A FAMILY building their dream home say the council favour developers over locals after having  material for their build rejected.

Leona and Laurence Jacobson spent their life savings transforming a derelict house for their two young children but have been left devastated after a planning rejection.

The site on Bute Drive in Highcliffe was abandoned for 20 years and neighbours said they were “relieved” when plans were approved to replace the “eyesore”. 

Bournemouth Echo: The site that was derelict on Bute Drive for 20 years

Leona said their plans were approved in January 2023, conditional to a bat survey, but were left shocked when a condition was added in June 2023.

BCP Council planning ordered the approval subject to the roof tiles being changed from grey to brown, to keep with the appearance of neighbouring properties.

However, Leona said there are numerous properties in the neighbourhood that have upgraded their roof tiles to a more modern aesthetic.

Bournemouth Echo: Modern property seen from Bute Drive

The family appealed against the decision, which they were advised they had a good chance of winning.

During the 10 month wait for an appeal decision, Leona and Laurence were forced to install a roof on the property.

However, just one month after installing the planned tiles, their appeal was rejected.

Bournemouth Echo: The site in Highcliffe

“We have been paying for rent and our mortgage, as well as two council tax, and it is killing us,” said Leona.

“We spent our entire life savings to build our family home that we are going to live happily ever after in.

“It is just not fair.

“We are not developers we are a family, and each rejection that makes no sense is impacting us, our mental health and the children.”

Bournemouth Echo: The rejected roof in Highcliffe

Leona added it will cost £7,500 to paint the grey tiles brown and if they are forced to replace the material, it will cost them £12,500 in the next two weeks.

After this, it could cost them around £20,000 for a replacement. 

Highcliffe and Walkford Parish Council commented “strong support” on the application saying the style conforms exactly with the recently approved neighbourhood plan.

The planning inspectorate said on the reasons for the rejection: "The proposed materials would result in prominent, stark and incongruous dwelling, at odds with the prevailing character of its surrounds.”

Leona said the nearby properties within view of the site have the same roofing, but have been allowed.

The planning inspectorate said although visible from Bute Drive, the building is a considerable distance away.