Thursday, 23 September 2021

Farm barn conversion is rejected

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

South Oxfordshire District Council says the proposal for Thames Farm, off the A4155 Reading Road, would harm the rural character of the area and be dangerous to prospective residents as it is near a busy road.

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

Highways officers at Oxfordshire County Council initially objected on safety grounds but later agreed these could be overcome by improvements in the road layout.

South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning committee sided with the objections of Harpsden and Shiplake parish councils and Henley Town Council, all of whom said the scheme had poor pedestrian access.

Delivering their decision, members said: “The proposed homes would be positioned off a busy road, in a location that does not offer easy access to services and facilities.

“As such, the proposal would have an adverse effect on the safety of future occupiers, particularly pedestrians and cyclists, and general users of the highway.

“It would also be contrary to the overarching principles of the joint Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan, which aims to deliver additional homes in locations where services and facilities are easily accessible.”

They added: “The density of the development would not be in keeping with the rural surroundings, further detracting from the character and appearance of the locality.”

A separate planning application for 95 homes at Thames Farm is currently the subject of an appeal. Landowner Claire Engbers argued her case at a public inquiry last month and a decision is expected in August.

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