Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Inspector to decide Thames Farm plan

PLANS to build up to 110 homes at Thames Farm, near Shiplake, will be decided at a public inquiry this year, writes James Burton.

Earlier this year, Claire Engbers, who owns the 14-acre site off Reading Road, was granted a hearing by the Planning Inspectorate into the rejection of her proposal for 95 houses on the land.

Now an earlier application for the larger figure, which she submitted to South Oxfordshire District Council in 2013, is to be decided at the same hearing.

Mrs Engbers’s first application was turned down on appeal in 2014 but she took the inspector’s decision to the High Court, where it was overturned.

The Government tried to have the refusal reinstated but failed, leaving the way clear for the appeal to be heard again.

Mrs Engbers submitted the smaller application last year while proceedings over the first one were still ongoing. This was also rejected by the district council despite planning officers recommending approval.

It is not yet known whether the inspector will consider only the larger figure or each application separately. A date for the hearing also remains to be confirmed.

Tudor Taylor, chairman of Shiplake Parish Council, which opposed both schemes and had called for an inquiry, said: “I’m glad they have responded positively to our request as it would have been a waste of time, money and resources to have two inquiries into such similar applications. We will, of course, continue fighting hard to defeat the plans.”

The site, which falls within Harpsden parish, was not among the 11 sites earmarked for new housing under the Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan. Mrs Engbers put it forward for consideration but other sites proved more popular at a public consultation.

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