Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Planning chief’s wife opposes neighbour’s plan

THE wife of Henley Town Council’s planning chief has criticised plans to replace their next door

THE wife of Henley Town Council’s planning chief has criticised plans to replace their next door neighbour’s home with two properties.

Judith Nimmo-Smith says she “can’t agree” to the demolition of the house in St Andrew’s Road, Henley, and has urged developer Jamie Smith to go “back to the drawing board”.

Mrs Nimmo-Smith is a former member of South Oxfordshire District Council, where she spent six years on the planning committee, and is married to David, who chairs the town council’s planning committee and is also a district and county councillor.

Cllr Nimmo Smith left the meeting as the committee considered Mr Smith’s application to build two three-bedroom houses.

Speaking from the public gallery, Mrs Nimmo-Smith said that many of the houses in St Andrew’s Road had been extended or remodelled over the last 25 years and she and her husband had not raised any objections but Mr Smith’s plans were different.

Mrs Nimmo-Smith said she believed the application was contrary to planning policy which said that consent should only be granted for new development with a high quality and inclusive design that “responds positively to and respects the character of the site and its surroundings”.

She continued: “I surmise the application is a need to make a profit but it shouldn’t be at the cost of an established area. It ought to be put to the developer to go back to the drawing board. I’m sure he could come up with something better. Surely a better solution can be found?”

Andrew Carmichael, who also lives in St Andrew’s Road, also objected, claiming the development would change the character of the street.

“There is car parking for four cars which to me will make it look a lot like a car park,” he said. “Because two dwellings are going on to the property they will extend even further into the garden. Because we are on the down slope of the hill it will generate overlooking.” Mr Smith responded: “The new buildings will be more attractive in the street scene. When you travel up or down St Andrew’s Road it is a mix of housing styles. Not one style is dominant.

“Within the district council core strategy there is a need for smaller housing within the area. Sub-division of plots and houses has already taken place in St Andrew’s Road and the roads off it. How does this differ?”

Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak said: “St Andrew’s Road is primarily huge plots with large houses. We have two properties shoehorned in and it doesn’t respect the settlement of that area.”

Councillor Sam Evans said she had “really struggled” with what view to take and had driven past the site a couple of times.

She said she liked the design of the two proposed houses and there was a need for more homes in Henley.

However, the committee had previously objected to dividing sites and had taken neighbours’ comments into account, she added.

The committee recommended the application is refused. The district council will make a final decision by May 6.

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