A CONTROVERSIAL plan to build an underground swimming pool has been thrown out.

Craig Burkinshaw, managing director of Witney-based holiday firm Audley Travel, wanted to build a side extension on to the house in Jericho, Oxford, and dig out a basement underneath it which would be used for a pool, gym, sauna room and guest bedrooms.

Author Mark Haddon, who wrote multi-award-winning novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, was one of those who spoke against the development on the corner of Farndon Road and Warnborough Road.

Addressing the city council’s West Area Planning Committee on Monday night, Mr Haddon, pictuered left, said: “These building works would be so extensive that they would need to construct a temporary wall a metre into our property for the duration of the works.” He also raised concerns about flooding.

Mr Burkinshaw told the meeting: “It is a family home designed around our lifestyle.”

The committee went against the recommendation of officers and refused the plans. They said it would have a negative effect on the character of the road; part of the North Oxford Conservation Area.