Sunday, 12 July 2020

Councillors in favour of 72 homes despite concerns

Councillors in favour of 72 homes despite concerns

PLANS to build 72 homes in a field off Fair Mile in Henley have been backed by town councillors.

Members of the town council’s planning committee agreed to support the application by  Thames Properties, of Richmond, but asked for a number of conditions to be set.

The developer wants to demolish a house on a 4.6-hectare plot on the west side of the road, immediately north of the houses in Luker Avenue, and build 52 houses and 20 flats of which 29 would be “affordable”.

The site is earmarked for 60 homes in the joint Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan, which passed a referendum in 2016.

The firm has moved the proposed homes nearer to the centre of the site and expanded the “green buffer” around the perimeter of the development.

But resident Richard Herbert said the flats at the back of the site seemed “disproportionately high” and were 13.5m to the ridge.

He also raised concerns about access and traffic, adding: “How they are going to get out in peak time to a choc-a-block Fair Mile I don’t know, but it doesn’t seem to be addressed in the traffic report.”

Bart le Blanc, also of the Fair Mile, said he was not against development of the site in principle but added: “It seems too big and out of character with the site and grossly underestimates the impact, particularly transport and traffic.” Will Spriggs, whose home borders the site, questioned the suitability of the three-storey flats from an urban design perspective, saying they were not in keeping with the rural character.

David Parker, the architect representing the developer, said it had taken five years to get to this point with two rounds of public consultation. The company originally wanted to build 82 properties but had reduced the number following the consultation.

Mr Parker disputed Mr Herbert’s claim, saying it was closer to 10m from ground level to the ridge of the two-storey flats.

Only one small cottage would be visible in views from the Fair Mile as the houses would be in the lower part of the site.

Councillor Donna Crook accused Mr Parker and the developer of not listening, adding: “I feel you have been very greedy in this design.” She said a five-bedroom house on the site was too near the residents of Crisp Road but was still in the plans and raised concerns about the loss of habitat for wildlife.

Mr Parker said he “resented” her comment about being greedy.

Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak proposed acceptance subject to conditions including wildlife “corridors” and looking again at vision splays on to the Fair Mile.

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