Friday, 04 December 2020

Fresh plan for block of flats by historic bridge

A FORMER office block by Henley Bridge could be demolished and replaced by flats.

A FORMER office block by Henley Bridge could be demolished and replaced by flats.

An application to redevelop the site of Thames Bridge House has been made by Churchill Land LLP, of High Wycombe.

The existing property, which is thought to have been built before 1820, has been vacant for years and is badly rundown.

The developer wants to erect a three-storey building plus a basement with four two-bedroom flats.

There would be four parking spaces in a separate single-storey building.

In the application to Wokingham Borough Council, planning consultant WYG says the current building is in a “poor state of repair”.

Located in the green belt, a flood zone and a conservation area, it was last used as offices and before this was a town house.

It is separated from the Grade I listed bridge by the headquarters of Henley Royal Regatta and was once known as Regatta House after it was bought with the intention of it becoming the regatta’s headquarters.

WYG says the footprint of the new block would be almost the same as the existing building and the flats would be “orientated to maximise the potential of the riverside location”.

The company continues: “The proposed apartments are configured with one duplex at ground and first floor with another apartment at ground floor.

“At first floor there is another identical apartment to the one below. On the second floor there is a generously sized penthouse apartment.

“All the apartments have two bedrooms, with one bathroom and one en-suite, and generously sized open plan kitchen and lounge/dining rooms.”

The basement would have a store room for each flat.

The building would be me made of brick and the roof covered in black zinc. The top floor apartment would have a roof terrace while the first floor apartments would have balconies.

The road in and out of the site would not change but there would be a turning space to allow cars to exit going forwards.

WYG says the new building would be “modern” and “sophisticated” and would “respond to the immediate and wider characteristics of the conservation area”.

It continues: “The development will introduce a further exciting building on the approaches to Henley Bridge from the east and this in turn will enhance the future character and value of the area.”

In a letter to the applicant, Oliver Quinn, of chartered surveyors Simmons & Sons, said the firm would be happy to market the property knowing the current demand for offices.

But he added: “I believe it would be incredibly challenging to find a tenant of the subject property, even when providing competitive commercial terms.

“I do not believe it would be a cost-effective property for Simmons & Sons to market due to the time it would take to find a tenant (if ever).”

In June 2011, an application for five flats to be built on the site was withdrawn after Henley town councillors said the area should be protected as it is an entry to the town.

In December 2012 Cullum White Properties was granted planning permission for the erection of four flats in a part-three storey and part-two storey “villa-style” property but no building work took place.

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