Friday, 12 August 2022

Developer seeks to capitalise on Thames Farm homes decision

A DEVELOPER is making another attempt to secure planning permission to convert a barn into four homes after 95 dwellings on the adjoining site were approved.

DPDS Consulting has resubmitted an application for the conversion of Thames Farm Barn at Thames Farm, off the A4155 Reading Road in Shiplake, to South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority.

Claire Engbers, who owns Thames Farm, won permission to develop the adjoining land on appeal last month after more than four years of legal wrangling.

A proposal to convert the barn was submitted by DPDS on behalf of Thames Farm Developments, which has a conditional contract to buy both the barn and the rest of the site.

The company has also lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate asking for a full award of costs against the district council for “unreasonable behaviour” in the way in which the first application was refused.

The plan was turned down by councillors in July but the company argues that the principle of residential use had already been established as the barn had planning permission for use as a single residential unit.

The council’s planning committee had concerns over road safety and the potential impact of the proposed development on the character and appearance of the area.

In a statement, the developer said: “Both of these issues were considered in great detail and rejected by a planning inspector who granted permission for the development of up to 95 houses on the adjoining Thames Farm site.

“The inspector concluded that ‘residents of the proposed housing scheme would have safe pedestrian access to Lower Shiplake and safe cycling access to the village and Henley. The proposed development would not be detrimental to highway safety’.

“The inspector concluded that ‘taking into account residential development to the south and west of the site, the dwelling to the north west of the site, development on the north side of Bolney Lane, which includes a derelict nursery, the barn between the site and the lane, and a residential property to the east of the site with the frontage to the A4155, it is worth noting that the site is within developed rather than open countryside’.

“It is the applicant/appellant’s opinion that the above more than comprehensively deals with the reasons for which the barn application was refused.”

Les Durrant, managing director of DPDS, said: “This new planning application for the conversion of the barn into four residential units will give councillors the opportunity to reconsider their earlier decision to refuse permission, contrary to the advice of their professional officers, and acknowledge that the principle of residential use is already established by the extant permission.”

Objections to the plan were submitted by Harpsden and Shiplake parish councils and Henley Town Council, all of which said the scheme had poor pedestrian access.

Tudor Taylor, chairman of Shiplake Parish Council, said he was not surprised the company had re-applied for planning permission in light of the Thames Farm decision but that the council would object again.

He said: “We did object to the conversion of the barn based on the same principle that the road was unsafe for users to cross.

“The homes were aimed at families, therefore there would be children needing to cross the road.

“I’m very disappointed that the consultants feel so strongly that they want to apply for costs against the local authority — it’s our residents’ money in a sense.”

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