Occupying one of Rochdale’s most enviable plots – and surrounded by some of the borough’s most impressive houses – sits a dilapidated bungalow that was once considered to be the “dream home”.
But sadly, it’s never been lived in.
The bungalow – situated on the western shore of Littleborough’s Hollingworth Lake – was built in 1998 by retired couple Dr. Stephen Watkins and his wife Elizabeth, who wanted somewhere to relax after their stressful working lives.
The couple never disclosed how much they spent on the building, but it included a bespoke library, so you can bet it probably set them back a fair bit.
However, the property has remained unfinished due to “issues during the construction”.
Its sad history has even been cited at Westminster as an example of what can go wrong for people who build their own homes.
Since 2001, the property has been the subject of a lengthy legal battle over the quality of the building work and its safety for occupation. It finally came to an end in December 2018 after two decades’ of disputes – first with the firm that built the property, and then with the National House Building Council (NHBC) which they had taken out a ‘Buildmark’ warranty and insurance policy.
Finally, the claim – involving surveyors and the financial ombudsman – was settled, and the sum paid out by the NHBC was enough to finish the property. Unfortunately in December 2018, the Watkins found out that Rochdale Borough Council wanted to CPO (Compulsory Purchase Order) the bungalow.
Rochdale Borough Council has described the bungalow as a “blight on the borough”, and said it believes the property “detracts from its surroundings and spoils the outlook”.
And now, two years later, this CPO has been successful.
A planning application has now been submitted to “finally remove the unoccupied bungalow from the shores of Hollingworth Lake” and build two detached, four / five bedroom houses on its site, with off-road parking for three or four cars.
The design and access statement reads: “They are large, detached houses, on good sized plots, which reflects the existing character of Lake Side.
“They would benefit from adequate parking and amenity and, as such, would not represent overdevelopment of the site.
“The proposals would also provide an additional, new dwelling in this attractive location.”
Richard Keys and Andy Gray to give first UK TV interview since sexism scandal
Former Sky Sports presenting duo Richard Keys and Andy Gray are set to give their first UK interview since they were sacked for a number of sexist remarks back in 2011.
Once regular mainstays on the Premier League‘s long-term broadcasting partner, Keys and Gray haven’t made any British media appearances since their high-profile scandal which highlighted the prevailing sexism in football at the time and, sadly, is still underlying throughout large sections of sport today.
Now, after being approached by fellow controversial TV personality Piers Morgan, the punditry pair will be discussing the incident on national television for the first time in more than a decade, as well as reflecting on their careers since then.
Keys and Gray have been consigned to working on the Qatari network beIN SPORTS since 2013 after they went from being among the most well-known sports commentators to two of the most vilified public figures in the early 2010s.
For anyone still unaware even all the years later, the two Sky employees were caught making a number of sexist comments towards then lineswoman, Sian Ellis-Massey, in a leaked audio recording during which Keys remarked: “someone better go down there and explain the offside rule to her”.
Responding to the jibe, Gray responded by saying “Can you believe that, a female linesman… women don’t know the offside rule”, before his partner in crime responded, “the game’s gone mad”.
Ellis-Massey went on to become the UK’s first female referee and remains one of the leading officials in English football, having also adjudicated games in the Europa League and Women’s World Cup.
To make matter worse, a clip of Keys making similarly inappropriate and offensive remarks while having a conversation with Jamie Redknapp in the Sky Sports studio was also unearthed shortly after, as the lead anchor made a series of crass jokes about sex with the footballer’s former girlfriend.
Speaking in a now infamous BT interview shortly after, Keys insisted that his behaviour was “just banter” and seemed to offer little genuine remorse following the outburst.
Gray has also had little to say about his “unacceptable comments” in the years following, so it’s fair to say a fair few people will be tuning in to watch how the two approach this sit-down.
Andy Gray and Richard Keys’ Piers Morgan Uncensored interview airs at 8pm on TalkTV on Monday, 28 November.
Featured Image — beIN SPORTS/Piers Morgan (via Twitter)
RuPaul star Alyssa Edwards announces 2023 UK tour with Manchester date
RuPaul and Dancing Queen star Alyssa Edwards is coming to Manchester next year with her newly announced UK tour.
Edward’s critcally-acclaimed smash-hit show, Becoming Alyssa, The Life Story Of A Traveling Queen, is making it’s way over from America to the UK in May of 2023.
Becoming Alyssa is an epic, must-see, tell-all and dance-all story about her life growing up, her extraordinary drag career and incredible journey to finding love.
Alyssa – real name Justin Dwayne Lee Johnson – is an American entertainer, choreographer and television personality, best-know for appearances on appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race, America’s Got Talent and, of course, his own highly-pooular Netlfix series, Dancing Queen.
Becoming one of the most beloved characters to every grace the Drag Race back in 2012, Edwards following has continued to grow ever since, enjoying a sold-out run at the Vaudeville Theatre in the West End back in 2021, before embarking on a massive US tour spanning 31 different cities.
His previous tour, Entitled the Life, Love and Lashes, was a self-proclaimed “one-diva show” that pulled back the curtain to reveal some of Alyssa’s most intimate secrets and this latest iteration promises to go even further.
Having performed to droves of fans across Europe, Asia, as well as North, Central and South America, not to mention teaching dance classes back in his hometown of Mesquite, Texas at his award-winning dance studio, Beyond Belief Dance Company, you can expect Johnson’s show to non-stop action.
Tickets go on sale at 9am on Friday, 2 December. You can buy them HERE.