Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Residents protest at yet another plan for homes

Residents protest at yet another plan for homes

RESIDENTS are opposing plans for more homes on a busy road on the edge of Lower Shiplake.

Developers Westbourne Homes and Debrecq have submitted a planning application to South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, for 11 properties off the A4155 Reading-Henley Road.

A previous application for 20 homes on the same site was refused by the council last December.

The site, which was not included in the revised Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan, is just south of the former Thames Farm, where Taylor Wimpey has planning permission for 95 homes but has been held up by opposition to its plans to drain surface water.

Beechcroft Homes has permission for 40 homes on the former Wyevale garden centre site on the north side of Thames Farm.

A planning statement by consultants Woolf Bond on behalf of the developers says the scheme would replicate the character of the area, especially the homes at Taylor Wimpey’s proposed Regency Place development next door.

Geoffrey Thomas, of Mill Road, Shiplake, said: “Introducing another vehicular entrance on to the busy A4155 on this hazardous stretch near the bend and pedestrian death-wish crossing point is foolhardy. Think about the potential risks to be caused by cars trying to turn right into the estate from the Henley direction, with cars simultaneously trying to get on to the A4155 from the nearby Station Road junction.

“The car traffic generated from this estate would only add to the traffic jamming and pollution already at serious levels along the Reading Road.

“It would add to overloading of the existing infrastructure, which is already demonstrating problems.

“In the light of the problems revealed at the adjacent Thames Farm site, this site must be thoroughly investigated to the full satisfaction of the authorities concerned before any permission is considered.”

Karen Watkins, of Quarry Lane, said: “This is a very dangerous stretch of road where drivers vastly exceed the speed limits and there have already been several accidents on this stretch.

“It is only a matter of time until there is a further fatal collision. Cars going in and out of all the proposed developments will increase the likelihood and this particular development is at the very worst point. The drainage, flood risk and aquifer problems at Thames Farm have not been resolved so how can this further development, in addition to the Wyevale development, even be considered?”

Peter Boros, who lives in Reading Road and led the opposition to Taylor Wimpey’s proposed drainage scheme, said: “The proposed highway access would be a dangerous point to permit a new day-to-day access point and far too close to the bend in the A4155 where vehicles have frequently been out of control with accidents occurring regularly.

“There is no guarantee that the Thames Farm development proposal, which forms part of the argument to permit this development, will go ahead or go ahead in its currently proposed form.”

Sara Browett, of Woodlands Road, said: “This area is renowned for drainage issues and flood risk.

“This would cause noise, dust, fumes and disturbance from even more building work in a quiet and peaceful residential area.

“The character of the area would be changed from a small residential area to a large increase of smaller properties.”

Henley town council’s planning committee recommended permission is refused.

Councillor Ken Arlett said the development would be “detrimental” to the character of the area. Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak said it would be overdevelopment of a rural area, adding: “The site was rejected for the neighbourhood plan for a reason.”

The Henley Society, a conservation group, said it opposed “further urbanisation” of Lower Shiplake.

It added: “It would add to the traffic hazards that already exist at a bend in the A4155. In relation to the Thames and the hill to the west, the site is in a similar position to the nearby Thames Farm site and may well have similar problems of subsoil instability and drainage.”

Martin Morgan, an environmental health officer at the district council, said: “I have concerns over the noise and dust impact during the development stage.

“I also have concerns regarding the external noise environment having a detrimental impact on the residents of the proposed dwellings.

“No development shall take place until a detailed scheme for protecting the dwellings from the external noise environment of the area has been submitted to and approved in writing by the planning authority.”

A public consultation runs until next Friday and the district council is due to make a decision by February 2.

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