Grayson Perry has a vision for Essex... but the village of Wrabness doesn't like it

The Turner Prize-winner's latest work is a holiday cottage on the coast - complete with statue on the roof

In the tiny village of Wrabness, nestled discreetly on the banks of the River Stour, they do not get many visitors and they certainly don't court attention. So when a cross-dressing, Turner-prize winning giant of the London arts scene decided to build his latest work there – a piece of public art in the form of a holiday cottage – naturally it caused quite a stir.

Grayson Perry, who was born in nearby Chelmsford, has chosen Wrabness for his first foray into architecture. This week he acquired planning permission for a two-bedroom holiday let overlooking the river. But typically the design includes one or two eye-catching features.

A House for Essex will be a "shrine" to a conceptual everyday Essex woman called Julie, complete with a statue of her on the roof and tapestries telling her life story inside. Ceramic sculptures and green relief tiles will adorn the wall and visitors will enjoy their stay surrounded by examples of Perry's pottery, as well as a mosaic and chandelier dedicated to "Julie".

"The idea behind the project relates to buildings put up as memorials to loved ones, to follies, to eccentric home-built structures, to shrines, lighthouses and fairytales," Perry has said.

In Wrabness, many people are not impressed. Parish Council chairman Harry Jones called it a "blot on the landscape" while Tendring District Council, who granted final planning permission on Tuesday, received complaints from residents, one of whom said the house looked like it belonged in a Disney film.

Val Thomas, who has lived in Wrabness for 41 years and resides by the path that leads to the build site, said that the secluded spot was a "hidden gem" that might be spoilt. "We're certainly not happy with it down this lane," she said. "I've seen the design and it's certainly not in keeping with the rest of the village. It looks like something out of Cinderella."

Wrabness, which has around 150 houses and a population of 400, offers beautiful views of the Stour estuary, beneath the great sweeps of sky beloved of artists since Constable. The house will be built in the place of an unoccupied, dilapidated farmhouse that has not been occupied for 20 years.

Locals wonder whether Wrabness, only an hour from London on the train, might become the focal point of a rural artistic commune. "We'll have a lot of interesting sorts coming down the lane to the house," mused Mrs Thomas. "We're not used to that."

However, not all residents are up in arms. Some have embraced Perry's vision and hope the house could put their village on the map.

Tony Elliston, a south London youth worker who retired to Wrabness five years ago, said that – after initial shock – many people were growing quite fond of Perry's "gingerbread house".

"There was some misunderstanding about what the building would be – people thought we would have an art gallery and lots of traffic going down a narrow lane.

"Wrabness is a place that has remained pretty unchanged for many years and this house is, well, unusual," he said. Perry paid a personal visit to reassure residents, accompanied by Mark Robinson, from Living Architec-ture, the development company managed by the philosopher Alain de Botton which will manage the site.

"Grayson Perry came here," said Mr Elliston. "He met with us and we spent a very pleasant couple of hours. He's a nice chap, he explained the concept and he wasn't patronising. I think the house will be an asset to the area."

"I know there has been some negative comments about it but we've had a lot of positive things from the community as well," said Mr Robinson. "Our mission is that people will go and stay there. You can stay for £30 per night per person at some of our houses so there's no reason why it shouldn't be like that here."

Mr Elliston, who manages a holiday cottage in Wrabness, hopes that the building will drive up interest in the village.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump


Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
    La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

    Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

    The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
    Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
    Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

    Meet Racton Man

    Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
    Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

    Garden Bridge

    St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

    An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
    Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

    Joint Enterprise

    The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
    Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

    Freud and Eros

    Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum
    France's Front National and the fear of a ‘gay lobby’ around Marine Le Pen

    Front National fear of ‘gay lobby’

    Marine Le Pen appoints Sébastien Chenu as cultural adviser
    'Enhanced interrogation techniques?' When language is distorted to hide state crimes

    Robert Fisk on the CIA 'torture report'

    Once again language is distorted in order to hide US state wrongdoing
    Radio 1’s new chart host must placate the Swifties and Azaleans

    Radio 1 to mediate between the Swifties and Azaleans

    New chart host Clara Amfo must placate pop's fan armies
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

    The head of Veterans Aid on how his charity is changing perceptions of ex-servicemen and women in need