06:46PM, Thursday 16 September 2021
Alleyns Lane in Cookham. Photo from Google Maps.
Homeowners in Cookham have had plans approved for an underground extension featuring a gym and a swimming pool.
Councillors sitting on the Maidenhead Development Management Panel last night (Wednesday) gave the green light for the proposals in Alleyns Lane, at a property known as Half Timbers.
The application - from a Mr And Mrs Lloyd - had been called in by ward councillor Mandy Brar (Lib Dem, Bisham and Cookham) because of concerns over vehicle movements on surrounding roads and highway safety issues.
However planning officers recommended councillors approve the plans, subject to a series of conditions being met, including one over the movement of vehicles to and from the house.
This application sought to build a single storey rear extension and a new basement containing a pool, gym and plant with an open sunken courtyard.
Officers said that the above-ground element of the proposal 'would be proportionate to the original dwelling', with the majority of the development proposed below ground, which they added 'would not materially impact on the openness of the greenbelt'.
One nearby resident present at Wednesday's meeting said via a public speech that the application should be refused due to the impact it would have on surrounding roads, adding it was a 'nightmare' to walk down Alleyns Lane when faced with an oncoming lorry.
The man, who lives in nearby Bradcutts Lane and was also speaking on behalf of the Cookham Society, said: "This proposal would generate much more heavy traffic.
"Bradcutts Lane is a very narrow single-track lane without a pavement. In a car, pedestrians must be passed slowly and carefully.
"If you are walking and a lorry comes the other way, it is a nightmare and you are in the hedge.
"There are surprisingly large numbers of pedestrians on the lane as it is the main access from Cookham Rise to the open countryside of Winter Hill."
Aside from Cllr Brar's opposition to the application, most other councillors sided with planning officers and backed the application, with Cllr Geoffrey Hill (TBF, Oldfield) saying it was a 'very good idea' building underground.
On the issue of the impact on the highway network, planning officers said that one option for the removal of spoil from the site is estimated to involve 'some 150 lorry movements at a rate of five movements per day'.
They added: "Another option is to use smaller dumper trucks to take the spoil to a nearby farm, at a rate of around 10-11 trips per day, with a larger number of trips.
"The Highways Officer has concluded that this level of activity is unlikely to have an adverse effect on the highway network, if the appropriate measures are in place to manage and control when vehicles arrive on site and leave fully laden.
"The officer has stated a preference for the use of the smaller trucks and has confirmed that this matter can be covered by a suitable worded planning condition."
Within the condition, it is also stated that truck movements should avoid peak times, with the applicant needing to submit full details regarding vehicle movements to and from the construction site.
In the vote, seven councillors voted in favour of approving the application along with officer recommendations, subject to a series of conditions.
Cllr Brar voted against, while Cllr Gurch Singh (Lib Dem, St Mary's) abstained.
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