‘It looks like a prison’: Grand Designs viewers blast £1.5 million home which was granted planning permission for ‘outstanding architectural quality’ – and say it looks more like an Amazon warehouse
- Grand Designs viewers were left disappointed by this week’s big build in the Derbyshire Dales
- Married couple Mike and Sarah built a farming longhouse for themselves and their parents to live in
- Viewers wrote on Twitter that the house looked more like a US supermax prison from a crime documentary
Grand Designs viewers have blasted the design of a £1.5 million house which they think resembles a US high-security prison.
Married couple Sarah and Mike set out to build a farming longhouse in the Derbyshire Dales where they could live alongside each of their parents, which they hoped would cost £900,000 to construct but actually coming in at £1.2 million.
The farming longhouse is a centuries-old house design which is meant to protect both farmers and livestock from the elements as wind and rain batter the land.
Viewers slammed the house built by Mike and Sarah in the Derbyshire Dales on this week’s episode of Grand Designs
Mike and Sarah built a huge farming longhouse which had an open-plan kitchen, dining and living area
The house also contained separate living quarters for Mike’s parents, Jean and Robin, and Sarah’s mother, Sylvia
Sarah and Mike (pictured) revealed at the end of the episode that their project had cost nearly £1.5 million including the £250,000 they had spent on purchasing the land
However after seeing Sarah and Mike’s modernised version of the traditionally bricked style, viewers expressed their disappointment on Twitter, likening their family home to a ‘Miami mega-jail’.
At the beginning of the programme, presenter Kevin McCloud also hinted at his scepticism over the idea, saying it was ‘quite romantic in a way’ but adding ‘it’s not an idea you want to repeat in the 21st Century’.
Mike and Sarah, who were living on a cul-de-sac in Derby when they first embarked on the project, said they were at a crossroads after both their daughters, Francesca and Isabella, had gone off to university and moved away after graduating.
However, having bought a small farm holding several years earlier and taking on the flock of sheep that came with it, the couple decided it was time to build their own home on the swathe of land, which would also provide a home for Mike’s parents, Jean and Robin, and Sarah’s mother, Sylvia.
While speaking to Kevin, the couple said they had paid £250,000 for the land in the first place and were looking at an estimated £900,000 to build the house they wanted – adding up to nearly £1.2million in total.
A year and nine months after they began the project, Kevin went back to visit Sarah and Mike, who were living in the property with their parents
Viewers blasted the design of the house as looking like a ‘Miami mega jail’ or a ‘supermax prison’ seen in US crime documetaries
Inside the house, the vast space included a dining room with a high ceiling that allowed light to come into the living area
Mike and Sarah bought the small farming space several years earlier and, with no prior experience, took on a flock of sheep
However, from the savings the pair already had, plus the money they were due to receive from the sale of their cul-de-sac home, the couple believed they had the cash to make it happen. They also hoped the project would be completed in around a year.
‘We were complete novices – we don’t come from farming families or anything,’ Sarah admitted at the beginning of the episode.
However, Mike admitted there was a huge obstacle standing in the way of their vision, as there had previously been 26 planning applications put in to build a residential property on the site – all of which had been rejected.
In order to ensure their planning application was accepted, the couple had to submit plans for a house of ‘exceptional architectural quality’ that could become part of the landscape.
However in 2020, two years after submitting their application, Mike and Sarah were informed it had been accepted.
Explaining the plans for their 500sq m house to Kevin, Mike said: ‘It is a beautiful design.’
Mike and Sarah were only granted planning permission for the house after applying to build a home of ‘outstanding architectural quality’ – which viewers disputed
Kevin was shown around the almost-finished product by Mike and Sarah in August 2022, one year and nine months after they started building
Viewers were left unimpressed by the design of the house and took to Twitter to air their opinions on it
The original design included an open plan kitchen, dining and living area, plus an accessible bedroom and bathroom for Mike’s parents.
It also included private living quarters for Sylvia on the other side of the porch.
Mike and Sarah also made space within their extravagant design for an orchard and a space to grow fruit and vegetables, as well as plenty of resources for their livestock.
However, when Kevin went back to visit the couple in August 2022, a year and nine months after first meeting them and after the family had moved into the home, viewers took to Twitter to express their distaste at the finished product.
One person joked the cubic design of the house resembled a ‘Miami mega-jail’ from a Louis Theroux documentary.
Others agreed, with one person joking: ‘I want a house that looks like a supermax prison.’
One viewer thought the design of the house looked more like a ‘cross between a primary school and a health centre’ – but agreed it was nothing like a family home.
After the couple admitted at the beginning of the episode they had been granted planning permission to build a house of ‘outstanding architectural quality’, one viewer joked on Twitter they had actually built an ‘Amazon warehouse’.
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