Sunday, 22 July 2018

Developer criticised over yet more change

PLANS to enlarge a new house in Wargrave have been criticised by parish councillors.

Oraclemarker has applied for permission to raise the eaves to include an extra bedroom in the roof space.

The property is one of 10 to be built at the former site of Wargrave Village Car Sales in High Street, including six houses, two flats and two duplex properties.

The application is the latest in a string of proposed changes since planning permission was granted in August.

All have been opposed by parish councillors who fear the development will be too big and will exacerbate traffic and parking problems in the area.

Oraclemarker was given consent to add extra rooms to six of the properties and balconies on two others despite objections.

An application to add an extra storey with dormer windows on four of the houses was turned down.

Company director Russ Edwards said the latest plans were about maximising the space available rather than increasing the size of the development.

But members of Wargrave Parish Council warned this week that the development was already too big and would damage the area.

Councillor Andrew Luckwell said: “I’m not overly happy with it.

“This is in a conservation area. The house is on a corner plot and very visible.”

Councillor Andrew Cardy said: “I was approached by a resident who was feeling very angry about it.

“Her points were that parking is horrendous and the original application was sold on the point that it would be affordable.

“Suddenly if there’s another bedroom the price will leap up.”

Councillor Terry Cattermole added: “Each time we have objected on the grounds of the size and bulk in the conservation area and this is just increasing it. We must be consistent.”

Councillor Michael Etwell said: “It doesn’t fit with the development. The raising of the roof makes it out of character.”

The plans have also been opposed by neighbours.

Chris Satchwell, of Autumn Walk, said: “This application is adding more rooms to a site which is already overdeveloped and does not adequately deal with the parking issues in the original application.

“How many more supplementary planning applications is this developer going to request?

“Wokingham Council should stop this approach to planning by a developer who simply wants to increase their bottom line.”

Shelia Thorne, of the Walled Garden, said: “By extending into the roof void in this way the properties become top heavy and result in overdevelopment.

“There is no additional parking provided so visitors, tradespeople etc. will have nowhere to park.

“It is near an already hazardous T-junction leading up Wargrave Hill, which is partly only wide enough for one car, and there is very little parking available in High Street.”

The site had been home to a car showroom for 70 years.

Pete Palmer, who ran Wargrave Village Car Sales, was given six months’ notice by Oraclemarker in December 2016, a month after the company bought the land.

Mr Palmer, 56, from Maidenhead, had run the business since 2014 and signed a lease for another two-and-a-half years in August 2016 when the site still belonged to the previous owner. He claimed he was forced out.

Oraclemarker said the site was of poor quality and was “not considered to make a positive contribution to the character or appearance of the conservation area”.

A decision will be made by Wokingham Borough Council this month.

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