One of the richest women in the UK, who owes her fortune to the popular cough sweet Fisherman’s Friend, has had a lighthouse built on unused farmland close to her home in Fleetwood. However, she has since learned that she may have to knock the structure down as she had it built without planning permission.
Doreen Lofthouse, 85, is such a huge fan of the Beach Lighthouse in Fleetwood, Lancashire that in August last year she began work on a 30ft replica. In November it had been completed, much to the chagrin of her neighbours, one of whom described it as “a blot on the landscape”.
The steel and oak structure is clearly visible from nearby roads, despite being a whole 14ft shorter than the real thing.
Colin Charnock, an unimpressed neighbour, explains:
“The lighthouse looks completely out of character and is a blot on the landscape.
“It is in no way in keeping with this semi-rural area and I am struggling to think of the reason or benefit to the community for the construction of a lighthouse in the middle of a field. Next to the coastline – yes, that would look okay.”
Doreen, who says if she does not get the retrospective planning permission she has applied for, will tie herself to the lighthouse in a bid to stop it getting demolished. She said:
“I am hoping to get planning permission granted – and if not then I guess I will tie myself to it before it is demolished. I guess I can understand why people would not like it – but it is on my land.
“We’ve had only one complaint so far, but they are free to give their view on it…I am a Fleetwood girl and I really like the structure – that’s why I built it.
“I’ve applied for planning permission to the council – and now all we can do is see if it gets approved.”
A statement by a spokesman for the council explains:
“The lighthouse structure constitutes development which requires planning permission, but it was erected without such permission and is therefore unauthorised.
“If planning permission is not granted enforcement action to require its removal would follow unless it is taken down voluntarily.”
However, in 2015 the same council said it was indebted to the Lofthouse family after Mrs Lofthouse made a personal donation of over £1 million towards the restoration of another of Fleetwood’s historical buildings – The Mount. The overall decision therefore is hotly anticipated and no doubt questions of equitable treatment will be asked by locals if permission is granted.
© www.propertysurveying.co.uk BT