Monday, 21 September 2020

Couple’s flood-proof home plan approved

A COUPLE’S plans to build a flood-proof house in Wargrave have been approved.

William and Kerry Woodward-Fisher will construct a three-bedroom single-storey property with a detached garage in Loddon Drive.

This will replace the existing bungalow, called Farthings, which was built in 1927 and is vulnerable to flooding from the nearby River Loddon.  

The couple said the timber beams had been affected by floodwater and the building was at the end of its useful life.

Wokingham Borough Council, the planning authority, approved the application subject to conditions including:

•The couple must provide further details about landscaping and the use of external materials. 

• A landscape and ecological management plan must be submitted to the council. 

• Tree protection work must be carried out on the site before work can start.

• A bedroom window facing the neighbouring property, called Wagtails, will have to be fitted with obscured glass to provide privacy.

• No external lighting is allowed in the interest of residents and biodiversity. 

In March 2016, planning permission was granted for a replacement dwelling but this elapsed after three years with no work having taken place. The latest application also has an expiration of three years. 

In December 2017, Mr and Mrs Woodward-Fisher were refused permission for a two-storey property, which the council said would be detrimental to the character and appearance of the area.

The couple appealed against this decision but were unsuccessful. 

Their latest plan says: “Following the refusal of the application, it was evident that a fundamental rethink was required in terms of the height, scale and form of any replacement dwelling.” 

The new property will be 2.2m above ground level and accessed by a staircase.  

The application says it will be a “sleek, elegant and contemporary dwelling” and add “significant design quality and interest to the site and surrounding area”.

The site is classified as functional floodplain and deemed to be the most at risk of flooding so there are restrictions on what can be built. 

The Environment Agency has requested further evidence of a 5m buffer zone alongside the watercourse, as this is particularly valuable to wildlife. 

Wargrave Parish Council raised no objections.

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