Conservationists row with Rochelle and Marvin Humes over building plans at £1.7m Essex mansion

Former JLS star Marvin, 34, and ex-Saturdays singer Rochelle, 30, at the Global Awards last Sunday

Former JLS star Marvin, 34, and ex-Saturdays singer Rochelle, 30, at the Global Awards last Sunday

Former JLS star Marvin, 34, and ex-Saturdays singer Rochelle, 30, at the Global Awards last Sunday

Conservationists have sparked a row with Rochelle and Marvin Humes after claiming their plans to build a gym at their £1.7million Essex mansion could destroy protected tree species.

The celebrity couple submitted plans to demolish a run-down double garage next to their property and construct a leisure building which includes a Jacuzzi and steam room last month.

But council conservationists have objected to the proposals and say that the plans are in a conservation area where all trees are ‘legally protected.’

The couple had hoped the current plans would be given the go-ahead after an earlier bid to upgrade their home was turned down by Epping Forest District Council who ruled the development would be ‘too dominant’ and harm the green belt area.

The 18th-century mansion which is located next to Rod Stewart’s former home which he sold last month includes a bar, DJ-booth, music room and cinema. 

In planning documents, Melinda Barham, trees and landscape officer at the council, said last week: ‘The site is within the Copped Hall Conservation Area, as such all trees are legally protected.

‘Additionally there is a “blanket” Tree Preservation Order on the land directly adjacent to the existing garage.

‘It is unclear whether the existing concrete foundation will be used as the base for building.

The celebrity couple want to demolish a run-down double garage and construct an imposing out-house – including a jacuzzi and steam room – at their £1.7 million Essex mansion. Their home is pictured (bottom) with Rod Stewart's place (top), which he sold for £4.5m last month

The celebrity couple want to demolish a run-down double garage and construct an imposing out-house – including a jacuzzi and steam room – at their £1.7 million Essex mansion. Their home is pictured (bottom) with Rod Stewart's place (top), which he sold for £4.5m last month

The celebrity couple want to demolish a run-down double garage and construct an imposing out-house – including a jacuzzi and steam room – at their £1.7 million Essex mansion. Their home is pictured (bottom) with Rod Stewart’s place (top), which he sold for £4.5m last month

‘However, irrespective of this, the new building incorporates shower and toilet facilities which will require excavations.

‘These will almost certainly be within the rooting area of protected trees.

‘At Planning Application stage (irrespective of whether it is a ‘full’ or ‘householder’ application) the feasibility of the proposal in relation to trees needs to be demonstrated.’ 

Marvin and Rochelle’s Humes’s planning agent said: ‘The client’s brief is to respect and enhance the original character of the property and the surrounding grounds whilst proposing a leisure building that which although modern in its functionality will improve the overall aesthetic of the estate to create a more comfortable addition to this beautiful home for 21st century living.

‘My clients are very sympathetic to the sensitivity require when carrying out repairs and alterations to a listed building and have invested a considerable amount of time investigating and researching the best techniques, materials and approaches to the restoration of the property.’

Mrs Barham added: ‘Lack of the required information will be grounds for refusal, in that it has not been demonstrated that the proposal could be implemented without a detrimental impact on trees on or adjacent to the site.

‘We object to the application on the grounds that tree related information has not been provided.

The couple had their initial plans rejected and have now submitted revised plans for the leisure building at their six-bed home

The couple had their initial plans rejected and have now submitted revised plans for the leisure building at their six-bed home

The couple had their initial plans rejected and have now submitted revised plans for the leisure building at their six-bed home

‘It has therefore not been demonstrated that the proposal could be implemented without a detrimental impact on trees.’

Mrs Barham added that Rochelle and Marvin Humes provide information to show that building the leisure building would not impact on the trees and the conversation areas.

Council planners are set to determine the plans towards the end of the month.

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