Friday, 20 July 2018

Fair Mile offices to be turned into housing

A FORMER hospital site in Henley is set to be turned into a development of 35 homes, writes Connor McLoughlin

A FORMER hospital site in Henley is set to be turned into a development of 35 homes, writes Connor McLoughlin.

Developer Threadneedle UK Property Select doesn’t need planning permission to convert the Smith Centre, off Fair Mile, into housing because it would be covered by permitted development rights.

But this also means the houses would not be included in the target outlined in the joint Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan.

Currently the site is used for offices. The hospital, which specialised in treating mentally ill children, closed in 1988.

The site is made up of six detached office buildings providing up to 3,245 sq m of office space and there are 149 car parking spaces.

Threadneedle is proposing to build 15 one-bedroom, 13 two-bedroom and seven three-bedroom units. The development would include 55 car parking spaces and 92 bicycle spaces.

A transport report by JMP Consultants, of London, says there would be fewer cars using the site as a result of the change of use. It says: “The proposed residential development is likely to result in 65 fewer two-way vehicle trips in the morning peak hour, 52 fewer two-way vehicle trips in the evening peak hour and up to 290 fewer two-way vehicle trips over a day.

“The redevelopment proposal is therefore not considered to result in an adverse impact upon the local highway network, pedestrian and cycle infrastructure or public transport networks.”

The neighbourhood plan, which passed a referendum in March, names 11 sites where about 500 new homes must go by 2027 to meet targets.

Dieter Hinke, who chairs the neighbourhood plan steering group, said the Threadneedle development would not affect the target.

He said: “This counts as infill development and infill does not count off the neighbourhood plan quantity. If someone decides to build six homes in a back garden that would count as infill and not come off the neighbourhood plan. I’ve protested against this because Henley does have many big back gardens.

“We just have to put as much pressure as we can on the district council so they know how we feel about this.

“We will be getting more houses in Henley. This is why, even though we have the neighbourhood plan, we need to be aware so we can protest and say we are not happy about it.”

Rebecca Chandler-Wilde, vice-chairwoman of the group, said: “If Henley is asked to take more houses could we say we have more at the top of the Fair Mile anyway?”

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