Monday, 11 December 2017

17 new homes planned after firm leaves

SEVENTEEN new homes could be built on a small commercial estate off Greys Road in Henley.

SEVENTEEN new homes could be built on a small commercial estate off Greys Road in Henley.

The development would involve the demolition of the buildings belonging to merchant drapers M Makower & Co, who are leaving the site after more than 70 years.

Three tenant businesses, Concord Fabrics, Schools Publishing and Physiolistic, will leave when their leases expire in November.

A house would also be knocked down as part of the development, which incorporates 116 to 118 Greys Road.

M Makower & Co managing director Jane Makower, whose family owns the land, put it forward as a possible housing site for the joint Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan.



The offer was accepted and the site was allocated 13 new homes in the plan, which was approved in a referendum in March.

The family is now selling the land to developer Ashill Land, which wants to build five one-bedroom “affordable” flats and 11 houses with between three and five bedrooms.

M Makower & Co has been based at the site since 1945 but Ms Makower, who is the fifth generation of her family to run the business, said it was the right time to move.

She said: “The leases fall out at the end of this year so we decided to take advice.

“We wanted to know how easy it would be to let the spaces again and were told we would not be able to let them for what we get now.

“However, they told us that with Henley’s housing shortage, the site was more valuable than we realised, so we became part of the neighbourhood plan at the last minute.”

Ms Makower said the area was no longer suitable for commercial use as it was surrounded by housing. “We have decided to look for somewhere more suitable for commercial use,” she said.

“We are staying locally — that’s the plan — and we might have to rent something before we buy somewhere.

“Apart from two members of staff who are retiring, all our staff are staying and we will look to take on more people who are local.”

Ms Makower and her husband James recently moved from London to Kidmore End to be nearer her parents, Oliver and Pope, who live in Dunsden.

She said: “I’m following in my father’s footsteps. I lived in London for years, as did my father. He moved here when he was 55 and I am 52.

“My husband said we could move to be close to my parents, which is lovely, and Henley is a lovely place to be.

“One gets a certain amount of kudos for being in Henley, which I say is the mecca of the textile industry.” Ashill Land’s application says: “The design has been carefully considered to enhance the existing character of the area.

“The proposed height and massing of the new buildings have been developed with careful consideration… of existing neighbouring properties.

“The design also proposes focal gateway buildings fronting on to King James Way, together with attractive new landscaping.”

A single vehicle access point is proposed for King James Way and the existing access from Greys Road would be closed off.

Thirty-two car parking spaces would be provided together with parking for bicycles in sheds.

South Oxfordshire District Council will make a decision on the application by October 20.

The neighbourhood plan names 11 sites where about 500 homes should go by 2027 to meet Government  targets.



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