Sunday, 05 December 2021

Display of 16 potential sites for new homes

Display of 16 potential sites for new homes

RESIDENTS of Henley and Harpsden are being urged to give their views on plans for new housing in the two parishes.

Henley Town Council, which is overseeing a revision of the joint Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan, is to stage an exhibition of 16 sites which landowners have put forward for development since the first plan passed a referendum in 2016.

These could take a total of 623 homes or care beds, although it is unlikely that all the sites would be developed. The final number would depend on local need, which the town council is assessing through surveys and research.

The exhibition will be held at the town hall in Market Place from 10am to 3pm next Friday and Saturday (July 2 and 3).

It will include information about the plan’s policies on traffic, transport and the environment as well as other issues.

There will also be information about plans to create a community land trust, which would develop and manage social and “affordable” housing to ensure it stays genuinely affordable.

The trust would be separate from the town council but supported by it initially. The current neighbourhood plan names 10 sites where about 500 houses should go by 2027 but it must be updated to reflect an increased quota under South Oxfordshire District Council’s new local plan, which runs until 2035.

The new sites include the Chiltern Centre for disabled young people (three homes), the former Chilterns End care home next door (27) and land at Highlands Park (110), all off Greys Road, Henley.

Also on the list are land to the south-west of Fair Mile (75 homes), part of the Swiss Farm camping and caravan site, off Marlow Road (41), the former Henley Youth Centre in Deanfield Avenue (56 care beds), the Stuart Turner offices and neighbouring Henley Enterprise Park, off Greys Road (42 homes with at least 3,000 sq ft of employment and retail space), a “disused” playing field at Gillotts School (50 homes) and the town council’s land next to Tesco, off Reading Road (30 homes), all in Henley.

Harpsden Meadow, also off Reading Road, has been put forward for up to 60 units, which would hopefully be rented out as social housing in perpetuity.

The other sites are a small corner plot and the main farmhouse at Thames Farm (11 homes in total), the former Wyevale garden centre (60) and land north of Crossways, off Reading Road (20), both Shiplake, and The Bungalow (eight) and Hallemead (30) between Harpsden and Shiplake.

Feedback will be discussed by the council’s working groups and AECOM, its consultant, before a draft plan is submitted to the district council, the planning authority, to conduct its own consultation.

If an independent examiner then gives the go-ahead, the new plan should go to a referendum by early next year.

The council says feedback will not be sought on those sites which were in the original plan and are still being proposed with the same number of homes. These are being exhibited for information only.

Councillor Ken Arlett, who chairs the neighbourhood plan steering group, said: “We're very keen that people attend and give their opinions so that the comments accurately reflect what the community wants.

“It will be interesting to see how closely they match AECOM’s views.

“The plan is at a critical stage now we’ve shortlisted the sites from an original 34 and we don’t want people complaining, two months after we’ve made the final selection, that they never had a chance to express their views.”

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