August 13, 2008
Footballer Steven Gerrard has angered his neighbours after building a 350,000 two-storey gym complex at the bottom of his garden.
The Liverpool captain has irked locals of the seaside town of Formby by constructing the building, which has been likened by one irate neighbour to 'an Asda supermarket in a beauty spot'.
Gerrard, 28, and his wife Alex Curran, 25, were granted planning permission in October for a 'detached two-storey building to be used as a garden pavilion and gymnasium with games room'.
Horrified neighbours have watched the grassy land at the back of the Gerrards' garden be transformed into a building site for the huge complex, which has taken eight months to build.
Despite objections by locals, Gerrard won planning permission after including plans to install a living 'sedum roof', which includes grass, moss and other plants and helps cut fuel bills by keeping the building warmer in the winter.
The lavish building will include changing rooms, plunge pool, shower rooms, kitchenette, treatment area and games area, which will be linked to the couple's existing swimming pool by a walkway.
The gym also contains a solarium so former nail technician Curran can keep up her year-round orange glow.
The original garden of the 2million house has been dwarfed by extensions to the house and the gym, meaning there is little greenery for the couple's two children Lily Ella, four, and Lexie, two, to play on.
Angry neighbour Cecil Crosslety, who lives opposite the gym, complains: 'I cannot begin to understand why anyone would want to build an eyesore like this in their back garden.
'It is not in keeping with the properties in this area. It's like building an Asda supermarket in the middle of a beauty spot but our objections were ignored.'
Fellow local John Ulyatt said: 'It is strange how Gerrard was given permission to demolish an old bungalow that had stood there for years to erect this huge glass and copper thing with a flat roof.
'Having celebrities in the area must have an effect on property prices. Who else would build a glorified garden shed that is worth more than the average semi.'