PLANS have been submitted to demolish the former Jet petrol station and National Tyres garage in Henley ready for the site to be developed.
The land off Mill Lane and Reading Road has been put forward as a possible location for 55 homes under the draft joint Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan.
But the planning application by Inland Homes, which bought the site last year, has been made to South Oxfordshire District Council before the results of public consultation on the plan have been published.
The company has already closed off the site and plans to begin demolition work this month.
Dieter Hinke, chairman of Henley Town Council’s neighbourhood plan governance committee, wasn’t surprised the application had been made so soon.
He said: “I think that as developers they think it’s an ideal site for housing and decided to go ahead with it.
“The danger they have got, of course, is that if there are any difficulties with the site it won’t go ahead so they are taking a risk.”
Last week, the Henley Standard reported that the district council has concerns about the number of homes proposed for the 1.34 acre site. The council said: “Some of the sites have rather ambitious numbers proposed... this is fine if the community is aware that it will be challenging to accommodate this along with necessary parking, gardens etc.
“The allocations will likely result in a high proportion of flats so a wide choice of homes may be difficult to achieve.”
Nine plots have been identified in the draft plan, which was put together by a series of volunteer working groups and allocates space for between 400 and 485 homes to be built by 2027.
Landowners in the two parishes offered 17 sites late last year and the groups assessed each one before announcing a shortlist in April.
Eight are presumed to be available and fit for development and could take 400 dwellings in total.
This is the absolute minimum that Henley must take by 2027 under the district council’s core strategy.
The ninth is Gillotts School, which wants to sell a 3.4 hectare playing field for housing to fund a £10 million refurbishment. It has applied for the Government’s permission to dispose of the land.
The site has space for at least 50 units but this could increase to 85 if the school could prove it was needed.
The Jet petrol station closed at the end of May and the former National Tyres garage shut in January. Contractors removed the pumps and Inland Homes put up security fencing and removed the signage and canopy.
An Inland Homes spokesman said: “Now that the site is no longer in use, the demolition of the existing buildings will ensure it remains safe and secure.
“It also means we will be in a position to move forward with delivering much-needed homes when the neighbourhood plan is adopted.”