An ambitious plan to build a modernist mansion complete with sauna, pool and waterfall at a Herefordshire beauty spot has been denied planning permission.

Mark Yardley applied in 2021 to build what was to be the six-bedroom Glenwood Springs, on Chase Road, Upper Colwall in the Malvern Hills National Landscape (formerly AONB).

Having drawn over 30 objections, the application was eventually redirected to be decided by Herefordshire Council’s planning committee yesterday (March 13).


Recommending approval, planning officer Andrew Banks said that though national planning policy discourages new building in open countryside, one exception is for designs “of exceptional quality, that significantly enhance their immediate setting” – a test which he thought Glenwood Springs met.

But Coun John Stock of Colwall parish council disputed this, saying the design “is just boxes”, and was not representative of the area.

The parish had unanimously agreed to “strongly” oppose the plan on three separate occasions, he said.


A Mr Barnes, representing 27 residents, added that the “excessively large” proposal was “in an unsustainable location within a treasured landscape, which would not be enhanced”.

Defending his plan, Mr Yardley said: “I simply wish to build a family home in a place I love” – which would also be home to his terminally ill mother.

An independent design review had been “highly complimentary” of his proposal, which featured “potentially award-winning” sustainable energy measures, he said.

Hereford Times: The proposed six-bedroom house would have had extensive viewsThe proposed six-bedroom house would have had extensive views (Image: application)

But local ward member Coun Helen Heathfield said “everyone” she had spoken to about the plan had objected to it.

“It is not thoughtful enough of a national landscape,” she said. “There is also an over-supply of four-plus bedroom homes.”

Backing the plan, Coun Bruce Baker said he thought is was “of exceptional quality and innovative design”.

“This would be a super house, I find it difficult to find anything to object to, though I dread to think how much it would cost to build,” he said.

But Coun Diana Toynbee questioned whether “a single dwelling with a pool, a sauna and a huge footprint could be a blueprint for sustainable design”.

The committee voted to refuse the application.