A grandmother has claimed she is facing a ‘concerted programme of intimidation’ by villagers over her plans to build a £400,000 three-bedroom eco-house in a field overlooked by a Saxon-era church.
June Titterton-Fox, 61, wants to create the single-storey ‘Field House’ home in one of the two fields she owns in the Rutland village of Whitwell – and she has said it would be one of Britain’s most energy-efficient properties.
The farmer, who has battled breast cancer and had two heart operations last year, wants the property to help her downsize with husband Andy, 57, from the five-bedroom house they currently own in the village.
But 15 neighbours have raised objections to the new ’21st century farmhouse’, claiming it would be a ‘blot on the landscape’ being in full view of the village’s Grade II*-listed church and other local ‘heritage assets’.
The local church, St Michael and All Angels, which stands on an elevated site in the village, is believed to date back to Saxon times and has existed on the site since at least the Domesday Book of 1086.
An artist’s impression of the £400,000 three-bedroom eco-house proposed for a field in the Rutland village of Whitwell
June Titterton-Fox wants the home to help her downsize with husband from the five-bedroom house they own in the village
Neighbours are unhappy about the home being in full view of the village’s church and other ‘heritage assets’. The house is due to be built within the field (boxed in blue), while the historic St Michael and All Angels Church is circled at the bottom (in red)
Neighbours are unhappy that the eco-home will be in the full view to the rear of the village’s Grade II*-listed church, St Michael and All Angels, which has Saxon origins. The view of her field, where the house is due to be built, is circled above
A protest group called ‘Whitwell Residents’ has instructed solicitors to fight the case amid concerns that it ‘could open the floodgates for similar projects gaining approval, thereby diminishing the rural assets of the county’.
Mrs Titterton-Fox, who has been a councillor on Rutland County Council since March 2017, has been left upset by people trying to stop her building the property in the village, which she said she had invested in for two decades.
She told the Stamford Mercury: ‘I don’t know why you’d object to something you can hardly see. There’s been a concerted programme of intimidation through social media. It’s really sad.’
Mrs Titterton-Fox, who has two sons and a three-year old grandson, added of her recent health scares: ‘Going through that really makes you think about your future.
‘We want to downsize to a three-bedroom property that will future-proof our requirements. It’s all on one floor so as I get older I don’t have to worry about stairs or falling.’
Mrs Titterton-Fox has said the ‘Field House’ home would be one of Britain’s most energy-efficient properties
Fifteen neighbours have raised objections to the new ’21st century farmhouse’, claiming it would be a ‘blot on the landscape’
Mrs Titterton-Fox hopes to create the single-storey ‘Field House’ home in one of the two fields she owns in Whitwell
Mrs Titterton-Fox has been left upset by people trying to stop her building the property (cross-section pictured) in the village
One resident wrote: ‘Field House will… ruin the look of this unassuming village. The design is very innovative, in the correct setting it would not be a problem – but not in keeping with this village.’
And another said: ‘The development will not add value, enhancement to the village or local surroundings, indeed quite the opposite. It will devalue all adjoining properties and will become an eyesore.
‘The proposed location is totally inappropriate for this modern design building and will create noise and light pollution in addition to a significant loss of privacy to adjoining neighbours.
‘The plans lack detail around key issues such as outbuildings, parking, visitor movements, plant and machinery storage and access to key services.’
‘No regard has been made to the Heritage Status of the village and the fact the development will be seen from most vantage points of the village.
Mrs Titterton-Fox began renting the two fields in 2002 before buying them in 2004, and is now hoping to build the house
The application is likely to be considered by the council’s planning committee in October or November this year
Mrs Titterton-Fox, who is the managing director of an IT company, currently owns this five-bedroom house in the village
Mrs Titterton-Fox, who began renting the two fields in 2002 before buying them in 2004, started farming with sheep before moving onto cattle and pigs – and she now sells surplus meat under the name ‘June’s Farm’.
Speaking previously to East Midlands website Great Food Club, she said: ‘I have always been a fan of the TV series The Good Life so when an opportunity came up to buy a house in Whitwell with some land, we moved.’
But local residents have claimed the council gave Mrs Titterton-Fox preferential treatment by giving her a grant paying for 40 per cent of the £3,000 required for a pre-planning design review of the home.
However, the farmer said anyone in Rutland could get this grant and she did not apply in the end. Her application is likely to be considered by the council’s planning committee in October or November this year.
Mrs Titterton-Fox, who has a Master of Business Administration from the Open University, has also been the managing director of IT maintenance company You Systems in Peterborough since 2001.