Sunday, 13 June 2021

Opposition to more homes along A4155

Opposition to more homes along A4155

PLANS for 20 new homes in Shiplake are being opposed by Henley Town Council.

Westbourne Homes has applied for planning permission to build on a paddock off the A4155 Reading road at the junction with Woodlands Road, immediately south of the Regency Place development, formerly Thames Farm.

The site is in Harpsden parish and is not earmarked for development in the joint Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan.

The development would comprise a mix of detached, semi-detached and terraced houses with one to five bedrooms. Eight would be “affordable” properties in line with planning policy.

The town council’s planning officer Jodie Rhymes says the development would not be sustainable.

It would have a “detrimental” impact on the semi-rural character of the area .

In a report, she says: “The proposal would result in cramped and dense development highly visible in the street scene. The development would extend into and encroach into the countryside and the suburban nature of the application would be damaging to the landscape.

“This is important green space between Thames Farm and Shiplake and development in this location would lead to coalescence of settlements.”

She said that the Regency Place development was granted planning permission on appeal in 2019 due to South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, not having a five-year land supply at the time.

Now the council’s five-year land supply figure was 9.15 years.

Mrs Rhymes said the development would also result in the loss of a number of trees that were considered to have high amenity value.

There were also concerns over the proposed access point so close to a bend in Reading Road and the development would result in more vehicles moving along this stretch of road.

Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak recommended the application is rejected. He said: “It is a large development — 20 dwellings — in what would normally be in that area space for one or two maximum.”

If the scheme is approved, it would bring the number of homes due to be built along a short stretch of the A4155 road to 234, more than seven times the number allocated to Shiplake three years ago.

Westbourne Homes says the site is not within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has no other special landscape designations.

Managing director Charlie Simpson has said the housing would be “logical infill” because of adjacent properties and the 95 homes to be built at Regency Place by Taylor Wimpey.

He said: “The paddock originally had a pleasant semi-rural outlook but this has been undermined by the Taylor Wimpey scheme, which will be clearly visible along the northern boundary and further west.”

Taylor Wimpey was granted planning permission after a long battle between the landowner Claire Engbers and villagers, Shiplake Parish Council and the district council that went to the High Court.

Meanwhile, Retirement Villages Group is to build 11 blocks with 50 flats for the elderly plus 15 bungalows on a 2.65-hectare site opposite the Haileywood Farm industrial estate nearby after winning an appeal against a planning inspector’s decision.

Another 40 homes and some commercial units are due to be built at the former Wyevale garden centre, immediately north of Regency Place, after the Government rejected an appeal by Shiplake Parish Council to intervene.

• What do you think? Write to: Letters, Henley Standard, Caxton House, 1 Station Road, Henley or email

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