RESIDENTS have been left fuming at their neighbour's £4million "fortress" home – which they say looks like a child built it with Lego.

Disgruntled locals in Cley-next-the Sea on the Norfolk coast are upset that its owner has not torn down the property.

London theatre boss Adam Spiegel and his wife Gay built the massive home but ended up in the the centre of an angry row that has split the community.

The controversial four-storey wooden-clad rectangular house overlooks the green in the tiny village with some labelling it an "eyesore".

Now, Mr Spiegel has been told he will have to demolish his extraordinary £4million seaside home after losing a fierce ten-year battle with planners over the property in the up-market village.

Mr Spiegel has since submitted plans for a smaller house on the site after being ordered to demolish it.

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But critics say that many of the “native” population are angry about the way planning laws appear to have been flouted.

Local David Gillings, said: “It is a real mystery that they were able to build the house in the first place. It just doesn’t fit in with the village and its surroundings.”

"This is a traditional Norfolk village and this place sticks out like a sore thumb.

"Every other property in the village is either original or made to look original, using traditional materials such as flint that has characterised the place.

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“But this place is just an eyesore – it looks as if it was designed by a five-year-old child of five using Lego bricks.”

An angry villager who did not want to be named said: "It is shocking that it was built in the first place. It is so out of keeping with every other property in the village.

"And it overlooks the village green and our wonderful historic church which make it even more incongruous.

"I reckon 90 per cent of the locals are against it. Apparently the owners are seeking to replace with a similar but smaller version.

"But it doesn’t sound as if that will be a lot better.”

And another echoed complaints, saying "Most people here hate it – it’s a real eyesore – it’s totally out-of-keeping with the village in scale, size and design. It’s too high, too high dominates the green and just doesn’t fit.

The owners have now lost an appeal against the planning authority’s order to “remove” the building.

However, the owners of the village’s two pubs, restaurant and shops are generally in favour of allowing the existing house to remain and are reluctant to criticise the family – who use the local facilities.

At the Three Swallow pub which faces the controversial home, bar-worker Sue Ansell, 40, who lives in the village said: "It would be a shame if it had to knocked down.

"Not everyone likes it but I know the owner was gutted when he was told it has to come down.

“And anything on that site is better than the old dilapidated flint cottage that was there before. The owner is very good to the village and helps out a lot.”

It comes as the planning inspector dismissed the Spiegels appeal for the retention of “an unauthorised contemporary house.”

A spokesman for North Norfolk District Council said ”We welcome this decision in what has been an important and complex case for the local community, the appellant and the council.

“The planning inspector’s final decision will require demolition of the unauthorised house by October 18 next year and remediation of ground levels on site three months after that date.

"The decision also  grants permission for an annex building and swimming pool. We will endeavour to work with the appellants to deliver the required outcomes from these decisions.”

Councillor Andrew Brown, planning enforcement portfolio for the council said:”I would like to thank the inspector, staff and legal team representing the council for their dedication and professionalism.”

“As Portfolio Holder I should like to thank the Inspector, staff and legal team representing North Norfolk District Council for their dedication and professionalism.”

Councillor Dr Victoria Holliday – who lives just a few hundred metres from the controversial property and is also on the parish council – said: "The parish council notes the Inspector's decision – and we feel the hearing was fair and comprehensive."

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The Sun have made repeated attempts to speak to the Speigels and their planning agent Tim Schofield.

The homeowners refused to comment when reached.

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