Thursday, 21 October 2021

Council concerned at second Dry Leas extension

THE second phase of redevelopment work at Henley Rugby Club should meet the highest environmental standards, say town councillors.

The club unveiled its new clubhouse in September and is now planning to add a changing room block at Dry Leas, costing £300,000.

The single-storey extension on the western side of the building will include toilets, which means the Hawks will meet Rugby Football Union standards, as well as a club shop.

Henley Town Council has already recommended that a request by the club to lower its Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method rating from “very good” to “good” is refused by South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority.

BREEM is a method of assessing, rating and certifying the sustainability of buildings.

The club says the target is “not viable” due to the size and nature of the building.

Tom Wyatt, team leader development management (east) at the district council, wrote to the town council asking it to reconsider its objection.

He says the very good standard is usually required for non-residential developments of up to 500m sq.

“However, the applicant has advised that meeting this standard would not be feasible due to a relatively small increase in size of the building — 200m sq — and would not be viable for the rugby club,” said Mr Wyatt.

But Simon Smith, who chairs the town council’s planning committee, said the council should stick to its guns.

Councillor Ian Reissmann agreed, saying: “There are good reasons for this, for the environment and supporting the principles of sustainable development in the town.

“Whether or not the district council chooses to approve it, we expect these standards to be maintained as much as possible.

“I think we should go ahead and ask them to build it in a way we supported it at the time.”

Councillor Jane Smewing said she believed the application would be approved by the district council anyway.

The committee agreed to maintain its current objection.

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