Work halted on Brexit & Ukip backer Arron Banks’ luxury homes in Bath amid complaints from locals

Work has been halted on Brexit and Ukip backer Arron Banks’ six luxury homes in Bath after the builders went into administration and amid complaints from locals.

The properties, marketed to residents commuting to London, were expected to fetch more than £1million each once constructed.

Permission for plans submitted by A Banks was granted in 2015 but construction only began in March – days before it was due to expire.

Banks’ Bristol-based property investment company Old Down Ltd submitted amended plans – which include changing the stone brickwork to Scandinavian redwood cladding.

The changed have angered neighbours and green councillor Lin Patterson who described the branded the development “intrusive”.

Bath and North East Somerset Council’s landscape team also raised concerns about its impact on nearby trees.

Bricklayers left the site, on land beside Avon Rugby Football Club, last month after their firm Helm Construction went into administration.

If built the homes will have excellent views of the water meadows of Bathampton.

Original plans submitted by A Banks were approved by the local council in 2015.

But locals hope to obstruct the plans – with many filing objections.

Mr Carney wrote on the council planning portal: “The original plans (over four years ago) proposed houses with a stone appearance that was in keeping with the Bath stone of the neighbourhood.

“The amendment shows this has been totally replaced by a “Scandinavian Redwood Cladding” and “Semi-dressed building stone” combination that would look out of place in this sensitive area of Bath.

“The amended plans show that the garages will be built closer to us.

“For such a potentially intrusive development it is unacceptable that the plans do not cover their design in sufficient detail to gain any impression of the garages’ appearance.”

Green Councillor Lin Patterson wrote in her objection: “It has made unauthorised changes to the structures and positioning of the buildings.

“It now is highly intrusive to nearby residents.

“It is unsafe due to flood risk. It is likely to be unstable due to ground springs.

“The exterior finish is incongruous. Please consider this in committee.”

The new application seeks to remove a condition which “ensures that trees to be retained are not adversely affected by the development proposals”.

In its response, the B&NES Council landscape team raised concerns about the amended plans.

“The approval of this application … would allow the applicant to vary the landscape proposals in any way they see fit should they choose to carry out soft landscape work,” B&NES wrote.

Helm was appointed to “bring the scheme forward on behalf of a private developer”, according to a press release on its website from March 20, 2018.

The release, titled “Work to start on luxury homes near Solsbury Hill”, quoted then contract manager Simon Larkin saying: “This scheme will deliver six luxury homes expected to be close to the £1m bracket.

“Batheaston is an ideal location near Solsbury Hill with great connectivity to the A4, M4 and A363.

Old Down Ltd can expect to hear soon whether it will be allowed to continue with the development.

The council’s target decision date of December 14 has already expired.

Mr Banks has been in the media spotlight since he famously donated £1 million to Ukip in 2014.

He bankrolled the Leave.EU campaign in the 2016 referendum on the UK leaving the European Union to the tune of £9 million.

After the success of the leave campaigns, he issued a disparaging description of the residents of Bath, where a majority of people voted to remain in the EU.

The tycoon said in a tweet that Bath was “full of bleeding heart liberals” and “soft rich Tories”.

In November, Mr Banks was named among the subjects of an planned investigation by the National Crime Agency over “suspected electoral law offences” relating to the Leave.EU group which he co-founded.

He called the probe “ludicrous”.

The homes have been marketed to Londoners as a “very good deal” and “ideal for commuters”.

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