Friday, 15 February 2019

New homes will block our light, say neighbours

New homes will block our light, say neighbours

PLANS to demolish an office in Henley and build three two-bedroom homes in its place have been criticised by residents and councillors.

Simpson Associates wants to redevelop the site in Friday Street into three townhouses. But neighbours say the development would overlook them and drastically reduce their light.

Stuart Clark, who lives in Queen Street behind the site, told a meeting of Henley Town Council’s planning committee meeting on Tuesday that four households had objected to the plans.

He said: “The density and proximity to our property will significantly damage our quality of life, there’s no two ways about it. We have a very small garden and all we will see is a brick wall.”

He claimed this would reduce light into the property by about 40 per cent, adding: “Afternoon sun will just be eradicated.”

Leslie Plumb, who also lives in Queen Street, wrote in her objection: “The intrusion of my quiet enjoyment of my garden is immense, overbearing, unneighbourly and the lack of sunlight will have a huge impact.”

Michael Warner, also of Queen Street, said: “The amount of sunlight and daylight we currently get, and the extent of the oppressive nature of the existing overlooking buildings, are already at the limits of what we believe is a reasonable level of amenity.

“By all means allow some sort of development within the current height of the existing one-storey offices, but please can we not have further oppressive buildings higher than the current wall built on top of the existing units.

“The small garden for our house is the only outside space we have. We use this little garden all year round for practising football, lacrosse, mending and cleaning bikes, hanging out the washing to dry and in spring, summer and autumn for eating and drinking with friends.

“We have flowers planted and cared for by my mother all around the garden that need sun. In short, this outdoor space is vital to our amenity as a family.”

A design and access statement prepared by Spratley & Partners said the existing single-storey office had “little or no architectural merit” and was unsuitable as a modern office space.

It added: “Overall massing of the proposed building is deemed acceptable from a conservation point of view.

“To minimise the perceived bulk from adjoining residential amenity, the proposed first floor is set back from the existing flank wall, while the roof is chamfered [cut away] to ensure the lowest windows of adjoining properties are unobstructed.

“Sunlight analysis has been carried out to minimise overshadowing on adjoining properties as a consequence of the proposed scheme.”

Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak urged to committee to oppose the application. He said: “I think this is just taking the Mick for all the residents around the site.”

Councillor Will Hamilton said: “It is one of the worst applications I’ve seen in the last eight years on this committee.”

Councillor Laurence Plant called the plans “completely unneighbourly”.

The committee recommended unanimously that the application is refused.

South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, will make the final decision by March 6.

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