Coll Hill Spink and David Chipperfield Architects
Wokingham District Council
Bell Cornwell assessed the development potential of the 500 acres site where, without exception, the listed buildings had fallen into disrepair and were in need of significant restoration work. A number of the buildings, including the mansion house, had been inappropriately extended and altered over the years, following their use after 1945 as a Class D1 residential school. Many of these alterations greatly detracted from the character of the listed buildings and the historically important registered parkland setting.
The Outline application demonstrated “very special circumstances” for the proposed demolition of 8 dwellings and erection of 5 new dwellings; change of use of 3 dwellings to form 2 boathouses and guest accommodation; conversion of 2 dwellings to form 1 dwelling; alterations to barns and bungalow to form a single residential unit plus alterations and extensions to existing buildings.
A “screening opinion” avoided the need for an Environmental Impact Assessment.
A key element of the proposals was the restoration of the Grade II* Registered Park and Garden, through an integrated estate management plan and a conservation plan to protect and enhance the wider estate and to restore the mansion complex for use once again as a single family dwelling house.
The planning permission was critical to obtaining the necessary Protected Habitats Licences for both bats and newts, which allowed the restoration works to commence.
Bell Cornwell was the Agent guiding the proposal through to approval by the Council and then submitted Reserved Matters applications for the five new dwellings in the Green Belt countryside, one of which is a major new mansion in its own extensive grounds.