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Former resident's development seal of approval
Published 15/01/13

A WOMAN returned to the house where she spent all her married life — and said she approved of the changes made.

Vera Bird lived at Ye Nest in Victoria Road, Wargrave, with her husband Harold, who had grown up in the house alongside his brothers Gerald and Norman.

The Birds boys’ parents, George and Margaret, bought the three-bedroom detached house in 1920.

In 1941, George, a chauffeur, was killed when a jacked-up car fell on him and his widow struggled to cope so bequeathed the property to Harold.

Harold and Vera raised their family at the house while Norman and his wife Lucy and their three children lived next door at Gleneagles, which later became a garage forecourt and chauffeur business.

Norman obtained permission for petrol pumps to be built in the front garden with a workshop at the back.

The property and business was sold in the Sixties, when Dave Derry created a large forecourt and showroom.

Two years ago, the site was sold to developer Millgate Homes, which has built 11 homes on the land but retained Ye Nest and called the estate Bird Gardens.

The 1890 house has been renovated, including the distinctive painted bird’s nest on the gable, and is now the home of brothers Charlie and Jack Simpson, whose family co-founded Millgate Homes.

Mrs Bird, her daughter Penny Cole and niece Naomi Lopez were invited to the official opening of the development and were shown round Ye Nest by the Simpsons.

Mrs Bird, who now lives at nearby Elizabeth Court, said: “I was worried that they were going to pull Ye Nest down but they have done a good job — it is lovely. It means such a lot and I am glad to be alive to see it.”

It took six months to renovate the house. Jack Simpson said: “It is like brand new on the inside with all these lovely character pieces on the outside. We love living here and I think the history of the house is pretty cool.” Mrs Cole, from Sonning Common, said: “I grew up here so have so many memories. I was really pleased when I heard that Millgate was going to keep the name.”

Ms Lopez, Norman’s daughter, said: “I think what they have done here is very good and sympathetic to the area. It could have been quite the opposite and my aunt was worried as she spent all her married life here. There is a lot of history attached to the place.”

Home secretary and Maidenhead MP Theresa May, who opened the development, said: “It is good to have the Bird family here to provide the continuity of this site. The old generation will have seen quite a lot of changes in Wargrave over the years but what is important is that it changes in a way that’s acceptable to local people.

“Ye Nest is part of the street scene but it is still going to be used as a home and carry on that tradition over the generations.”

Bird Gardens comprises eight semi-detached townhouses with three or four bedrooms, which are on the market for £650,000 to £700,000.

The other three properties are terraced houses in Victoria Road, two of which will be sold to a housing association while the third is being marketed as a shared-ownership house.

Published 15/01/13

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