Saturday, 28 November 2020

Lawyer upsets neighbours with plan for disabled annexe at home

NEIGHBOURS are opposing plans for a large annexe at an historic house in Wargrave.

NEIGHBOURS are opposing plans for a large annexe at an historic house in Wargrave.

Dr Ann Olivarius, a lawyer, wants to extend Hennerton House, off Wargrave Road, which was built in the 1800s by architect Charles Heathcote Tatham.

The annexe is for a member of her family who is disabled. It would replace an existing garage and would have a living room, kitchen, bedroom and study as well as a swimming pool, gym and steam room on a lower level.

It would be connected to the main house by a glass walkway, which could contain a lift, and have wheelchair access. It would be screened from neighbouring properties by trees along the boundary.

However, neighbours say that while they understand the need for the annexe, the plans are unacceptable.

Simon Roberts told a meeting of Wargrave Parish Council on Monday, where he was representing several neighbours: “I consider her a friend and she needs the annexe — we support and understand that.

“I’m objecting to the plans as currently submitted, not the annexe per se.”

He said the proposed annexe was too big and suggested it could be built on a slope to bring down the overall height by half a metre.

“It’s a very tall structure and towers above the shared driveway,” he said. “I urge the applicant and her team to give consideration to countering the problem of the topography by adopting a gently sloping access in order to reduce the height.

“As it stands, light would be blocked out so every half metre that can be saved is of benefit.”

Mr Roberts said he was also worried about the building’s proximity to trees, including a rare giant redwood and the boundary between neighbouring properties.

Architect Stephen Kirkpatrick said the annexe wouldn’t be too big and it would be screened by the trees and a new yew hedge on the boundary.

He said the height of the annexe had been revised following talks between Dr Olivarius and neighbours but that a sloping structure “would not suit her needs”.

Council chairman Richard Bush said he had “no problems” with the annexe other than the proposed height and length of the building.

He said: “I’ve taken on board that the reason behind this is disability. My concern has been the length of the place, the height and the implications of what you see looking at it.

“I don’t see why, if you’ve got a lift in there, the whole thing can’t be dropped.”

Councillor Philip Davies said: “I get that it’s being screened but it’s a very large building. If things can be worked out with the neighbours I’ll be reassured.”

Wokingham borough councillor John Halsall said he would like to see use of the annexe tied to the main building to prevent it becoming a standalone house in future.

He added: “I’m not convinced the arguments being put forward don’t breach the green belt rules.”

Councillors agreed to object on the grounds of the size of the structure within the green belt and that if it was approved, there should be an assurance given that the annexe would be ancillary to the main building.

A decision will be made by the borough council later this month.

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