Saturday, 31 October 2020

Neighbours relaunch fight over home plan

NEIGHBOURS have objected to a businessman’s latest plans for a new house in Wargrave.

Mark Weatherlake wants to build the single-storey, three-bedroom property in a disused garden in The Bothy, off Wargrave Hill.

In November 2016, he was refused permission by Wokinhgam Borough Council for a similar application for a larger property.

Neighbours also objected to that proposal, saying it was unsuitable in the Wargrave conservation area and that they were worried about construction traffic using The Bothy, a private road which is narrow.

Mr Weatherlake, who lives in Somerset and is managing director of a specialist supplier of wood-burning boilers, has reduced the size of the proposed development and says it would be more sympathetic to nearby properties.

However, neighbours have objected again, citing many of the same reasons as four years ago.

Keith Pitchford, who lives in The Bothy, says it is an unadopted, unmade and narrow road that would not cope with the heavy construction traffic.

He says: “The road is supported by a perimeter wall on my property, which required replacement in 2011 because of the cumulative impact of traffic.

“On at least one occasion, we have had vehicles come off the road into our property due to the inability to manage its width.

“I am also concerned about the impact the weight of the vehicles would have on the service pipes below the road. These are earthenware pipes that were laid many years ago and therefore at serious risk of damage.”

Julie Ann Muir, who also lives in The Bothy, says: “The development would result in an increase in the volume of traffic in the conservation area.

“The size and weight of vehicles requiring access during building work would be dangerous and potentially structurally damaging to existing dwellings.

“The proposal would alter the density of residential dwellings in the conservation area and would potentially block views across to Wargrave Manor, which is a listed building.”

Wargrave Parish Council has not objected to the development.

Mr Weatherlake’s architect Bill Gething told a council meeting that the previous application was rejected because it was felt the proposed house was too big for the site, there was too much hard landscaping and there were concerns about the removal of a copper beech tree.

He continued: “We went away and had a complete rethink and considerable dialogue with the planners, culminating in a pre-application in November 2018, which received a positive response.

“It is 40 per cent smaller than the previous application and actually has the second-lowest plot density in the area. It is entirely single storey and is dug in to minimise its impact on the surroundings.

“The beech tree will be retained and any other trees that are removed will be replaced by a similar species.”

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