Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Office conversion now welcomed

PLANS to convert Northfield House Business Centre in Henley into living accommodation have been revised following objections.

PLANS to convert Northfield House Business Centre in Henley into living accommodation have been revised following objections.

The owners of the listed office building in Northfield End want to turn it into a house with seven double bedrooms, all with en-suite bathrooms and dressing areas, a one-bedroom staff flat, cinema, gym, library and wine store.

A plan also to build a two-storey “coach house” with four garages was opposed by town councillors following opposition by neighbours.

Now the developer has reduced the height of the new block to 4.5m, almost 2m lower than in the original plan.

Planning consultant Jeff Lowe told a meeting of the town council’s planning committee: “We feel that we have responded positively to the comments that you and the neighbours have made.”

Committee chairman Dieter Hinke said: “I do understand that this is a large building and probably a large garage block would suit but my main concern is that if we continue to reduce the angle of the roof we will end up with a flat roof.”

Councillor Martin Akehurst said: “Considering the main house, this has probably gone as far as it can go. There has been a lot of discussion between a number of neighbours and I think we either accept it now or it goes back for a complete redesign.”

Councillor David Clenshaw noted that the Henley Society had no objections to the revised plans. Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak said: “This is a big plot and the design is very nice and does complement the big house.”

The committee agreed to recommend that South Oxfordshire District Council approves the application.

The 19th century building, which is Grade II* listed, was turned into offices in 1993. The business centre was placed in liquidation in 2008 by multi-millionaire owner Robert Gaines-Cooper.

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