Saturday, 23 January 2021

Neighbours in fight to stop block of flats

Neighbours in fight to stop block of flats

NEIGHBOURS are objecting to plans for five new flats in Henley.

Ray Hudson already has planning permission for a three-bedroom house on land in Harcourt Close.

Now he has made an amended application to South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, for consent for a three-storey block with three two-bedroom flats and two with three bedrooms.

Members of Henley Town Council’s planning committee recommended refusal at a meeting last week.

They heard from members of the public who raised concerns about overlooking, loss of privacy, insufficient parking and the size of the development.

Louise Pegley, of Deanfield Road, said the flats would be “gross overdevelopment” of the site.

“The building is vast and it will be completely overbearing,” she said. “It’s much bigger than any of the other properties along the road.”

The block would also be 1m away from the nearest house compared with 6m for the proposed house and would mean the removal or reduction of several trees, she said.

“It’s not pretty,” said Mrs Pegley. “It’s made up of lots of hardstanding, brick walls, and there’s no landscaping.

“He’s trying to extend the size of his site to be able to fit in a huge building which is not appropriate for that site.

“The big issue for us in Deanfield Road is the overlooking. It’s five flats with five balconies with no outdoor space other than their balconies.

“They will be looking straight into our study. Because it’s on an elevation, it’s going to be a lot worse than if the flats were built on the same level as our properties.”

Nigel Field, who lives in Harcourt Close, said it was small residential cul-de-sac with 18 properties where children played in the road as it was a safe and quiet.

The block of flats would “dramatically” increase the amount of traffic as it would be at the end of the street and change the safe nature of the road.

Louise Dodd said the scale and mass of the development was at odds with any other building in Harcourt Close, Haywards Close and Deanfield Road.

Existing properties were built on steep rising ground but the proposal was relying on an “over-engineered” solution incorporating retaining walls, tiered terraces and balconies “shoehorned into every conceivable space”.

“The result is a scheme which overlooks itself and neighbouring properties,” she said.

The Henley Society says the building would be out of character with its surroundings and overlook neighbouring properties.

It would also be overdevelopment of the site and cause damage to trees.

Councillors had objected to the previous application, raising concerns about the size and bulk of the proposed building, the lack of parking and overlooking.

Planning officer Jodie Rhymes told the committee that the amended plans did not address these concerns and the size of the building had not been reduced.

Councillor Laurence Plant said: “I think we can pretty much throw the book at this one. They haven’t come back with any alterations that make it viable given our previous grounds for refusal.”

The district council is due to make a decision by December 16.

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