Monday, 21 October 2019

Blaze-hit house can be rebuilt

A COUPLE have been allowed to demolish and rebuild their historic riverside home in Goring after it was destroyed by fire.

The Boathouse, a 19th-century timber-clad property off High Street, was condemned by insurers following the blaze on March 2 last year.

Now Louise and Benedict Warner, who bought the house in 2017, have been granted planning permission to knock down the remains and build a two-storey house of a similar size but with six bedrooms instead of five.

South Oxfordshire District Council's planning officers recommended approval, saying it would neither harm the character of the area nor neighbours' views as it would be in keeping with its surroundings.

The new house will have three bedrooms plus living rooms and a boathouse on the ground floor and three more bedrooms within the central roof space.

It will be 12m from the river and be slightly taller than the old one because of the need to reduce the flood risk by raising the floor.

It will have a gabled frontage with clay tiles and timber similar to the old building.

The house will be surrounded by terraces overlooking the Thames and arranged in pitch-roofed blocks connected by walkways.

Two neighbours objected, saying some of the original building should be saved and the new one was too large for its setting. However, officers said it was far enough from adjoining properties and sufficiently screened by trees to not have a detrimental impact.

Goring Parish Council expressed concern at plans for a thatched roof and sides on the boathouse so the Warners removed this.

Last year’s fire broke out in a thatched roof at the building’s southern end and quickly spread. Passers-by called 999 and at least seven crews from across Oxfordshire and Berkshire battled it throughout the night. One wing was almost entirely destroyed.

The house was built in 1894 and once owned by explorer Charles Gardiner, after whom the village’s Gardiner recreation ground is named.

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