Boris Johnson given permission to build a swimming pool in back garden
Boris Johnson is given permission to build a swimming pool in his back garden – without needing to create a ‘Newtopia’
- The former PM has been granted permission for a pool at Brightwell Manor
- Mr Johnson bought the £4million Grade II-listed Oxfordshire home in May
Boris Johnson will finally be able to build a pool in his backyard – without needing to create a ‘Newtopia’.
The former prime minister has been granted permission for an outdoor pool at his mansion in Oxfordshire despite the nearby presence of a newt colony and opposition from local officials.
Mr Johnson, who bought his £4million home in May, vowed to do ‘whatever it takes’ to get the 11-by-four metre project built after a holding objection from a government ecologist delayed proceedings.
South Oxfordshire District Council last night granted approval to building work at the Grade II-listed Brightwell Manor he shares with wife Carrie and their three children.
They said Mr Johnson will need to ‘enhance’ a nearby orchard to help compensate for any loss to biodiversity.
Boris Johnson will finally be able to build a pool in his backyard – without needing to create a ‘Newtopia’
South Oxfordshire District Council last night granted approval to building work at the Grade II-listed Brightwell Manor (pictured) he shares with wife Carrie and their three children
Nearby trees must also be protected under the council’s conditions, while he must follow the local authority’s ‘Great Crested Newt’ principles.
BORIS JOHNSON: Yes, the pro-newt laws holding up my swimming pool sound barmy. But protect these amphibians we must – even if I have to build little newt motels!
In July, South and Vale countryside officer Edward Church said planning permission should not be granted due to ‘known populations of great crested newts in the east of the village.’
He said: ‘The proposed development falls within the red zone of highest risk to great crested newts.’
A holding objection was lodged, causing the application to be temporarily blocked.
But Mr Johnson said ‘there are certainly bodies of water nearby that could be hospitable to newts’.
In his Daily Mail column on August 5, Mr Johnson wrote: ‘If it turns out that our garden is so honoured and so fortunate as to be the home of some newts – great crested, palmate, whatever – I want you to know that I will do whatever it takes to protect them.
‘If we have to build little newt motels to house them in their trips past the swimming pool, then we will. If we have to create whole newt-friendly bunds to stop them falling in, we will.
‘We will excavate new ponds in which they can breed. We will make a Newtopia!’
Mr Johnson said previously in his Daily Mail column: ‘If it turns out that our garden is so honoured and so fortunate as to be the home of some newts — great crested, palmate, whatever — I want you to know that I will do whatever it takes to protect them’
The original planning application was lodged in June and came after Mr Johnson blamed ‘newt-counting’ red tape in the planning system for delays in housebuilding.
‘Why are we so slow at building homes by comparison with other European countries?’ he said. ‘Because time is money, and the newt-counting delays in our system are a massive drag on the productivity and the prosperity of this country.’
The Wildlife Trust said the great crested newt, protected under wildlife laws, is the biggest of Britain’s newt species, measuring up to 17cm.
Newt numbers are in decline, with habitat loss cited as their biggest threat.
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