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 last year, it was revealed the CPO had been successful.
A planning application was submitted to knock down the bungalow, so they could 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.”
Northern housing estate so rough bus drivers were forced to stop going there
The services were fully suspended over the weekend following a spate of antisocial behaviour
A northern housing estate became so plagued with anti-social behaviour that bus drivers were told to avoid stopping there.
Two bus routes through the Swarcliffe Estate in Leeds were cancelled earlier in the year after teenagers reportedly targeted the vehicles and passengers with stones and rocks.
In a social media statement, First West Yorkshire announced that the 40 and 56 services would be avoiding the estate in both directions, citing ‘attempted vandalism’.
The tweet thread read: “SERVICE UPDATE – 40/56. Due to attempted vandalism, we are diverting away from the Swarcliffe Estate in both directions.
“So sorry for any issues this may cause on your journey.
“This will be in place until the end of service this evening. This is for the safety of both our drivers and passengers. I am sorry for the disruption caused.”
In a post on Facebook, Councillor Jessica Lennox, of Cross Gates and Whinmoor ward, addressed the vandalism, confirming that the 40 and 56 buses would be diverting around the area ‘as a result of some serious vandalism that took place earlier’.
Residents have previously spoken about how they ‘live in fear’ on the estate, saying intimidating anti-social behaviour is becoming worse.
One local teenager told Leeds Live of the youths who vandalised the buses: “They throw stones and break the buses whenever they come down here. I wasn’t surprised.
“Just the other day I saw three buses stopped at the bottom of the estate because they all had glass smashed everywhere. It had gone over a nearby mum and her pram.
“If you see a big group of people anywhere around here you turn around and go the other way.”
Her grandmother added: “Stones are always thrown at buses around here as there’s nothing for the kids to do… It’s really bad where big groups gather around the Co-Op.
“My grandson lives around the corner and he’s been attacked twice. We don’t really go out at night, and would use a taxi if we did. It’s not nice for the drivers or the passengers.”
Another resident, Keith Pettman, told the outlet that the estate was suffering major issues with antisocial behaviour, saying: “There’s some youths on the estate that are a little rowdy.
“They mess about with bikes and things like all bored teenagers do but I know they get in the way of buses and people.
“There’s definitely vandals around that will smash a few things up every so often. The field also gets ripped up and recently a load of dustbins got set on fire.”
Pub chain giving away FREE pints to anyone with one of these 50 surnames
Are you on the list?
England’s World Cup campaign got off to a flying start yesterday with a convincing 6-2 win over Iran.
Our Welsh neighbours – who are also in Group B with us – managed a draw with the USA, thanks to a late Gareth Bale penalty.
But goals aren’t the only thing to celebrate this World Cup, as a pub chain is giving away FREE pints to lucky fans who have one of 50 surnames.
Greene King is dishing out a free drink to anyone who has the same surname as a player in either the England or Wales squads.
If you have one of the lucky last names, you can claim a pint on the house at any point during an England or Wales game.
All you have to do is head to a participating Greene King pub with your driving licence or passport to prove your name.
Anyone with one of these 50 surnames can claim the free pint:
All you need to do is head down to your nearest participating boozer and show the bar your photo ID during any England or Wales World Cup group stage game.
You can find the nearest pub to you taking part in the offer here.
Will Ferrell appeals for spare room in North West to watch Eurovision
Got any room for Will?
Earlier this year it was announced that Eurovision 2023 would be held in Liverpool instead of Kiev, due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Following the news, all hotels and accommodation in the city quickly sold out – with many establishments dramatically increasing their prices in the process.
As such, finding somewhere to stay during the annual song contest has become nigh on impossible, even if you’re a Hollywood superstar like Will Ferrell.
Will recently appealed for help in finding accommodation for next year’s Eurovision during an appearance on BBC Radio 2 to promote his new film Spirited.
The actor previously wrote and starred in the 2020 film Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, playing Icelandic singer Lars Erickssong.
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During the BBC interview, Zoe Ball mentioned how much she enjoyed the film, to which Will responded: “And it’s in Liverpool this year, isn’t it?”
After being asked if he wanted to go, he said: “You know my mother really wants me to take her to Eurovision, she’s dying to go and she’s always wanted to go to Liverpool.”
Will added: “But aren’t the hotels all booked now?”
After the comedian appealed for a spare room to stay in, Zoe said: “If anyone is willing to put up Will Ferrell and his mum in Liverpool or the Liverpool area during Eurovision.”
Will revealed his requirements: “We need a clean, tidy room. We’ll share a room – two bunk beds that’s all we need. I know we’re kidding but my mom would love that, she’d be thrilled.”
Eurovision 2023 will consist of two semi-finals on May 9th and 11th, before the final on May 13th.