THE owners of a Kilbirnie farm who built a five-bedroom house on their land without planning consent have had their application for retrospective permission refused - as the building “may be at significant risk of collapse”.

Applicant Gareth Wilson sought retrospective planning permission for the erection of a one-and-a-half-storey house plus associated outbuildings at Tennox Farm, off the B780 between Kilbirnie and Dalry.

The L-shaped home was completed last December but North Ayrshire Council issued an enforcement notice on the owners earlier this year requiring them to submit a planning application for the build.

With five bedrooms, the new house is the primary residential accommodation of the applicant and construction began during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A supporting statement lodged with the planning application said: “It is acknowledged that planning permission should have been sought prior to embarking on construction and as such the applicant is now seeking to address the planning breach.”

The document added: “The application has demonstrated that there is a locational need for the house to accommodate the applicant which provides the ability to work and live within the farm holding.

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“The construction is of a high-quality design incorporating quality materials and attention to detail that fits in extremely well within the existing farm holding and countryside setting.”

No objections were received from the Coal Authority, however, a report stated that there is “evidence of workings in shallow coal seams below the site”.

The council’s handling report said: “The Coal Authority’s records indicate that shallow coalmine workings underlie the site at a very shallow depth and that sufficient competent rock cover above the workings may not exist to afford the stability of the dwelling.

“New development and construction activity clearly has the potential to trigger new ground movement and the dwelling, as built, may therefore be at significant risk of collapse.

“Transient mine gases may also pose a risk to the health and safety of any future occupants.”

The council planning officer said: “The matters raised would suggest that prior investigation of ground conditions should have taken place in advance of any development taking place.

“The comments stating there is “significant risk of collapse” are of particular concern.”

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It was found the home also failed to meet key planning policies, and its design was not considered “exceptional or bespoke”.

The handling report said: “In conclusion, it is not considered that the application site constitutes a gap site, and given the potential risks to ground stability, it may not be an appropriate location even if it were.”

The applicants may still ask the council to review the decision to refuse permission, but if they are unsuccessful, the local authority could order the site to be restored to its original condition.

The handling report concluded: “The application was submitted in response to complaints that it had been built without planning permission, and was not, therefore, subject to any pre-application advice which would have provided an opportunity to discuss both the principle of development and potential design options.

“Had such discussions taken place, it is doubtful that the submitted design would have come forward, nor would have a site been selected where the risk of ground instability is considered to pose a significant risk to the health and safety of its occupants.”