Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Two houses for one won’t add up, say neighbours

PLANS for two large houses in a Wargrave street have been opposed by neighbours and the parish council.

Carl Ramsey wants to demolish Fairfield in Victoria Road and replace it with one five-bedroom property and another with six bedrooms, although this would be the smaller of the two.

He has owned the house since 2015 and says it has structural problems.

Mr Ramsey says he has attempted to make the proposed development sensitive to the surrounding area, which is not in the green belt.

Speaking at a meeting of Wargrave Parish Council, he said: “The building is really old and we came to the decision that we wanted to demolish it and start again.

“We have designed two properties. The idea is to have the second plot and give it to family members.

“We took on board the advice from the borough council to make it more in line with the properties in Victoria Road.

“We have had highways consultants out to take a look and there do not seem to be any issues.”

But Neighbour Paul Kelly said he objected to the larger of the proposed houses.

He said: “It is noticeably closer to the highway than the existing building. The current set-up is acceptable but a new house of this nature would completely dominate and reduce sunlight. The other aspect is the first-floor bedroom. Our bedroom window will look directly into the bedroom window opposite. This generates an entirely unacceptable relationship between the two properties.

“Another area of objection is parking. The entrance on Victoria Road will take up much-needed parking.”

The council agreed to recommend that the plans are refused on the grounds that the larger house would be overbearing and concerns about road safety as Mr Ramsey wants two entrances.

Councillor Terry Cattermole said: “I think it is overbearing. It is big and there could be problems.”

Councillor Marion Pope added: “It does seem to be quite a large property in a smallish area.”

Chairman Dick Bush said: “I don’t see how having two entrances is going to be conducive to helping the problem with parking that already exists. I think that is a major problem.”

However, the council agreed to withdraw its objection if Mr Ramsey withdrew the plans for the larger house and retained the single entrance to the site. JW Architects, of Beaconsfield, made several changes to the plans following public consultation.

In a statement, the firm said: “Alterations to the proposed works have been made in reference to concerns surrounding the scale and orientation of the proposed replacement dwellings.

“We have increased the distances between all buildings and boundaries, creating more generous plots. There are no explicit objections to the demolition of the existing dwellings and that of the construction of the two replacement properties.”

Wokingham Borough Council will make the final decision.

Meanwhile, parish councillors have criticised an application for an agricultural barn at Beech Tree Farm in Wargrave.

Applicant David Lister says the building would be used to store equipment and vehicles for agricultural use.

It would be located close to the site access off the A321 and screened by the dense foliage on the boundary which he says would reduce any impact on the character of the landscape.

However, councillors were concerned about possible harm to the green belt and the creation of traffic problems on Wargrave Road.

They also felt there was insufficient evidence as to why the barn was required. Councillor Michael Etwell said: “This is a misleading application because it is not for Beech Tree Farm, it is for a field opposite. It is therefore wrong to call it a farm when it is completely independent.

“In terms of access, depending on the type of equipment that is being used, it could increase the risk of obstruction on of what is already a very busy road.

“I would have to object to this. I have never known this area to be used for any kind of agriculture whatsoever and it is overdevelopment in the green belt.”

Councillor Marion Pope said access to the area could be “quite dangerous”.

Tom Betman urged councillors to oppose the plans.

He said: “The address given seems to be a deliberate ploy to mislead about the site’s status as a farm. Beech Tree Farm is actually the name of a property on the opposite side of the A321 and is under separate ownership to this site.

“A large part of the site is in the flood plain and therefore unsuitable for most forms of agriculture.

“The site is not currently used for agriculture as stated in the application. The applicant has failed to consult any of his nearest neighbours who might be affected.”

Wokingham Borough Council will make the final decision.

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