BLACKADDER star Rowan Atkinson has promised future neighbours at Ipsden that his planned new mansion will not be “weird or futuristic”.

The comedian and actor, who lives at Waterperry and has lived in South Oxfordshire for 28 years, is seeking planning permission for the first home in the UK designed by renowned New York architect Richard Meier.

Set in the heart of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and close to Ipsden, the glass and bright-white steel and plaster five-bedroom home would replace the existing 1930s Handsmooth House and its 1970s swimming pool, buildings which were described by Mr Atkinson's agents as “bland, uninspiring and unattractive”.

The proposal has received the backing of top architects, including Millennium Dome designer Lord Rogers — but Ipsden Parish Council is opposed.

The 55-year-old comedian, famed worldwide as Mr Bean, urged his future neighbours to “have no fear” about the radical design.

He said: “I fully understand the concern of members of the community about change and the introduction of a contemporary design into sensitive countryside. I don’t want to live in a house that is weird or futuristic, but one that is simple, graceful and elegant and that is what Richard Meier has provided.

“It would be a terrible shame if people felt that there was no place in the countryside for modern design.” The design is for a five-bedroom house, stretching over 274 square metres, plus a two-bedroom guest pavilion, garage and tennis court.

It would be the first building in Britain designed by Mr Meier, who is famed for his creation of white buildings, including the Getty Center in Los Angeles and Jubilee Church in Rome.

In a letter to planning officers, Lord Rogers pronounced the design to be “beautiful” and “classical”.

He said: “In fact, Richard could be considered the greatest designer of houses today. Richard has built in many countries, and it would be wonderful to have one of his buildings in Britain.”

But Ipsden parish councillor Ron Baker said the majority of the parish council considered it “out of place”.

He said: “It is not visible from many houses in the parish, but you have not got to go far to find a view of it from footpaths and by-roads that are quite well used by hikers.

“It would be on its own, with trees as background and a huge slope of a hill in front of it.

“It would stand out.”

Farmer Ben Yates, 45, who lives nearby, said it looked like an “ugly space-age petrol station”.

Chilterns Conservation Board planning officer Colin White said it was “completely inappropriate” and was similar to another design by Mr Meier for a completely different site in China.

The plans are being considered by South Oxfordshire District Council.

A scale model went on display in the council offices at Crowmarsh Gifford this week.