One of the country’s richest women could be forced to demolish a replica Fylde coast landmark she built at her sprawling Thornton estate - because it went up without planning permission.
Doreen Lofthouse, who made her fortune from Fleetwood throat lozenge giant Fisherman’s Friend, built a scaled-down version of the town’s Beach Lighthouse on unused farmland close to her home in Links Gate.
But with one neighbour calling the tall structure a ‘blot on the landscape’, Mrs Lofthouse could be ordered to pull it down if she isn’t granted retrospective planning permission by Wyre Council.
Colin Charnock, a resident in nearby Balfour Close, has objected to the 30ft structure, which is made from steel and oak and features balustrades and decorative clock faces.
In planning documents, he said: “It has spoilt the outlook from our house of natural open fields and trees. The lighthouse looks completely out of character and is a blot on the landscape.
“It is in no way in keeping with this semi-rural area and I am struggling to understand the reason or benefit to the community for the construction of a lighthouse in the middle of a field. Next to the coastline, yes, that would look OK.”
The lighthouse looks completely out of character and is a blot on the landscapeColin Charnock
Work began on the lighthouse last August and was finished in early November, according to paperwork filed with the council by Mrs Lofthouse last month.
Its dome can now be clearly seen reaching into the sky from nearby roads, while its base measures 12 square metres.
Mrs Lofthouse, who has pumped millions of pounds into the regeneration of Fleetwood over the years and was made an OBE for her charity and business work in 2008, is thought to be an admirer of the original Beach Lighthouse.
Also known as the Lower Lighthouse, it was designed in 1839 and operational a year later. Standing at 44ft tall, it was Grade II listed in 1950 and is a jewel in the town’s cultural crown.
A spokesman for Wyre Council said: “The lighthouse structure constitutes development which requires planning permission, but it was erected without such permission and is therefore unauthorised.
“The council’s attention was drawn to this development by a member of the public - who we cannot identify as it is confidential - and as a normal part of our procedure, where a development is found to require planning permission, the person responsible is invited to submit an application as a way of trying to authorise the development retrospectively.
“At this stage no decision or judgement on the acceptability of the development has been made.
“If planning permission is not granted, enforcement action to require its removal would follow unless it is taken down voluntarily.”
Mrs Lofthouse could not be reached for a comment.