Monday, 17 February 2020

Council drops objection to new homes in busy street

COUNCILLORS in Wargrave have decided not to object to plans for two new homes despite sharing the concerns of residents about the effect on road safety.

Rob Riddout and Nigel Dearman want to build two semi-detached two-storey houses in Victoria Road and demolish an existing dwelling.

Their application to Wokingham Borough Council, the planning authority, also includes plans for on-site parking spaces.

The men were granted permission for one three-storey property with five bedrooms on the land in April last year despite Wargrave Parish Council objecting.

Parish councillors are not opposing the latest application because they say the design has improved and they believe there is little chance of it being refused permission following approval of the first plan.

Councillor Andrew Luckwell said: “We objected to it on the grounds of highway safety and requested that if it was approved that five [parking] spaces would be maintained at all times. It was subsequently approved, to our amazement. The only difference I see now is that they have asked for four spaces instead of five. There are a lot of cars there all the time and people park along the road.

“I feel that the junction is very dangerous and to have four vehicles going in and out is an issue of highway safety. Personally, I don’t feel we should say we are happy with it just because they approved it before because we are not happy with it.”

Councillor Marion Pope said: “The properties are more in keeping with the road but the major problem is car parking and the access on to Hamilton Road. It is absolutely horrendous on that piece of road. People just park anywhere. It is on the school run and that is a concern.”

Parish clerk Stephen Hedges said the on-site parking requested might be preferable to forcing the cars on to the road, increasing the risk to pedestrians.

He added: “If you don’t have the parking there, where are they going to park? Are you happy to have them parking on the road? That is the only other place they can go.”

Council chairman Dick Bush said he preferred the new designs. The council voted not to object to the application but requested that if it is approved, the parking provision is maintained at all times.

Many neighbours complained about the original plans.

Deborah Lancaster, of Hamilton Road, said: “The potential for a significant increase in traffic on an already busy road is a major concern. The extra traffic would pose a significant danger, especially in the peak times when both schools, doctors and chemist tend to be busiest.”

No comments were received during the 10-day public consultation on the latest application.

Meanwhile, a couple’s plans to build a bungalow in Wargrave have been rejected due to concerns about the impact on the green belt.

John and Julie Dowling applied for permission to build a single-storey detached property behind two existing homes they own at 62 and 64 Highfield Park. This would have involved the demolition of a garage and storage buildings.

However, the borough council said this would be overdevelopment of the site. Its decision notice reads: “By virtue of its backland location, the intensification of residential development on the edge of the green belt and urbanisation of hitherto undeveloped land, the proposed new dwelling is considered not to reflect the local character.

“The bungalow would not follow the building line of dwellings along Highfield Park, nor would it conform to the character of Hanover Gardens.

“The proposal has failed to demonstrate acceptable impact on existing trees and there is insufficient information provided in terms of landscape mitigation.”

The council also felt the plans would result in the loss of privacy for neighbours.

The parish council had objected to the application, saying it would be overdevelopment of the site and the flat roof design was out of keeping with neighbouring houses. It was also concerned about highway safety from Hanover Gardens.

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