Laing O’Rourke boss wants to rebuild his mansion in conservation area of Essex

Ray O’Rourke, chairman and chief executive of contractor Laing O’Rourke, has been refused planning permission to demolish and rebuild his own house.

O’Rourke wants to knock down his mansion in Fryerning in Essex and rebuild it, but it is in a conservation area.

The Brentwood Gazette reported that last week O’Rourke’s design team presented an appeal against a decision to deny planning permission.

The council originally refused planning permission last November because the mansion, which is thought to be valued at around £7m, was of “considerable architectural merit and makes a positive contribution to the character and appearance of the Conservation Area”.

A team consisting of a planning agent, a design expert and an architectural historian from Cambridge University presented the appeal last Tuesday arguing that the new building would bring a higher level of design quality.

But a heritage expert from the council argued the building is inspired by Essex architect George Sherrin and therefore had historical significance.

O’Rourke had already received permission for a two storey extension the front of the house and a single storey extension to the rear of the house in September before he applied to completely rebuild the home.