A council has responded to an accusation that it operates ‘like a dictatorship’ by a neighbour who has opposed the approval of new homes in a Berkshire village.

George Levy, the owner of a home in Old Bath Road, Charvil, made the accusation over the approval of a plan for one building containing two three-bed semi-detached homes.

The plan was granted by Wokingham Borough Council, which is the planning authority for the village.

A spokesperson for Wokingham Borough Council said: “Both national planning policy and our own planning policies are clear that sustainable development should be approved, and there is a need for new homes in Wokingham Borough.

“This application site is within an existing settlement and not in a rural area, and the officer’s report concludes that the new dwellings have an acceptable impact on the area’s character.”

Mr Levy also argued that solar panels on the roof of the neighbouring house he owns will lose access to sunlight.

He said: “We have had permission for solar panels on our western roof for nearly 20 years.

“The approved proposals will result in a 8.5m high wall being built vertically up against these only 2.7m away from our panels. The council’s justification for approving this included that we could ‘re-position’ our panels.

“There is no other location on that roof elevation which would have light once the approved development is built.

“Also, we would have to apply and pay for planning permission to move these. It is ludicrous to just tell us to relocate them.

We repeatedly asked for a sunlight and shadow diagram to be produced so the impact could be considered, but this was never provided.”

The council spokesperson responded with the findings of a planning officer report that admitted that the height of the new homes would cause loss of light, but not at a level that would cause any substantial harm.

The planning officer judged that the most adverse affect would occur at times of the year when the sun is at its lowest, and that an existing laurel tree also obstructs access to sunlight when the sun is lower as well.

Ultimately, the planning officer ruled that harm to the effective operation of the solar panels would not be a sufficient reason to refuse planning permission.

Additionally, Mr Levy criticised the council for allowing applicant Christopher Wren Developments to ‘drip feed’ amended plans into the application without proper consultation.

The spokesperson responded: “Our consultation was held in accordance with planning regulations. We requested amended plans to address concerns, and then consulted again despite there being no statutory requirement to do so.

“We have no control over how quickly amended plans are submitted, but our tree and landscape officers’ comments were taken into account before a decision was made.

“Again, this was shown in the report, which explains how we reached our decision in further detail.”

You can view the approved application and the decision by typing reference 231682 into the council’s planning portal.