Friday, 22 February 2019

Block of flats to be built next to royal regatta HQ

Block of flats to be built next to royal regatta HQ

BUILDING work is set to begin on a block of flats near Henley Bridge.

Thurrock Developments has been awarded planning permission to build a three-storey buildng on the site of the former Thames Bridge House in White Hill.

The block will have three two-bedroom flats, a one-bedroom flat and a three-bedroom penthouse.

Thames Bridge House, a disused office building, was demolished in May two years after an application for four two-bedroom flats was granted consent.

The developer decided to add a flat after Storm Architects, which designed the new building, said the original scheme was not viable.

Now Wokingham Borough Council has approved the new plans.

Jim Bailey, a director at design consultants Pegasus Group, said they had to convince the council that the development was sympathetic to its riverside location in a conservation area.  

He said: “The site lies in the green belt, so we had to demonstrate that very special circumstances were applicable.

“We were able to show that the volume of the proposed building would be less than the existing building, which would actually improve the openness of the green belt. In addition, we had to demonstrate that the design of the building would conserve the character and appearance of the conservation area and would not harm the setting of several nearby listed buildings.”

The site is next door to the Henley Royal Regatta headquarters and opposite Leander Club and only yards from the Grade I listed bridge.

Mr Bailey said the building’s design also had to meet concerns about parking.  He said: “Car parking will be provided on site using a basement car stacker and turntable, so that vehicles can access the road in a forward gear.

“Although this was a site with many constraints, we engaged with council officers in a proactive manner.”

The company says the building has been designed to maximise the riverside location and avoids any overlooking of its neighbours.

The flats will be on the road side of the building, allowing large areas of glazing to maximise river views and provide plenty of natural light.

All the flats have outdoor space, access to bike storage and one parking space each.

Thames Bridge House was a two- and three-storey property with attic rooms and a basement. It was originally bought with the intention of it becoming the regatta’s new headquarters and was previously known as Regatta House.

Over the last 50 years, it had various uses including as flats and offices. The building was thought to have been built prior to 1820 but was said to have no architectural merit.

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