Friday, 19 August 2022

Cottage should make way for house, says regatta

A DERELICT cottage in Remenham has been labelled an "eyesore" by the chairman of Henley Royal

A DERELICT cottage in Remenham has been labelled an "eyesore" by the chairman of Henley Royal Regatta.

Sir Steve Redgrave said the regatta wanted to redevelop Barn Cottage in Remenham Lane, which is owned by the trustees for the regatta stewards.

The two-bedroom brick property, which was built in the 1880s, was formerly the home of Teddy Selwyn, who helped found Barn Cottage Boat Club. It has been empty since 2011 when it was declared unfit for human occupation.

In 2012 Wokingham Borough Council refused an application by the regatta to demolish the cottage and build a four-bedroom house in its place. The regatta then lost an appeal against the decision.

Sir Steve, speaking to a meeting of about 40 people at Remenham parish hall, said: "The eyesore of Barn Cottage is a big frustration to the community and the regatta.

"We would love to be able to redevelop that site. We would like it to be for a younger family if possible.

"Maybe the chief executive and his family could live there, maybe the chairman could live there."

The 2012 plans were for a house built in traditional style with brick and tile-hung walls, clay tiled roofs and traditional detailing.

Sir Steve said: "I thought we came up with a good design. I was not involved in it but people I have spoken to have been positive about it."

He said that when the application was made the regatta talked extensively with Remenham residents and the parish council.

"We had the impression they agreed with knocking down the old building," he said. "We had letters from people in the parish supporting what we were doing as well as local sports clubs.

"We invited people to come and see the plans. Parish council member Scott MacGregor said he was extremely positive about what we were doing. But from him leaving us and going through the planning application it got turned down from the parish and by the borough."

Michael Dudley, from Remenham, asked parish council chairman John Halsall why the council didn’t support the plans.

At the time, the council called the proposed house suburban in style and inappropriate.

Cllr Halsall replied: "At the time we felt the building was worth  preserving.

"The parish council is not a planning authority, it’s just a consultee. It went to the borough council who also opposed it. It went to appeal and the appeal judge, for want of a better word, ruled against it."

The borough council said the house would have an "urbanising impact, which would be harmful to the character and the openness of the green belt".

Planning inspector Martin Seddon, who heard the appeal, said the development would harm the visual amenity of the green belt and would conflict with the borough council’s  core strategy which seeks to maintain or enhance the quality of the  environment.

Previous applications to demolish the cottage have been rejected due to the impact on the character of the conservation area.

Cllr Halsall said: "We have said to the regatta we’re very happy to make our office available to find a scheme which will work for the regatta and the borough council."

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