A BUSINESSMAN could lose hundreds of thousands of pounds on a development of holiday cottages at a Sheffield beauty spot after council chiefs said they were a foot too high and ordered him to pull them down.
Eric Lidster, who runs a plant and machinery hire business in Barnsley, has been rebuilding old wooden houses at Ewden village as stone properties which he hoped to rent out to tourists.
He bought the plots with planning permission already obtained by previous owner Yorkshire Water.
Sheffield Council decided the four new homes, on Pheasant Lane, off New Mill Bank, “exceeded the approved height and footprint” and issued an enforcement notice ordering him to bulldoze the cottages and grass over the sites.
But Mr Lidster, whose firm E J Lidster Ltd, is based in Lundwood, Barnsley, is appealing against the decision - arguing the extra height of the new homes, up to 30 centimetres taller than the original designs, is “insignificant”.
His case will be heard by the Planning Inspectorate at a date to be fixed.
Mr Lidster started rebuilding after spending £500,000 buying up almost all a large hillside site from Yorkshire Water, where dozens of wooden homes from the 1920s used to stand. They were built to house workers constructing Ewden reservoir but most had been demolished.
Mr Lidster has spent hundreds of thousands on construction. Three new houses, with large front windows for views across the valley, were to be let as holiday cottages.
Mr Lidster was ordered to stop work at Ewden in November, with two houses nearing completion. Two more are half-built. He has planning permission for two more to be rebuilt.
Sheffield Council planning officers said: “The approved plans were drawn to keep the impact of the houses on the openness of the countryside to an acceptable level. The development on site exceeds the approved height and the approved footprint.
“The impact on the green belt is significantly greater than the dwellings approved under planning permission, causing harm to the open character of an area of high landscape value.”
Mr Lidster admitted the homes were slightly higher than allowed but said they were of high quality and not detrimental to the area.