Sunday, 14 August 2022

Developer bids to expand new housing estate

RESIDENTS and parish councillors in Wargrave have spoken out over plans to expand a housing development in the village for a second time.

Oraclemarker was given permission in August to redevelop the site of Wargrave Village Car Sales in High Street into 10 homes comprising six two-bedroom houses, two two-bedroom flats and two three-bedroom duplex properties.

The company then applied for consent to add extra rooms to six of the properties and balconies on two others.

This was approved by Wokingham Borough Council despite objections by neighbours and councillors.

Now Oraclemarker has submitted another amendment to have an extra storey with dormer window on four of the houses.

Christabel Grimmer, of High Street, said that if this was approved it would mean the development would not be “remotely” like the original plans.

She said: “The original idea of smaller, two- and three-bedroom properties that would be slightly more affordable was fine — such houses are so badly needed. Then comes the addition of balconies, rear dormers, garden rooms and now this application to add another storey to four of the properties, thus making them at least four-bedroom houses.”

Barbara Bone, of Hill Lands, said: “An additional storey would make the houses higher than any neighbouring properties.”

Speaking at a parish council meeting last week, Councillor Terry Cattermole said: “From the start we have objected to the bulk and mass and they are adding bulk and mass.”

Councillor Andrew Luckwell said: “I’ve got a problem with all those dormers — we are in the conservation area.”

Eight of the properties will be in a terrace at the front of the site and the other two at the back where there is already a house. There will be access at both sides.

Oraclemarker has agreed to retain a boundary wall and increase the size of the gardens. The company withdrew a previous application for 11 homes after the planning officers recommended reducing the number of homes and parking spaces.

It was granted consent for 10 homes on the condition that an access point at the north end of the site was removed and it provided more information on parking and provision of vision splays for access on to High Street.

The site had been home to a car showroom for 70 years.

Pete Palmer, who ran Wargrave Village Car Sales, was given six months’ notice by Oraclemarker in December 2016, a month after the company bought the land.

Mr Palmer, 56, from Maidenhead, had run the business since 2014 and signed a lease for another two-and-a-half years in August 2016 when the site still belonged to the previous owner.

He claimed he was being forced out and that there were no alternative sites in Wargrave.

Oraclemarker said the site was of poor quality and was “not considered to make a positive contribution to the character or appearance of the conservation area”.

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