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Town centre flats above Poundstretcher get green light

Plans for town centre flats at the site of Poundstretcher have been unanimously approved by councillors.

The Royal Borough Development Management Panel discussed the proposal for 12 flats at the 31-33 High Street location during a virtual meeting on Wednesday, July 15.

The flats will be situated on the first floor of the building, and on second and third floor extensions.

An application for 10 flats at the site was refused by the panel in February because of the detrimental impact it would have on property 29 High Street.

The planning officer’s report states the new proposal is considered to have an acceptable impact on neighbouring amenity in terms of loss of light, visual intrusion and overlooking.

The recommendation was that the panel grants planning permission.

Lance Harris of the Daylight and Sunlight department of Anstey Horne, provider of specialist surveying services, represented the owner of property number 29 during the panel.

He objected to the proposals on the grounds it will result in a loss of light and overlook habitable rooms in property 29.

Mr Harris said no daylight and sunlight report had been prepared on behalf of the applicant and that ‘there’s a misunderstanding as to how many windows and habitable rooms are effected’.

“I cannot see how we now have a recommendation for approval, when it was refusal before,” he said.

“I cannot see how the planning department can make this decision without proper evidence in front of it.”

Cllr David Cannon (Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury) asked if planning officer, Anotonia Liu could address the concerns of Mr Harris for the benefit of the panel’s understanding.

Ms Liu said that although ‘there would be some reduction in daylight and sunlight as a result of the scheme’, that councils are advised to ‘take into account flexible approaches relating to sunlight and daylight’.

She said that for this reason the proposal would not warrant refusal.

Applicant Sorbon Estates’ representative David Howells said the new scheme has addressed the issues of the last application and that the proposed extension would significantly enhance the street scene.

“It will represent an exemplar development within the high street for other future developments to be measured against,” he said.

Cllr Joshua Reynolds (Lib Dems, Furze Platt) said the proposal would ‘improve the streetscape of the high street massively’.

However, he was concerned about how much light the high-level dormer windows in some of the flats would omit for residents in those properties.

Cllr Geoff Hill (The Borough First, Oldfield) said he shared Mr Harris’ concerns about the impact of the proposals on 29 High Street, but said he had to ‘view this development in the context of being in the town centre’.

“In the town centre things are naturally closer together, you don’t get as much space.”

He added: “I like the design, particularly the street view, I think it smartens up that piece of Maidenhead."

Both Cllr Reynolds and Cllr Hill said they were worried about the absence of parking in the plans, and the lack of town centre parking in general.

Panel chairman, Cllr Haseler (Con, Cox Green) noted that in the planning report it states no onsite parking is proposed because the site ‘could support a car-free development’ given its ‘good access to local services and public transport’.

Councillors voted unanimously to approve officers’ recommendation to grant planning permission subject to conditions.

To watch the full meeting click here

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