Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Jet garage plans recommended for refusal again

PLANS to build 55 homes at the former Jet petrol station and National Tyres garage in

PLANS to build 55 homes at the former Jet petrol station and National Tyres garage in Henley have been recommended for refusal again.

Inland Homes has submitted a revised application for six blocks of flats at the Reading Road site, which the company bought last year. The plans include 11 one-bedroom flats, 42 with two bedrooms and two with three.

Henley Town Council’s planning committee said the scheme was acceptable in principle but wanted the developer to provide more information on the number of “affordable” units.

When the first proposal was submitted to South Oxfordshire District Council in January, town councillors said it should be rejected as it would spoil the character of the area.

Inland’s architects divided the green frontage along Reading Road into individual gardens for several ground floor flats. They also added a small tower on the corner of the south-eastern entrance where there would be a small public park with a tree.

Councillor Dieter Hinke, who chairs planning committee, said: “Henley needs smaller homes and to attract younger professionals. The Jet garage was considered ideal because it is brownfield land and has the capacity to accommodate underground parking.

“Other sites like Highlands Farm are more suitable for houses but this is perfect for flats. Across the way there is the Tesco supermarket so people can go shopping without needing to use their cars.

“I did have concerns about the density but now I think the amount is dead right. We can clearly state that we are happy with the design, the trees and the planting but until the volume and location of the affordable homes is decided I don’t feel we should pass it. The issue of affordable homes is very important.”

Councillor Sam Evans said: “I think they’ve made great efforts to fit in with the usual two-storey housing style in Henley and the landscaping seems targeted at the people we want to attract.”

The site is earmarked for 55 dwellings in the second draft of the joint Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan. A survey carried out by the town council showed 84 per cent of respondents supported developing it.

A date for a final decision has not been set.

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