Saturday, 05 December 2020

Developer wants flats on land not in plan

HOMES could be built on land in Henley that was rejected for inclusion in the town’s neighbourhood

HOMES could be built on land in Henley that was rejected for inclusion in the town’s neighbourhood plan.

Millgate Homes, of Twyford, is preparing to submit a planning application for 10 flats in a single block at Parkside, a 2.5-acre site it owns to the south of Gravel Hill.

Three years ago, when landowners were invited to put land forward for the draft plan, Millgate suggested building 15 homes.

When the document went out to a consultation, 70 per cent of respondents supported development but the site was ruled out because of the impact on surrounding trees, which are subject to a protection order.

South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, said the land was on the edge of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty so should be eliminated unless Millgate could offset the impact.

Now the company says it has done this by shrinking the proposed development and moving most of the parking underground, reducing the number of trees that would need to be felled.

It says the flats would help make up for the loss of other housing sites in the plan which are set to become care homes.

It also says Henley’s quota of about 500 new homes by 2027 is likely to rise because there is a shortage of immediately available housing land across South Oxfordshire, so the district council is taking a more permissive approach to developments.

Former town councillor Dieter Hinke, who chairs the group responsible for implementing the plan, said: “The site was strongly criticised by the district council and dismissed on its advice. However, the housing land situation may now change the council’s opinion. This is another potential battle it could have avoided by following our plan.”

He added that Millgate would also not have to include an “affordable” element.

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