Number 15, Lake Side, Littleborough, is arguably the ‘dream home’ – but it has never been lived in.
The peculiar bungalow, which is situated on the western shore of Hollingworth Lake, Rochdale, was built in 1998 by pensioners Dr. Stephen Watkins and his wife Elizabeth, who wanted somewhere to relax after stressful working lives.
The couple never disclosed how much they spent on the building, but it included a bespoke library, so it can be assumed to be quite a substantial sum of money.
However, the house was never completed, and the dismal reason why has since been cited at Westminster as an example of what can go wrong for people who build their own homes.
To put it simply, the Watkins were unsatisfied with the quality of their home – a structural engineer would find weaknesses in the roof – and so left the house in its unfinished state as ‘evidence’.
The Watkins went on to spend two decades in vicious legal disputes – first with the firm that built the property, and then a lengthy battle with the National House Building Council (NHBC), with whom they had taken out a ‘Buildmark’ warranty and insurance policy.
The claim began in 2001, after three years of disagreements with the builders, and took over fifteen years to settle.
Finally, the claim, involving surveyors and the financial ombudsman, was settled and the sum paid out by the NHBC was enough to finish the property.
However, this wasn’t the end of the Watkins’ woes.
In December 2018, the couple found out that Rochdale council wanted to CPO (compulsory purchase order) the bungalow, which they say ‘detracts from its surroundings and spoils the outlook.’
And now, two years later, the CPO has been successful.
A planning application has been submitted to knock down the bungalow to build two new four to five bedroom detached houses on the site.
A planning statement read: “In 2019, the owners submitted a Pre-App to Rochdale Council – this pre-app was for the demolition of the existing bungalow and the construction of five town houses and one sheltered earth dwelling.
“The pre-app response stated that the proposals were not in keeping with the existing character of the area and represented an over-development of the site.”
Girl, 3, dresses as Queen and surprises care home residents across Greater Manchester for Jubilee
Isla’s outfit comes complete with a royal hat, pearls and even her own miniature corgi
A three-year-old girl is putting a smile on the faces of care home residents across Greater Manchester with her adorable Queen Elizabeth outfit for the upcoming Platinum Jubilee.
Young Isla Bates, from Wigan, is taking her love for the royal family across the county by dressing up as her Majesty and paying care home residents a very regal visit.
Her mum Alex, who works as a recruitment lead at care home operator New Care Homes, knew that her daughter loved nothing more than dressing up, so made her daughter a Queen outfit from the likes of Childrensalon, Monsoon and River Island.
And with Isla having visited care homes quite frequently in the past, Alex knew combining the two would make the perfect Jubilee surprise.
She told the Manchester Evening News: “Isla has come into work with me a few times as she’s grown up, and loves meeting the residents and everyone on the care team.
“We thought a mini royal visit would be a great way to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee. I think the celebrations represent a great opportunity where people, both young and old, can come together and engage in some wonderful activities.”
Isla kick-started her royal tour with a visit to Bridgewater Manor in Worsley, Salford to greet residents, where she made a very royal entrance along to the National Anthem.
The youngster also unveiled a Mountain Ash tree which was planted specifically as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy campaign, an initiative set up to encourage tree planting across the UK.
Alex said on the success of Isla’s visit: “Isla has thoroughly enjoyed her visits and we feel very privileged to be able to contribute in some way. I think it has truly been a really great experience all around.”
And Isla said on her experience: “I really like to wave like the Queen does. She has a very special way of waving. It makes people laugh and smile when I do it, which is really nice.”
Dawn Collett, Commissioning Director at New Care Homes, said the visits had gone ‘down an absolute storm’ with both residents and care home staff alike, adding: “We’re delighted that Isla and her mum are taking time to visit our care homes.
“They’ve played an incredible role in bringing the Jubilee celebrations to life for our residents and staff. Seeing the smiles on the faces of everyone is amazing – there have been some really special moments to remember such an amazing event.”
Isla and Alex are now planning on visiting more care homes across the region, including Ashlands Manor in Sale and Cheadle Manor in Stockport.
Boris Johnson was ‘not partying’ in photo of him drinking at ‘party’, Tory MP says
New photos show the Prime Minister raising a glass during an alleged leaving party in November 2020
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has defended Boris Johnson after newly-released photos showed him drinking during an alleged lockdown party.
ITV News published four photos showing the Prime Minister raising a glass with a group of aides around a table littered with alcoholic drinks and party food on November 13th 2020, when the country was in its second national lockdown.
The photos, which were reportedly taken during a leaving party, cast fresh doubt on Johnson’s claims that he was unaware of rule-breaking in Downing Street during the pandemic.
However, a number of Tory MPs have spoken out in defense of Johnson, including Shapps, who insisted that Johnson ‘wasn’t partying’ in the first place.
Speaking to Sky News’ Kay Burley this morning, Shapps said: “The question is, was he down there partying?
“No, clearly not. He’d gone by to say thanks and to raise a glass to a colleague who was leaving. And, you know, the answer to this of course, is the police have spent a lot of time with a lot of people and a lot of resources… And they’ve come to their conclusion.
“As we know, he wasn’t fined for that event.”
The Cabinet minister went on to say that Johnson is ‘completely mortified’ by the publishing of the photos, acknowledging that ‘it shouldn’t have happened’.
He said: “He [Johnson] has paid the fifty quid fine. That’s the right thing to do. He’s human, and sometimes humans make mistakes.”
Shapps added: “I don’t think the fact of the pictures, us seeing them for the first time, changes what the police and Sue Gray already know.”
Just one week ago, it was announced that Sue Gray’s highly-publicised report into government misconduct during the Covid lockdowns had been completed.
A source close to Gray and her team said she now intends to publish her report ‘as soon as possible’, adding that it could come as early as next week, according to The Independent.
Gino D’Acampo hits back at ‘haters’ who criticised him for kissing daughter on lips
The celebrity chef came under fire for being ‘too affectionate’ with his eight-year-old daughter Mia
Gino D’Acampo has hit back at ‘all the haters out there’ who criticised him for kissing his daughter on the lips.
The celebrity chef shared two photos of himself and his eight-year-old daughter Mia, one in which the pair shared a kiss and the other showing them laughing candidly together.
Gino captioned the post: “To all the haters out there……yes I still kiss my principessa on the lips, get over it and get a life”.
The famed chef was met with a wave of support from his followers for sharing the post, with his teenage son Rocco also commenting with a series of hearts.
Another fan commented: “Blooming Nora, please tell me this is a joke? My son is 20 and I still kiss and cuddle him!”
While another questioned: “How can anyone say it’s wrong to kiss your child?!?!”
Though Gino hasn’t always received this level of praise, with him recently dividing opinions after revealing his daughter gets sent to bed on an empty stomach if she doesn’t eat her dinner.
Appearing on the Sweat, Snot and Tears podcast late last year, Gino said he thinks children become fussy eaters as a result of parents who can’t be bothered to ‘fight’ over meal times.
He said: “When people talk to me about fussy children with food and ask me, ‘What do I think?’ I tell them there is no such a thing as a fussy child. There isn’t.
“But there is a thing of moron parenting. By moron, I mean idiots. A child doesn’t grow up fussy, it’s not possible. It’s the parents.”
Gino also likened his children to training a puppy, saying: “I’m not comparing a dog to a child, for God’s sake, but it’s the same as a when you have a little puppy.
“You only have to tell him off and pretend to smack him a couple of times not to do the wee on the floor. Eventually, he’s not going to do the wee on the floor, he’s going to go outside.”
An interesting perspective…