Concern over plans to convert farm building into home

Will Taylor

A bid to convert a farm building in the greenbelt into a residential home is causing concern among residents.

Geoffrey Copas, acting as the agent for Copas Farms, lodged a notification with the Royal Borough that it intended to convert the pump house in Kennel Lane, off Whyteladyes Lane in Cookham Rise.

But people living in Whyteladyes Lane have submitted objections, with one resident accusing Mr Copas of putting ‘his own financial gain above that of retaining Cookham’s charm, character and beauty’.

Stuart Dawson, who lives in Whyteladyes Lane, submitted his objection to the plans which said: “There is no proven need for housing to encroach on the greenbelt between Cookham and Cookham Rise.”

Linda Vinton, of Lyndhurst Avenue in Cookham Rise, wrote the proposed home ‘is on a peaceful, narrow footpath, which provides a valuable link from Cookham to Cookham Dean for walkers’.

In response, Mr Copas said he wanted more housing ‘for the working man’ and not just ‘for multi-millionaires’.

He added: “There must be 500 houses on Whyteladyes Lane. If there is one more, would it make any difference?”

Mr Copas expects it would be used by a member of Copas Farms’ staff, stressed the dimensions of the building would not change, and believed a house would look nicer than a building that has agricultural equipment lying outside it, as is the present situation.

A proposal had been submitted to convert it into a house before, which was rejected by the Royal Borough’s Maidenhead Development Control Panel in August.

Mr Copas said he had looked at an application in Fifield where a planning inspector had ruled in favour of the applicant who had a similar proposal to Mr Copas’ rejected.

In that inspector’s report, it was noted that agricultural buildings are usually located where a local authority would not normally approve a new dwelling, and that should not be seen as a reason to reject an application.

Community comments must be submitted by Tuesday, November 22.

A decision is due to be made by December 9, but no date has been set yet for when either Cookham Parish Council or the Royal Borough will discuss it.

The reference number for the plans is 16/03173.

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