Concerns raised over planning application to build flats at Ruscombe Business Park

Concerns have been raised over a planning application to build flats at Ruscombe Business Park.

The application, which has been prepared by Bankfoot APAM on behalf of the applicant Harmsworth Pooled Property Unit Trust, proposes to build a single storey roof extension on the existing Interserve House building to accommodate 10 flats with accompanying balconies.

According to the planning documents, the application also proposes to develop a new three-storey building, housing 20 new flats with associated parking and landscaping.

This will comprise of three one-bedroom flats, 25 two-bedroom flats and two three-bedroom flats.

Alongside the developments, design alterations which support the transition of the site from office space to residential will also be made in order to blend the development in with ‘existing and emerging residential surroundings’.

This application of 30 flats, together with a previously approved application to build 40 flats on the site takes the total number to 70 flats.

Several objections and concerns have been raised over the application, some of which include an increase in traffic, parking issues, concerns over the loss of privacy, the height of the proposed flats, the impact on wildlife, the developments being ‘out of keeping with the surrounding area’ and the impact on noise and pollution.

Wokingham Borough Council leader John Halsall raised concerns over the development.

He said: “Concerns include overlooking of neighbouring properties, height and scale out of keeping with surrounding area, parking provision, access issues (narrow entrance to business park with security barrier).”

One resident commented that more housing in the area would be ‘beneficial’, but ‘strongly’ objected to the provision of ‘housing without appropriate parking’, while another said that turning an ‘empty commercial building’ into residential would bring economic benefits to the community and High Street businesses, but objected to the plans.

A letter has also been submitted to the council's planning portal by Ruscombe Parish Council, objecting to the application.

Some of the reasons for the objecting include issues such as the height of the building, it being ‘out of keeping’ with the area, the impact on the highway network and parking.

The letter also said: “The proposed development goes against the draft Neighbourhood Plan Policy RU6 relating to 'Employment' for the same reasons as it will take away potential employment floor space in this area that has been specifically designated to accommodate employment uses.”

It added: “Whilst there is a bus route located in proximity to the site along Ruscombe Lane the site being on the edge of Twyford with no significant shops or amenities in the near vicinity will create a reliance on private car use.”

The public consultation on the application is currently underway and will end tomorrow (Saturday).

Bankfoot APAM has been contacted for comment.

The application can be viewed here.

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