Thursday, 18 August 2022

Thames Farm scheme 'is only one against plan'

ONLY one planning application has been approved which fails to adhere to the Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan , according to the leader of South Oxfordshire District Council.

That is the plan to build 95 homes at Thames Farm, off Reading Road near Shiplake, which was approved earlier this month.

The application was refused permission by the district council in September but this decision was overturned by a planning inspector after the landowner Claire Engbers appealed. The council is considering a legal challenge.

The Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan did not include the site.

Speaking at a meeting of Henley Town Council’s neighbourhood plan committee, chairman Ken Arlett said district council leader John Cotton had told him that Thames Farm was the only approved site that went against the plan.

Kester George, chairman of Harpsden Parish Council, said: “I’m not impressed with the way Cotton describes the matter.”

The committee agreed to submit to the National Association of Local Councils examples of its neighbourhood plan being ignored by the district council.

These include the former Jet garage site in Reading Road, Henley, where McCarthy & Stone is building 53 “extra care” flats for the elderly and disabled on land earmarked for ordinary housing.

The district council also gave permission to Henthames to build an 80-bed, three-storey care home at the former LA Fitness site in Newtown Road, even though the site was not one of the 11 earmarked for housing in the plan.

Similarly, Ashill Lane was given permission for 17 new homes off Greys Road, Henley, despite failing to meet the affordable housing quota outlined in the plan. Instead, the developer offered to build five affordable flats, or 29 per cent, and 12 houses on the commercial estate sold by merchant drapers M Makower & Co.

Meanwhile, B&M Care has applied for planning permission for a 65-bed care home on the site of the former youth centre in Deanfield Avenue, which is earmarked for 23 homes in the plan.

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