A PROPOSAL to demolish an historic country house close to Alresford and replace it with a new home – more than 60 per cent bigger – has drawn criticism from neighbours.

Andross Manor, in Ropley, was sold to Dr and Mrs G Datta in August 2020, having been on the market for £2.1 million. Now, the couple have applied to knock down the property and replace it with a new dwelling.

The applicants say that the current house was constructed in the 1930s, but estate agents Savills’ property listing states that the “oldest part of the six-bedroom property dates back to 1744 when it was originally two cottages, and over the centuries the house has been extended and remodelled to the stunning home that exists today”.

The application to East Hampshire District Council details that the new property will contain five ensuite bedrooms, along with a large master bedroom with ensuite and dressing room, and a gym and pool house.

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Concerns have been raised about the new location for the home and its scale, but residents have also criticised plans to demolish three existing timber stable buildings and replace them with a “low-profile single-storey annexe building”.

One resident, whose name has been redacted by the council in their objection, said that the annexe appears to “constitute a separate residential development”.

They raised issue over a loss of privacy, with windows in the annexe having a direct view into their living area, and questioned the need for a permanent staircase in the annexe as it is listed as “single-storey”.

The resident continued: “Whilst I appreciate that the applicant has his own reasons for wanting to demolish it, I feel that the replacement dwelling, and the proposed new annexe, will have a significant and negative impact on the character and appearance of the surrounding area.”

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Another unnamed neighbour also raised a concern surrounding privacy, saying: “Because the proposed new development is to be built on a higher elevation than our single storey house, even the ground floor windows in the guess flat and gym will all have a direct line of sight into our main living area and this will therefore have a great significant impact on our privacy and mental health.”

The resident said that to protect their privacy, if the application was given permission, they would need to erect a 20-foot fence in part of their garden.

Another neighbour wrote to the council with a key concern about whether the construction of the annexe would be lawful “as the site appears to fall outside of the residential curtilage”. They continued: “The proposed annexe is in a different location to the existing annexe and is much larger than the stables it is replacing.”

The resident also said: “In fact, the relocation of the replacement dwelling to the eastern section of the plot, together with the 62 per cent increase in mass, creates an adverse impact on the character and appearance of the surrounding area.”

To view the application, go to planningpublicaccess.easthants.gov.uk/online-applications and search 23929/004.

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