Manchester Evening News reports: A man who wants to replace his draughty old house with a new eco-home is being driven up the wall by planners. Father-of-three John Thompson, 43, has already spent �40,000 on plans to knock down his house in the Wilmslow green belt so that he can build a contemporary, environmentally-friendly family home.

But he has now been refused planning permission for a second time after being told the new three-bedroomed sustainable building would look "too modern". Meanwhile he is stuck with his electricity-consuming, uninsulated, draughty, single-glazed Battery House in Battery Lane.

In his new home he would have used the latest eco-materials - lightweight concrete for the walls, reconstituted timber for the frame, recycled rubber for the flat roof, and solar panels to generate electricity. The design got an "excellent" rating in an independent Eco Homes assessment. It also impressed Macclesfield council's design officer, the Wilmslow Trust, and Cheshire Wildlife, who supported the application.

In a report to the sub-committee, the design officer said: "The contemporary design of the proposals would have a sculptural, bold character in the landscape. This is not considered to be detrimental to the surroundings, and harmonises with the natural environment in a very artistic fashion. The whole concept is to be encouraged."

But the council planning sub-committee rejected the scheme because of the views of a planning inspector, ruling on a previous application for a larger house on the site. She had said the new house would be so different from any other in the locality in terms of shape, style, and design and materials that it would fail to reflect any aspect of the local character, making it unacceptable in the countryside.

Mr Thompson said: "It is really getting me down. This has been going on for three years with negotiations and site visits. The government is all in favour of sustainable housing, and yet the council will not allow me to build a sustainable contemporary house."