Wednesday, 25 November 2020

High Sheriff scraps new house plan

THE High Sheriff of Berkshire has withdrawn an application to build a house in the garden of her Henley home

THE High Sheriff of Berkshire has withdrawn an application to build a house in the garden of her Henley home following complaints by neighbours.

Professor Suzanna Rose and her husband Clive wanted to move into the new four-bedroom detached house in Rotherfield Road because it would be easier to maintain than their current home.

The couple are both semi-retired and their garden is becoming too difficult for them to manage.

The application was withdrawn last Friday, a week before South Oxfordshire District Council was due to consider it, after Henley Town Council’s planning committee recommended that it be refused.

Prof Rose, who was deputy lord lieutenant before becoming High Sheriff and is vice-president of the British Red Cross, has lived with her husband at their current home for seven years.

The proposed house was to enable them to stay in the area.

The property was to be two storeys with a new access on to Rotherfield Road. The ground floor would have comprised a study, kitchen, family room, utility room, hallway and stairs, lift, cloakroom and an integral double garage, including an area for cycle storage.

On the first floor would have been four double bedrooms, two en-suite, and a family bathroom. Trees screening the house from the south were to be retained.

A design and access statement prepared by Scandia-Hus, of East Grinstead, said the Roses wanted to build a high-quality, energy efficient property that they would be able to enjoy “well into old age”.

The house would be “a new, economical and easy-to-run dwelling that will sit well in the area and will enable our clients to remain in the town”.

The statement said: “It is appropriate in terms of footprint size and plot size, leaving a private rear garden of a similar size or larger than others in the area for the existing property and for the new dwelling.

“The effect is therefore one of improvement and enhancement of the setting of this site in Henley.” The company said the Roses had received a “large number” of approaches from developers to buy their property.

Objectors included neighbours and a conservation group.

Steve Miller, of Harpsden Way, said: “In the vicinity of Rotherfield Road and Harpsden Way there is clearly the opportunity to have major infill with new build for many of the properties.

“I estimated there could be major infill for up to 25 property owners who could develop in a similar way to this new build proposition.

“Inevitably major infill, and what we consider to be overdevelopment, fundamentally changes the character of the area.”

The Henley Society said: “We have reservations about squeezing a new house into Rotherfield Road as this road is characterised by large properties with substantial gardens and surrounding trees.

“In any event, the proposed new house has a pedestrian design which would fail to do justice to this corner plot.”

The town council said the house would be out of keeping with the area and too big for the plot and the access point would be too close to the T-junction on the main road.

Councillor Sam Evans, a member of the planning committee, said: “The building is wrong relative to the other buildings. They seem to have put something together with little thought or care.”

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