Decision due on illegally built Woodley flats tonightBy Julie Spencer
October 17, 2012
Neighbours of a controversial block of flats built without planning permission hope councillors will tonight vote to knock it down.
People living close to the development in Brecon Road, Woodley, are due to attend the meeting and hope to persuade councillors to throw out a retrospective application for the block of four flats behind a row of shops and bring Woodley’s longest planning saga to an end.
The campaigners are supported by Woodley Liberal Democrats who claim approval for the scheme would be a “slap in the face” for those living nearby.
The builder received permission in 2007 to build on the site behind The Parade, but the block was not completed until January this year, when neighbours and planners discovered it was bigger than the original plans.
In March, a planning inspector upheld an enforcement notice for the demolition of the building, but the developer’s agents submitted an application for a larger porch to the building, which if approved tonight, would deem it a legal development.
The recommendation from planning officers is that permission is granted, subject to legal agreements.
In response to the latest application, furious neighbours complained the three-storey building, described by one as “massively overbearing” overshadowed their homes, while shoppers said they could no longer park at The Parade because the occupants had taken over parking bays.
One neighbour told the council he counted 22 parked vehicles associated with the development, leading to claims that a taxi business was being run from the flats.
Yesterday, people affected by the development met Woodley town Councillor Coling Lawley and Liberal Democrat campaigner and representative for the area Paddy Power
Mr Power said: “My sympathies here are clearly with the local residents who feel the planning system at Wokingham has badly let them down.
“If this retrospective application had been the original one submitted back in 2007 then I doubt it would have got approval.
“To agree this retrospectively at this stage would be a slap in the face for local residents, particularly those living adjacent to Glendevon Road.
“When viewed from their gardens the view used to be of the sky – now all you see is a blank brick wall.”
The planning committee meet at the civic offices, in Shute End, at 7pm.