Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Developer criticised over plan to replace one house with three

RESIDENTS and councillors have criticised another attempt by a developer to knock down a house in Henley and build three in its place.

Palatine Homes, of Beaconsfield, was refused planning permission to redevelop the site in Greys Road in August.

It wanted to build three detached houses on the 0.4-acre site but has now amended the plans to include one detached house and two semi-detached ones.

But residents told a meeting of the town council’s planning committee that the developer hadn’t addressed their previous concerns.

Lorna Walters said: “The original was rejected because of overdevelopment and privacy but the new proposal is actually pretty much the same.

“There’s no precedent for three houses on a plot this size and the developer has done nothing to address this in the new proposal.

“We believe he has exacerbated things by suggesting breaking precedent for a second time by building a semi-detached property, which just don’t exist in our end of Greys Road. The view from Greys Road if you looked in on the property would be overbearing and would, if anything, be made worse by the fact that plots two and three are now to be one continuous unit.”

Mrs Walters said the developer had not addressed the privacy issues, saying a three-story element would be within 1.5m of her fence and also impact on her neighbours.

“I don’t think anything has really changed from the first time they submitted the application,” she said. “There’s still space for nine cars to park, where two cars park at the moment, so overcrowding, overbearing, loss of privacy, all of the things that the plan was rejected for to start with, remain the same.”

Neighbour Luke Thompson said: “The resubmitted plans would still result in a cramped form of development which would be out of keeping with the spacious and verdant character of this part of Greys Road.

“Given the number of trees that have been removed from the site, I believe the additional landscaping currently proposed is inadequate and should include additional tree planting on the boundary between our property and plot one to soften the scale and proximity of any new proposed dwelling.”

Jon Furneaux, land director at Palatine, insisted that a number of changes had been made to address residents’ concerns.

He said: “A number of comments were made that it was overdevelopment and that the character of the area was large detached dwellings with spacious distances to neighbouring dwellings and the site would be better suited to two detached houses.

“The scheme has been designed to have the appearance of two detached houses with plots two and three sub-divided into semi-detached dwellings. When viewed from the street the two buildings will be read as detached houses and fully respect the character of the area.”

He said the detached house had been reduced in depth and moved 3.5m away from the boundary, an extra metre. The semi-detached properties had also been reduced in depth and width and moved away from the boundary of the neighbouring property in Greys Road to a distance of about 4m.

Mr Furneaux said Greys Road had a range of different-sized homes, adding: “We’re trying to mirror that with our proposal. It’s even smaller than a lot of dwellings along Greys Road.”

Councillor Laurence Plant asked why there were three houses “trying to masquerade” as two.

Mr Furneux replied: “We’re a developer and any development has to be viable for us as a company and two detached houses on the site would not be viable.”

Cllr Plant responded: “Viable is a term I get very tired of hearing at planning. It just means developers want to make a larger margin, in general, with all due respect to the developer.”

Councillor Ian Reissmann said: “The suggestion that building two houses there wasn’t economically viable was stretching incredulity.”

Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak added that the development would be “intensive, overbearing and unneighbourly”.

South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, is due to make a decision by November 25.

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