The Mr Bean star has submitted a planning application to demolish his 1930s country house in Oxfordshire and replace it with a $7.5 million (£5 million) modern “reinvention” and officials at South Oxfordshire District Council have given the plans the green light.
But the proposals have angered local residents, who describe the new home as “an ugly space-age petrol station” and accuse councillors of granting permission to Atkinson after being “seduced by money and fame”.
The Johnny English actor gave a five-minute presentation in front of the council’s planning committee on Wednesday (24Aug10) in a bid to win support for the building work.
During the meeting he said, “Musical harmony is not two people singing the same note but two people singing quite different notes that blend in a pleasing fashion. Blending in with the countryside, for many, simply reflects their familiarity with the architecture, looking at and living with the same kind of buildings they have grown up with and with which they feel comfortable.”
And Atkinson’s planning consultant, Haydn Morris, defended the star’s choice to hire U.S. architect Richard Meier to design the structure, adding, “He has built extensively around the world winning very many awards and he’s very highly regarded as one of the world’s leading architects. We truly believe that the proposal is not simply a replacement house, but a building that will stand the test of time to become a true classic.”
Atkinson is reportedly hoping to start work on the property next year (11).