The overhaul of a valued community building has been refused for its ‘harms’ to the area.

Bucks Council has rejected a (part-retrospective) ‘change of use’ application by Active Development Services Ltd for the former RAF Association “RAFA” Club, on Totteridge Road, in High Wycombe.

The plans, submitted March 2021, involved the conversion of the club to seven one-bed flats.

The partly retrospective application also included a new detached single-storey community building.

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Active Development Services also applied for a two-storey extension, and roof alterations.

Four parking spaces were proposed.

It is understood the club stopped running in late 2018, after which it was eventually sold at private auction. “The application site is a former RAF Association Club which has been disused and vacant for a number of years,” a report states.

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But Bucks Council said the former club is a designated asset of community value and that there is “insufficient evidence” the new “smaller” community facility would off-set the loss.

Work already undertaken on site is “unduly dominant”, it said, and that overall, it is an “overdevelopment”.

It also described the extension as “overbearing”, causing “loss of privacy” to neighbours.

Bucks Free Press:

The former RAF Association “RAFA” Club

Cllr Tony Green agreed: “The residential development is overbearing and overlooks the neighbouring properties. It is overdevelopment of the site and should be refused.”

While neighbour, Mr Sajad Hussain, had concerns about security and possible overshadowing.

“This proposal worries me immensely for my…welfare and the security of my property,” said Mr Hussain. “Access to the building is through the shared access road and directly past my front and back doors.

“In addition, the community building proposal will also create a shadow and less light into my property and garden.”

“The existing building is a designated asset of community value,” said the council. “No [Community Needs Assessment (CNA)] has been submitted.

“Whilst a replacement community facility has been included…insufficient evidence has been submitted to demonstrate that the new building, which is smaller in scale than the existing facility, would off-set the loss of the existing asset of community value.”

It added: “The works already undertaken have resulted in unduly dominant additions to the existing building.

“The overall proposal would represent an overdevelopment of the site. As such, the development would appear incongruous and be harmful to the character and appearance of the area.

“Moreover, the introduction of a new community building would further increase activity on site, which in combination with the use of the flats, would create noise and disturbance for the neighbouring residents.”

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