Monday, 23 September 2019

Man loses again over new island home plan

Man loses again over new island home plan

A MAN’S plan to protect his island home in Henley from flooding has been opposed by town councillors for a second time.

Raj Aurora wanted to demolish his house on Rod Eyot and build a new property on stilts.

The existing timber-framed, single-storey house was built in the Twenties and is one of 11 on the island, four of which have been raised since the floods in 2014, which were the highest in 50 years.

Mr Aurora, who has lived there for 30 years, initially applied for planning permission for a two-storey house earlier this year.

He said the impact of the increase in height would be offset by locating the property towards the middle of the site, reducing its prominence. It would have four bedrooms, the same as the current house, plus a small studio room on the upper floor.

However, the town council’s planning committee recommended the application was refused, saying the design would set a height precedent for other buildings on the island and that it was overbearing and overdevelopment.

Neighbours also objected, saying the new property would “create a precedent to the detriment of the visual amenity of the island as a whole”.

Now the committee has objected to Mr Aurora’s revised plan in which he has removed the upper storey.

Councillor Michelle Thomas said she sympathised with the owner but added: “I still think the design is overbearing for the plot that it’s on. Something needs to happen because it’s in a flood plain but it just needs to be more sympathetic to the existing builds and surroundings.”

Mayor Ken Arlett, who chairs the committee, said: “I do think the design is totally out of character with others there at the moment and it needs to be a little bit more sympathetic.”

But Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak supported the revised plan, saying: “The main concern was the upper storey and that’s been removed, so therefore I think it’s more in keeping.”

The committee voted by four votes to three to recommend that the application is refused by South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority.

The committee also objected to a new fence at a house in Peppard Lane. Dr Graeme McGuinness erected the 1.8m high fence in April without consent and is now seeking retrospective planning permission.

Cllr Gawrysiak said: “I think it’s an eyesore — a monstrosity.”

Cllr Thomas said: “ It’s a very, very narrow lane and there are children that walk up and down that lane from Gillotts School so it’s an absolute no on safety grounds.”

The committee said fencing was not in character with the rest of Peppard Lane and said a hedge would provide a wildlife habitat.

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