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14/00561/OUT RAC

Outline application for residential development (2 x plots) with associated infrastructure.

14/00562/FUL RAC

Redevelopment of Woodcote Park. Detail approval sought for:-
1. Demolition of the secretariat and administration building and partial demolition of clubhouse with replacement new 5 storey (basement, ground and 3 upper levels motor heritage wing to provide overnight accommodation, offices, banqueting, events and club facilities.
2. Demolition of rear ground floor kitchen extension of the clubhouse.
3. Creation of new arrival reception to clubhouse.
4. Restoration of the wall to the Walled Garden.
5. Restoration of the Gardener’s Cottage including replacement roof, and demolition of single storey later additions.
6. Provision of children’s facilities within the Walled Garden, including a children’s activity centre, indoor swimming pool, and associated areas.
7. Use of existing Gardener’s Cottage for activities associated with the Royal Automobile Club and/or for independent C3 use.
8. Re-working of access and car parking at the overspill car park and Walled Garden, including the creation of a net additional 35 car parking spaces.
9. Extension to the Cedars Sports centre.
10. Associated landscaping, ancillary storage and plant, and all associated engineering works and operations.

Outline proposals for:-
1. The construction of a standalone spa.
2. The construction of a driving range.
3. The reconfiguration and extension to the existing north car park and access for the net addition of 54 car parking spaces.
4. Associated landscaping, ancillary storage and plant, and all associated engineering works and operations.

14/00563/LBC RAC

Redevelopment of Woodcote Park. Listed Building Consent application for:-
1. Demolition of the secretariat and administration building and partial demolition of clubhouse with replacement new 5 storey (basement, ground and 3 upper levels) motor heritage wing to provide overnight accommodation, offices, banqueting, events and club facilities.
2. Internal reconfiguration of clubhouse and demolition of rear ground floor kitchen extension of the clubhouse.
3. Creation of new arrival reception to clubhouse.
4. Restoration of the wall to the Walled Garden.
5. Restoration of the Gardener’s Cottage including replacement roof, and demolition of single-storey later additions.
6. Provision of children’s facilities within the Walled Garden, including a children’s activity centre, indoor swimming pool, cafe and associated areas.

These three separate applications are for a major redevelopment of the Woodcote Park Country Club site, with partial demolition and reconstruction/extension of the club house, new leisure and conference centre facilities, increased parking, repairs to the Walled Garden, and two new residences.

The sheer volume of the details provided in the applications prevented detailed analysis of and comment on all the documents. Nevertheless, the Committee (and Rob Austen in particular) invested no little effort in reviewing them and reaching conclusions on what seemed to be the key issues.

The Society objected on principle to the proposed residential development within the Green Belt, and was not convinced by the argument that this was needed to enable repairs to the (listed) walled garden and gardner’s cottage, since the RAC has owned these buildings for more than 100 years and should have budgeted for the cost of maintaining them in good condition during that time.

As for the proposed expansion to facilities and parking, the Society expressed concern about the implications of a greatly increased activity level within the Park. Taken together, the proposals imply a >60% increase in floor space, including a spa and conference centre. But the RAC forecast a much lower increase in traffic density to and from the Park and propose an even smaller increase in available parking facilities. Our letter suggested that the detailed traffic analysis contained in the Applications is unduly optimistic.

The Society also concluded that the Heritage Motor Wing appears to be an entirely commercial undertaking, and thus wholly inappropriate to the recreational context of the site.

Our letter can be found here.

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