Sunday, 05 December 2021

Villagers in fight to prevent more homes

NEIGHBOURS have opposed plans for a house in the grounds of a large Victorian property in Lower Shiplake.

John Stewart wants to build the three-bedroom, single- storey home with a basement at Kingsley House in Crowsley Road, which has been converted into four flats.

His application is separate to one he submitted to South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, in March to double the number of those flats to eight with space for 17 cars. This has still not been determined.

Mr Stewart, who lives in one of the flats, says the new house would better suit his “environmental aspirations” and would have air source heat pumps and solar panels.

A planning statement by architects Jones Robbins says the property would be concealed by a series of landscaped gardens to soften the visual impact.

It continues: “The proposed house is to appear as a single-storey structure. A small basement has been introduced that mirrors the basement accommodation found in Kingsley House.

“The primary living level can therefore have a reduced footprint, allowing the house to sit comfortably in the centre of the plot. This ensures there is sufficient privacy distancing from the windows in Kingsley House and neighbouring properties.”

However, residents say this would be overdevelopment of the site.

Jackie Dulewicz, who lives in Crowsley Road, called the plan “unreasonable”. She said: “The application to change the four existing flats into eight, as well as the plan for a new house in the grounds, will affect us greatly, not to mention the rural nature of the area.

“The number of cars using the small access lane will rise exponentially. Since this lane meets the access to our drive, the extra cars and delivery vehicles will increase the chances of another accident, as happened a few years ago.

“Furthermore, the bin lorries are too big to access the lane, so all rubbish bins have to be left at the bottom, opposite our drive.”

Nick Meredith, who also lives in Crowsley Road, said: “It appears the entire site is now subject to intensive overdevelopment that is contra to the rural and tranquil village setting.”

He said that as well as Kingsley House being subdivided into four flats, a large property called Orchard House had been built in the grounds.

“We have moved from one large dwelling to a site of potentially 10 dwellings with the associated traffic on a driveway between two quiet residential houses,” said Mr Meredith.

“This application should be considered in conjunction with the other current application to convert the main house into eight flats so that the planning authority considers the overdevelopment of the site as a whole.

“I am sure the planning authority is more than familiar with the consequences and detrimental impact of intensive overdevelopment of sites within a rural setting.”

Shiplake Parish Council has not objected.

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