A HOMEOWNER has been refused permission to build detached garages on his property in a countryside village.

The plans were to knock down a stable block on Back Lane, Stanford Dingley, and build a three-bay garage in its place.

But concerns were raised about how much building work has taken place on the property over the past few years.

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The house was built in 2008, and is much bigger than the demolished cottage which was there before.

Councillor Graham Pask (Con, Bucklebury) said: “The main concerns stem from the fact that only 12 years ago this replacement house doubled in size. It was a very good design, with integral garages now recently converted into living accommodation.

“It’s the countryside. With a lot of bridleways, public rights of way where people can legally ride horses. There are a lot of houses with paddocks. It’s what we do in the countryside.”

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Plans for the new garage were considered by councillors at the eastern area planning committee of West Berkshire Council at a public meeting on May 13. Councillors refused planning permission.

Cllr Jeremy Cottam said: “I’m very concerned about this. It’s too much growing, in a very rural scene. This is the type of thing you could expect to see in Thatcham, and I don’t think it’s in character for the countryside.”

Harry Fullerton, who lives nearby, wrote to the council with his concerns. He said: “I am the direct neighbour of Church View Barn and owner of Chalk Pit Cottage. The committee should consider how this planning design for the property was applied for in two parts.

“Firstly by gaining planning application for the conversion of the existing internal garages into living accommodation; and only then later applying for separate planning permission for this detached garage.”

Alan Macro was concerned the stable had already been demolished. Normally councillors visit each site in person, before the planning committee meets. But site visits have stopped because of the lockdown.

Cllr Macro thought the stable had been demolished because he couldn’t see it on Google Street View. Questions were raised whether this was a credible source of information. He later realised the Street View picture was taken in 2010, before the stable had been built.