A GWENT couple are delighted after their ‘Grand Designs’-esque housing plans have been approved by Caerphilly County Borough Council.

Plans to convert an existing Markham reservoir water tank into a single five-bedroom dwelling were passed by councillors last Wednesday.

Farmer Mark Howell, who owns the land, said: “The water board’s 99-year lease on it was coming to an end and that’s when we looked at other options. We didn’t think we would get it through the council but they seem to have liked it because it’s so unusual.

“You do think of Grand Designs and some of the people interested in it have constantly mentioned contacting them. We are going to sell it, we were always going to, as we live at the farm.”

It is confirmed that an alternative water tank nearer to Markham town centre is now going to be used instead with this one set to be turned off in the coming days.

Conditions have been put on the quarter of an acre site with regard to drainage and the size and appearance, with it set to have a roof garden featuring views down the Rhymney Valley.

The building itself is 5.6 metres in height with 18.2 metre squared of floor space. The site also provides off-street parking for three cars.

Mr Howell and his partner Lindsay Cochrane own 150 acres which they keep a livestock of 150 sheep and 22 cattle on. Previously they had as many as 600 sheep and 40 cattle but have diversified into doing building work and developments as they found it harder to make a living from farming.

Ms Cochrane, 39, said: “The lease expired in 2011 but it’s still full of water, which will be moved any day now. It’s at the bottom of our farm and we have been working on it fully for two years and it’s really taken its time.”

The couple said that the only other option they seriously had for the site was to turn it into a crematorium.

A total of £5k has been invested in getting the site at this stage with plans approved and it is expected to be sold for around £50k.

Mr Howell, 49, added: “The whole thing has been quite difficult. The council said that we couldn’t use our normal architect due to the nature of the site so we had to use specialised firm Concept Consultants in Abergavenny, but they have done such a good job.”

A CCBC spokesman said: “This is an interesting and ambitious development proposal and we will follow its progress with great interest. The plans will breathe new life into a redundant structure in a location offering enviable views of the surrounding valleys.”