South Oxfordshire District Council has published its Local Plan which details how the Council will address the need for housing in the district (17,050 new homes) until the year 2033.
The Plan now includes 350 houses for Henley on top of the 500 committed in the Henley and Harpsden Neighbourhood Plan which is down from the original draft plan which showed 677 houses.
The emerging Local Plan and its supporting studies set out our vision for South Oxfordshire up to the year 2033. Together they identify where housing, retail and employment land should be located as well as the infrastructure required to support this growth, such as new roads, schools, health services and sewerage. The proposed policies in the plan will be used to help make decisions on planning applications in the district.
Residents are now being invited to read the plan and submit their comments via the SODC website portal at consult.southandvale.gov.uk/portal/south/planning/ before 22 November
The comments will then be submitted along with the plan to the government, ready to be examined by a planning inspector early next year.
Stefan Gawrysiak, Henley County and District Councillor said, “However in tandem with this the National Government are reviewing the figures (The New National Formula) which may well be published in January 2018 and early indications are that the SHMA figures for Oxfordshire will be reduced. This would mean a reduction for Henley. I have tabled an amendment at SODC Full Council which asked that SODC figures should be reviewed once the Government figures were known. This sensible amendment was defeated by 11 votes to 13. Once the new government figures are published I will table another motion that SODC re-look at the Local Plan 2033. It is my view that without preceding infrastructure that Henley cannot cope with 350. Whatever the final figure is Henley will have to ensure that much more affordable rental homes are built. A great scheme is up and running in Bicester whereby affordable self builds are planned. It is for Henley Town Council to decide if a revision of our Neighbourhood Plan is needed. We must remember that Neighbourhood Plans protect us from speculative developments and that the community decides the location of any new housing.”
Many will be surprised to read that the Joyce Grove Sue Ryder Hospice at Nettlebed has been included in the plan and is showing 20 dwellings within the current listed building. The plan states, “Joyce Grove comprises a substantial Grade II listed house and outbuildings within a parkland setting. Given this, it would not be suitable for new build housing, but it is considered that there is the potential to re-use and sympathetically convert existing buildings to provide some new homes. The site is currently occupied by Sue Ryder and operates as a hospice. It is a highly valued facility for southern Oxfordshire. We are aware that the building does not currently meets their needs and they have been exploring options to relocate. At this point in time an appropriate alternative site has yet to be identified and this will be monitored in association with this policy. A planning application was made in February 2015 to SODC for conversion of the building into apartments.
Heidi Travis, CEO at Sue Ryder, has responded, “We can confirm that an application to South Oxfordshire County Council was submitted in February 2015 which proposes the conversion of Nettlebed Hospice into 20 apartments and it is yet to be determined. We will continue to liaise with the Council on the current application and the emerging local plan.”
SODC are holding a drop-in session at Henley Town Hall on Saturday 21 October between 10-2pm for residents to ask questions.