Saturday, 28 November 2020

Plans submitted for assisted living flats at old garage site

PLANS to build 53 flats for the elderly on the site of the former Jet garage

PLANS to build 53 flats for the elderly on the site of the former Jet garage in Henley have been submitted to South Oxfordshire District Council.

McCarthy & Stone, which bought the land on the corner of Reading Road and Mill Lane last summer, wants to build a four-storey complex containing one- and two-bedroom “assisted living” flats for private sale.

These would be aimed at older people who need care due to illness or disability but do not want to go into a care home. The flats would be self-contained with their own kitchens and bathroom and owned by the occupants but have carers and other services on site.

The developer, which specialises in retirement properties, exhibited the blueprints at Henley town hall in January and set up a website where residents could give their views.

The scheme would be built in partnership with architect Lewis and Hickey and would include 40 parking spaces and landscaped gardens.

McCarthy & Stone says there is a need for the development as there are only 66 retirement homes available for leasehold sale per 1,000 residents in South Oxfordshire, according to a survey it commissioned.

The company says most occupiers would be people downsizing from within five miles of Henley so it would release their properties on to the market.

It is proposing a single U-shaped building with access off Mill Lane and parking to the rear. The building would use a “mixed palette” of local materials and some top-floor flats would have balconies with large dormers.

The site is earmarked for 55 homes in the joint Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan. Inland Homes, the previous owner, was awarded planning permission to build that number of ordinary flats last year. However, it pulled out without starting work.

McCarthy & Stone says its proposal is smaller and set further back from Reading Road, increasing privacy for those living opposite, and would generate less traffic as assisted living residents tend not to drive.

A spokesman said it would boost the local economy as residents were likely to spend a higher than average proportion of their disposable income in Henley’s shops. He said: “On moving, residents in later life tend to release under-occupied family housing, which helps to stimulate the housing chain and gives young families and first-time buyers a better opportunity within the local housing market.

“We are grateful for the feedback we have received through our public consultation and have sought to provide a scheme that makes use of this brownfield site, respects the surrounding town centre and provides an attractive building on the edge of Henley.”

Town councillors have previously expressed concern as the neighbourhood plan says new developments should meet a mix of needs and include an “affordable” element.

Meanwhile, developer Henthames wants to to build an 80-bed care home on the site of the former LA Fitness gym in Newtown Road, Henley, which would also be accessed from Mill Lane.

Councillors and neighbours have objected, claiming this would put too much traffic pressure on the narrow lane.

The district council’s decision on the Henthames proposal has been been put on hold after Network Rail objected, saying the care home would encroach on its land and could affect railway maintenance.

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