basement larger than the above ground footprint and would also include a swimming pool and gym.

The farmhouse lies within the Wallsuches conservation area and is within the green belt.

Officers recommended refusal of the plans because of its impact on the green belt and the loss of 24 trees.

Mr Walsh addressed the meeting in support of the application.

He said: “I wish to make Knowles Farm my home for generations.

“The farm is currently a danger to the public.

“In its current state it has a negative contribution to the conservation area.

“We have a passion for improving this and will take pride in making a positive contribution.

“The replacement dwelling has a strong rural characteristic and is consistent with neighbouring buildings.

“Reports strongly recommend the existing structure is demolished.

“We plan to return animals to the farm as demonstrated with the letter from Poppywood Alpacas.

“We were honoured that the previous owners wanted the farm to continue with a Bolton born and bred family.”

Committee member Cllr Marie Brady: “This is a beautiful house but unfortunately I don’t think it’s in the right place here.

“The existing footprint of the building and the character of the land around it completely changes.

“The increase in size worries me as it is in green belt.”

Nine letters of objection were submitted and one letter of support..

Comments included ‘the new dwelling lacks sympathy with the current setting’ and ‘many people see the farmhouse from adjacent footpaths and appreciate it’.

Horwich Heritage objected to the proposals.

They said: “The building forms an important part of the ‘old village’ of Horwich which grew up around the Wallsuches bleach works from 1777 onwards.

“It is within the Wallsuches conservation area which requires that if any changes are proposed to the property they should be sympathetic to its history, design and construction.”

The committee voted to reject the plans.