Sunday, 22 September 2019

Farmer’s third plan for barn by river

A FARMER in Wargrave has submitted fresh plans for a large storage barn.

Simon Marsden, of River Farm in Willow Lane, wants to use the two-storey building for agricultural use and to provide protection from the weather for two boats and equipment.

There is already a barn on the site but this is full of equipment so that a boat used for maintenance of the riverbank and woodlands has to be stored in the open.

Mr Marsden also wants permission for a new 300m track between the buildings.

He had a previous application to Wokingham Borough Council, the planning authority, turned down in April so he submitted a revised plan but then withdrew this in July after criticism by neighbours.

Now he has submitted a new version.

Consultant Jim Bailey, from the Pegasus Group, said Mr Marsden planned to grow organic vegetables to sell to restaurants and food suppliers to meet the demand for locally-sourced produce.

He said: “Without the proposed storage building the farmer cannot maintain and use the correct equipment, which is required to manage River Farm. 

“The proposal is wholly reasonable as all riverside farms require work-boats to manage their banks. River Farm requires all-year round maintenance.

“One concern mentioned that the new building would lead to increased movements of equipment and lorries on the lane. However, this will not be the case. 

“The building has been designed to be similar to the existing barn with black-stained wooden panelling, which would help it to blend in with its surroundings. 

“Both the proposed storage building and the farm track are essential. Without them, the farmer will not be able to manage the farm in a productive, profitable and sustainable manner, thus enabling it to become a valued part of the local community.”

Residents of Willow Lane objected to the previous application.

Charles Bennett said the building would be “completely inappropriate” for an area of outstanding natural beauty and would have a detrimental effect on the flood plain.

He said boats could be moored at the marina in Willow Lane, adding: “We do not agree that this proposal is necessary for the farm and safe navigation of the river.”

Stanley Fosbury said: “The commercialisation of this site will have a considerable impact on the environment.”

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