Decision on star's dream home

Plans for a futuristic home actor Rowan Atkinson wants to build in Oxfordshire go before planners.

Some locals have described the home Mr Bean and Blackadder star wants constructed at Ipsden near Wallingford as a 'space age petrol station'.

The five-bedroom, glass fronted house has been designed by award-winning American architect Richard Meier.  It would be his first project in Britain, and would be built on the site of Handsmooth House, a 1930s building which would have to be demolished to make way for its modern replacement.

The Chilterns Conservation Board object to the plans, saying the design is "completely inappropriate" for such a prominent site in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  They're particularly opposed to the horizontal roof and white colour that the house would have.

Ipsden Parish Council also think the house would look out of place in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Emma Hulbert, who lives nearby, said: "This application proposes an ultra-modern house which dominates the surrounding landscape. While the modern architecture may be appropriate in London, it is wholly inappropriate to the rural landscape.''

Others have been keen to back the plan however, with architect Lord Richard Rogers praising Meier as "the greatest designer of houses today."

In a letter to South Oxfordshire District Council, which will make a decision on the planning application in September, he said: "The house, like all of Richard's best buildings, belongs to the classical tradition in architecture.

"The eroded white cuboid is carefully ordered in terms of scale, play of light and shadow, proportion and interlocking spaces."

He cites the example of St Paul's Cathedral as a building that faced opposition when it was built, adding: "All good architecture is modern in its time and is often shocking."

In his application, Richard Meier claims the new three-storey home would be "immensely energy efficient" and replace "a bland, uninspiring and unattractive collection of buildings.''  He concludes that the new building would honour "history, context, and the future of our planet."

The model of the proposed development is on show at South Oxfordshire District Council's offices in Crowmarsh Gifford, Oxfordshire.  Neighbours had until 13 August 2010 to submit their views on the plans.

Read more comments on the plans and see details