Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Our new characterful builds will add to town’s heritage

WHILST the Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan has been in the headlines for the last few

WHILST the Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan has been in the headlines for the last few years, one agent in particular has been quietly and effectively dealing with new homes in Henley.

David Tate, founder and joint managing director of Davis Tate estate agents has been advising developers and landowners since the company was founded in 1991.

But his experience in new-build goes back to his childhood. “My parents moved to Henley in 1963 when my dad, a quantity surveyor, got a job with architect Maurice Day,” David says.

“Shortly afterwards, my parents built their own house in the town and I remember moving into it when it wasn’t quite finished.”

About 50 years later history repeated itself when David and his wife built their own oak-framed house in South Oxfordshire.

David recalls that his A-level geography project, when a student at the former Henley Grammar School, in 1976, was the growth of residential development in Henley.

This involved tracking the developments built in the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies, namely Hunters Ride — Elizabeth and Nicholas Roads — Wootton Manor, and Deanfield Road.

“I recall the road that linked the then cul-de-sacs of Valley and Deanfield Roads being cut through the valley with a huge scar of chalk, in the mid-Seventies, and then in the Eightes,” says David.

“I was one of the first residents at King James Way and I always remember that I bought my flat there when I was 23......and it cost me £23,000!”

By the early Nineties that knowledge of the area really helped put Davis Tate on the map. Their first new homes site was for Berkeley Homes, at what is now Auton Place, off Green Lane, and since then the agency has sold 20 new homes sites in and around Henley.

These include Bell Street Mews, The Copse, a site of former police houses on Reading Road, Norman House, the flats and houses formed from the former police station in King’s Road, three sites in Wargrave for Millgate Homes, as well as one in Peppard, Butlers Yard in Peppard, and numerous others.

Along the way, David has established a reputation for planning and development expertise and advice, and he gives confidential and long-term information to developers locally and nationally.

“People get very involved in discussing planning and its rights and wrongs,” says David. “But every house was once a green field, and it’s essential that Henley and South Oxfordshire continue to grow and offer the much needed housing.

“New schemes have to meet rigorous planning requirements that constantly evolve, and we work closely with land buyers and developers to ensure all the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed. It’s a complicated and time consuming process but it is satisfying to see how quickly new homes become part of the built environment.”

Not many people know, for example, that Henley Golf Club was built in 1907 by a consortium of developers who wanted to add to the attraction of the town, so the addition of local amenities by developers has been going on for over a century.

Two particular schemes, which have been years in the planning, are now available for off-plan reservations prior to their formal launch later in the year.

Farnehurst, on Peppard Lane, is the culmination of a difficult planning negotiation by Millgate, and there are just three family homes on the site.

Built in the grounds of the original rectory of Harpsden Church, great care has been taken to ensure that these houses will quickly blend into the local scene.

Each home offers the factors that make Millgate multi-award winners, with attention to detail, quality and design innovation apparent in each house. A great advantage for buyers is that there are very similar houses available to be seen and walked around at Millgate’s Hamilton Place development at Checkendon, where phase two will be released on October 8, with the last four homes available to move into before Christmas.

The second scheme is Laureate Gardens at Townlands Hospital.

David explains: “The construction of the new hospital was conditional on the retention of the Grade II listed buildings on the site. Most had fallen into disuse, but an imaginative scheme has been drawn, offering 26 new dwellings within the existing buildings, plus a new block of eight flats echoing the design of the hospital itself.”

Purchasers of these new homes, which include cottages, studio-style homes and large apartments, must be over 55. The designs have been re-examined over and over to meet the needs of the expected local downsizing market, with en-suites wherever possible, utility rooms and in some cases ‘his and hers’ separate studies.

Every home will have parking, and the landscaping plan includes underground parking and lavishly planted courtyards, whilst all the houses will also have private gardens.

Construction work will begin in earnest in 2017, and buyers are encouraged to reserve off-plan to secure the house best suited to them. Davis Tate have a site model, approved plans and full details at their offices in Bell Street, just a few hundred yards from the site.

For more information on any of the current new homes being sold by Davis Tate, contact David on (01491) 412345.

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