Housing plan for Sonning fire stationBy Laura Herbert
November 14, 2012
An empty fire station in Sonning could be converted into homes if plans are given the green light tonight.
An application has been submitted to partially demolish, convert and extend the former station, which has been vacant for four years, and land behind it into a three-bedroom home and a four-bedroom home, each with a garage.
Wokingham Borough Council received nine letters of objection claiming the homes will have a detrimental impact on the area, have a poor design and raise issues regarding highway safety.
Sonning Parish Council has recommended councillors throw out the plans, except for the proposal to demolish the redundant store on the site in Pound Lane.
The parish council objects to the application, stating the borough’s own Core Strategy has earmarked Sonning as an area of ‘limited development’, because the site is within a Conservation Area and because the new homes would lead to excessive massing.
The Sonning & Sonning Eye Society branded the plans a ‘significant improvement’ on previous applications for the fire station and approved the retention of the old bell tower feature.
But members of the society raised concerns about the mass of the four-bedroom home planned to be built on land behind the station.
They say it is too big for the plot and would be overbearing for neighbours.
Despite the objections, council planning officers have recommended the committee approve the plans, subject to conditions, as it complies with the council’s policy.
Sonning Fire Station has been closed since Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service decided to push on with its plans to install a 24-hour crew in Wokingham and develop a new station in Twyford – although this has not yet been built.
The meeting takes place at the civic offices, in Shute End, from 7pm.