Tuesday, 09 August 2022

Councillors object to conversion of offices into flats

PLANS to convert a Henley office block into flats have been opposed by town councillors.

Ressance, of Newbury, has applied for change of use consent to turn The Hub at Hallmark House, off Station Road, into 23 flats.

Full planning permission is not required as converting offices into homes is covered by “permitted development” legislation and consent could only be refused if there was a risk of flooding or contamination or an adverse impact on road safety.

Henley Town Council’s planning committee heard that the developer would not have to make any contributions towards infrastructure improvements.

Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak said: “This is yet another office block being turned into residential accommodation.

“There is no 40 per cent affordable homes and no community infrastructure levy conditions.

“I don’t feel we are going to get anywhere because of permitted development being primary legislation but I think we should still object.”

The development would include four one-bedroom flats, 17 with two bedrooms and two with three bedrooms. There would be 32 parking spaces.

Ressance says the development would not create any extra traffic or noise.

In 2008 the adjoining building was converted into seven flats.

The committee recommended the application is refused and South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, will make a decision by Tuesday.

The committee also opposed plans for seating outside a Henley coffee shop.

Lawrence Tian and Lucy Lu, who opened Berries in Hart Street in January, want to put four tables and eight chairs on the pavement.

They say the tables would take up space of about 1m wide, leaving 2.25m for passing pedestrians.

But the committee objected on the grounds of lack of space, as has the Henley Society, a conservation group.

The shop unit was occupied by Jonkers Rare Books until it moved across the street in 2016.

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