Saturday, 02 July 2022

£50m ‘extra care’ homes named Henley Meadows

£50m ‘extra care’ homes named Henley Meadows

A LARGE complex of “extra care” flats and cottages to be built in Shiplake will be named Henley Meadows.

Planning permission for the £50million development on land east of Reading Road on the southern edge of the village was granted on appeal in 2019.

Earlier this month, South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, approved proposals by GHL (Coolsilk), of Loughton, Essex, on the scale, appearance, layout and landscaping of the scheme.

The six-acre retirement “village” will consist of up to 65 new homes ranging in size from one to three bedrooms, including penthouses and cottages.

Each cottage will have a front and back garden and off-street parking. Each block of flats will have a lift and stairs.

There will also be a new clubhouse containing a bistro, bar, gym and fitness suite and care services for the elderly residents which will be located in the middle of the development. At the top of the clubhouse there will be space for staff facilities and an overnight suite for guests.

London developer Galliard Homes, which has planned the scheme in partnership with Probitas Developments and London developer O’Shea, will be using brick and timber cladding for the buildings.

The blocks of flats will be two-and-a-half storeys with six flats on each level.

The homes will have balconies, terraces or private gardens complete with gables and timber cladding.

The developer has also promised 100 new trees and 5,000sq m of planting as well as a vegetable garden and an orchard to try to deliver a 60 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions and a 50 per cent reduction in energy costs for the residents.

This will also include a car sharing club, 35 cycle bays and 86 parking spaces plus electric vehicle charging points. Architect Nick Baker put the designs together and Galliard Homes hopes construction will begin next month with sales commencing in July.

Beatrix Lehnert, director of Probitas Developments, said: “There is a lack of high-quality accommodation and services for the over-65s on the market and our aim is to deliver the best in class homes, services and operations.

“It is important to us that the customer always comes first, creating ‘healthy homes’ for residents to continue to enjoy their lifestyle in high-quality, thoughtfully designed accommodation with attention to detail.”

The plans were first rejected by the planning authority in 2017, which said the development would urbanise the countryside and erode the “green gap” between Shiplake Cross and Lower Shiplake.

The company appealed but then withdrew the application before a hearing took place.

It then revived its plans in October 2018, saying the development without the care home would have less of an impact. It said none of the proposed buildings would be more than two storeys.

The district council rejected the application again in January 2019, saying it was too large and would still erode the “green gap”.

It also said residents wouldn’t have easy access to shops and services, especially on foot, because of the rural location and that visibility at the proposed entrance was poor and potentially dangerous.

Shiplake and Harpsden parish councils objected to both applications, along with the Chiltern Society and 63 neighbours.

But a planning inspector overturned the district council’s decision in October 2019, saying that the benefits of the development outweighed any harm to the landscape.

Shiplake Parish Council opposed the latest application, saying the development failed to comply with the village’s emerging neighbourhood plan.

Councillor Chris Penrose said the designs were “unsympathetic” and the flats would be “visually intrusive”.

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