A couple whose ‘odd-looking’ two-storey home extension was built without permission and encroaches onto a neighbour’s house have had a retrospective planning application refused.

Paul and Rachelle Horridge, of Helmshore Road, Haslingden, now have just a few weeks to remove the extension, which includes a first-floor child’s bedroom.

They may have to demolish the whole structure, Rossendale councillors have heard.

A planning dispute over the unauthorised rear extension to the home has been running for some time.

Enforcement action first began one year ago and has since been extended. The latest deadline for the extension to be gone is late January.

Councillors this week heard claims the couple had believed their builder would sort out any planning issues needed for an extension.

Now the couple, who have children, face a ‘catastrophic’ situation, it was said.

The two-storey extension is too big, has different widths between its floors, and inappropriate flat roof and wooden cladding. It also crosses the boundary into next door’s land.

And ground work linked to the extension could also harm the roots of a protected tree in an adjoining park. Neighbours have called for its removal.

Rachelle Horridge spoke in favour of the retrospective application, submitted by her husband Paul.

She was tearful as she said: “We find ourselves in this extremely stressful situation because we trusted a builder who said the extension did not need a planning application."

Neighbour Graham Lowthion said: “This has been turned-down twice before by Rossendale Council and the council has been backed-up by a national planning inspector.

"Everyone says it is out of character with other houses. Other houses in the area have single-storey kitchen extensions."

In a vote, the majority of councillors on the committee refused the retrospective application.