Saturday, 21 July 2018

10 flats planned for sheltered housing estate

PLANS to demolish sheltered housing in Watlington and build 10 new flats in its place have

PLANS to demolish sheltered housing in Watlington and build 10 new flats in its place have been submitted to South Oxfordshire District Council.

Soha Housing wants to knock down 11 units at Parslow House, in Springfield Close, which had housed the elderly.

The 10 new dwellings would be a mixture of six two bed, and four one bedroom flats. There will 13 car parking spaces provided, six more than currently on the site.

A design and access statement submitted by Dijksman Planning said the block of flats and bedsits was originally granted permission in 1971 and it now provides “poor quality accommodation in need of significant updating”.

It added: “The six bedsits are particularly inappropriate and unsuitable. These units do not meet modern space standards and the accommodation is poorly and inefficiently arranged, insulated and heated.

“It is intended to reduce the number of dwellings from 11 to 10 and replace the existing dated and institutional style building with a single building comprised of four distinct elements which have a more domestic scale and appearance.

“These 10 new flats will be built in accordance with current building regulations and therefore to a far higher specification than the existing accommodation.

“They represent a significant improvement in the living environment available to future occupiers. The proposed new dwellings are to be brick built with render and brick detailing, executed in a style that is more akin to a group of houses than a block of flats.”

The town is working towards a draft of its neighbourhood plan but the application said improvements resulting from the redevelopment were consistent with the principles set out within ‘What Watlington Wants’, in particular the provision of affordable homes.

The application added: “This proposed replacement of a 1970s institutional building with a newly designed articulated row of ‘dwellings’, positioned upon the previous buildings footprint, will not have a materially greater impact upon the rural landscape.

“Although the village is within the setting of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty the area of countryside in the vicinity of this site was excluded from that designation and the built edge already exists. As such the material change resulting from this redevelopment, in terms of impact upon the setting of the area of outstanding natural beauty, is minimal.

“The quality of the proposed design and materials will ensure that any visual impact that the new building has on the appearance of this edge of the village in the landscape will be positive.

“The new scheme is laid out to ensure that the amenities of neighbouring properties are not compromised by overlooking or overshadowing.”

But Roope Aaltonen, of nearby Chiltern Gardens, raised concerns about the development overlooking his property and has asked Soha to clarify the intended use of the flats.

He said: “My main concern is regarding the placement of the windows at the south west end of the property, and specifically the kitchen window of the first floor no.10 flat.

“By my estimation, based on the plans submitted, this window is located so that it overlooks our rear garden and, more worryingly, may give a view into our bedroom. I cannot however be certain whether this is the case, and would like further details to clarify the matter.”

Samantha Wingrove, of Springfield Close, raised concerns about access, increased traffic and noise and loss of privacy in her garden.

The district council is set to make a decision by November 9.

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