Thursday, 25 May 2017

Thames Farm homes 'should be approved'

Thames Farm homes 'should be approved'

PLANS to convert a barn on the outskirts of Shiplake into four homes have been recommended for approval.

South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning officers say the scheme at Thames Farm, off the A4155 Reading Road, would alleviate a housing shortage without harming the surroundings.

Thames Farm Developments intends to divide the building into a terrace of houses with a new outbuilding to provide 12 parking spaces. The homes would be accessed by the existing driveway off Bolney Lane while access from Reading Road would be shut.

The site is within Harpsden parish and the parish council has objected, saying Thames Farm is not earmarked for development in the Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan and has poor pedestrian access.

Shiplake Parish Council and Henley Town Council have objected on similar grounds, as have the Henley Society and 28 neighbours.

Opponents also say the development would set a precedent and erode the green boundary separating the three settlements.

Oxfordshire County Council’s highways officers have not objected.

In a report to the district council’s planning committee, which will consider the application on Wednesday, officer Emma Bowerman says permission has already been granted to convert the building into offices or a single dwelling.

Ms Bowerman says: “This would bring back into use an empty building at a time when there is an identified need for additional housing.

“The conversion of the barn to four homes would represent a more efficient use of the site than converting to one large house. The provision of four homes would contribute towards housing needs and... is acceptable.”

Claire Engbers, who owns the 14-acre site, is separately pursuing a planning appeal over her proposal to build 95 homes on an adjoining field.

A date for the proceedings has been set for June 13.

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