Wednesday, 19 January 2022
A NEW indoor swimming pool could be built as part of proposed improvements to Badgemore Park golf club in Henley.
The club has applied to South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, for permission to extend and alter its clubhouse to provide new fitness facilities, including changing rooms and locker rooms.
The site is within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and none of the buildings on the site is listed.
A planning statement by planning consultant John Phillips says: “The proposal builds on the Badgemore Estate’s existing offer, which includes not only the golf club but existing fitness facilities, conference and office suites, short-stay accommodation, restaurant and event facilities along with the additional short-stay accommodation.
“The development is in keeping with the design of nearby buildings and is an appropriate visual response to the overriding character of the AONB.
“The enlargements have been designed to respect the scale and appearance of the existing building rather than dominating them.”
The new block would be mainly single-storey with a roof terrace for activities such as Pilates and yoga as well as a lightweight roof-level pavilion to be used as a fitness studio.
The club also wants to build a conservatory at the south-eastern end of the clubhouse with a reception area for visitors.
The South Oxfordshire committee of the Campaign to Protect Rural England is worried about light spillage.
It says: “We have serious concerns about the potential for widespread light spillage from the glazed conservatory and large windows included in the new extensions and alterations. These areas of the club are certain to be used during hours of darkness.
“Action should be taken to reduce the potential damage to the dark skies of the AONB and the harm to nocturnal wildlife and human wellbeing.
“We request that mitigating measures be put in place before planning permission is granted.”
The Henley Society, a conservation group, shares these concerns and also says it is worried about Thames Water being able to service the development.
Thames Water says it does not object to the proposal on the basis of the information provided.
However, the company adds: “No development shall be occupied until confirmation has been provided that either all water network upgrades required to accommodate the additional flows to serve the development have been completed or a development and infrastructure phasing plan has been agreed with Thames Water to allow the development to be occupied.”
Henley Town Council and Rotherfield Greys Parish Council have recommended the application is approved.
Ken Arlett, vice-chairman of the town council’s planning committee, said: “Badgemore is probably one of the biggest employers in the town now and this extension will keep more people employed, so it’s good for the town.
“I’m a bit concerned about the comments of the Henley Society. There may well be light spillage — there is light spillage there at the moment but it’s surrounded by trees on all four sides.
“Rotherfield Greys have objected to every application there in the last 20 years, and, amazingly, this one is the biggest and they support it.”
The district council is due to make a decision by Tuesday.
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