Friday, 22 September 2017

Consultant may advise on planning

A PLANNING consultant could be employed by Henley Town Council to help oppose housing developments.

The consultant would present arguments against planning applications that do not follow the joint Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan.

A £5,000 budget has been created to employ a consultant on an ad-hoc basis when issues arise.

Councillor Simon Smith, chairman of the council’s planning committee, said: “We know how quickly these applications can move and this is a contingency should we need to move to combat any problems rather than having to ask and wait.”

The neighbourhood plan, which names sites where about 500 homes should go by 2027, passed referendum in March but there are concerns it is being ignored.

In June plans by McCarthy & Stone for 53 homes for the elderly and disabled were approved by South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, even though the plan earmarked the site for 55 ordinary flats.

Will Hamilton, who chairs the council’s finance strategy and management committee meeting, said the money would only be spent on a consultant if it was needed.

But Councillor Reissmann said: “We should be understanding what our legal position is, the position of the district council’s land supply and the legality of the whole matter.

“Would a consultant offer added value to us? I’m not sure they would.”

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