CHANGES to a £4million home in the centre of a West Dorset village have been rejected by Dorset Council.

Residents and the parish council had complained that the extensive low carbon building has been completed higher than originally proposed and part of it in a changed position.

They say that the result is an over-dominant home which has partially blocked views of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and looks out of place in the Bothenhampton conservation area.

Residents, unhappy about what they saw as an unwillingness of Dorset Council to act, took on their own experts and consultants to voice their protests.

The council say some changes were approved as the building work progressed and said that for a project of its size and complexity some variance between original plans and the finished home was to be expected.

Planning officers and the council’s solicitor argued that the changes were not significant enough to do anything other than approve the house as it now stands.

But councillors disagreed and unanimously rejected the planning application.

Cllr Nick Ireland said in his view the basic problem was the height of the finished building which he said, would now inevitably mean a planning appeal: “Realistically are we going to say ‘pull it all down’?

“We’re fighting a battle which has already been lost. If we refuse it will go to appeal. What are the chances of success? …that building will still be there is some shape, or form,” he said.

Other councillors took a stronger line. Cllr Kelvin Clayton, who proposed rejecting the plans, said he had looked at the original photomontages when the building was being suggested: “It did show the wings to be down the slope and barely visible… the difference in height now is significant and has virtually obliterated the views,” he said.

Cllr Kate Wheller said she was incensed by the changes: “It’s 1.3metres higher; I’m 4 foot 11, that’s almost my entire height, and 3 metres closer, that’s ten foot, the size of a lot of people’s rooms.

"How can it get built without anyone noticing?”

She said the fact that the building continued after the changes were pointed out had shown a disregard for the planning process, although developers say they had been in touch with the council to discuss the changes.

Cllr Jean Dunseith said the roof lines should have been sorted out at the outset: “I don’t like it and I don’t see why residents should lose their view when they were promised a view,” she said.

Agent for the developer Andy Partridge told the planning committee that the changes should be considered in context for a substantial, complex house, on a large plot.

He said the changes to the angle of the south west wing was slight as were the differences in roof lines – only some sections being higher than originally expected, some lower, but none of them in his view making any appreciable difference to the overall appearance. He said when viewed from the other side of the valley the changes were imperceptible.

He said there had been no adverse comments to the changes from the council’s conservation officer, highways, Historic England or Natural England, and asked the committee to agree the proposal, as recommended by the council’s own planning team.

The committee was also told of a 12-signature petition saying there are no objections to the increase in roof height.

Consent for a new home, on the corner of Main and Duck Street, to replace a former farmhouse, was granted in April 2018.