B&M Care who bought the Youth Centre site in 2015 have submitted a new application for 10 one-bedroom ‘affordable’ flats and a care home with 56 beds.
Their original application for a 65 bedded care home was turned down on appeal last December. Robert Parker from the Planning Inspectorate wrote in his appeal decision report, “The Housing Needs Assessment (HNA) explains that Henley is the least affordable area in the District for both home ownership and rented housing. It suggests there was a potential demand for around 150 affordable homes over the three years following publication of the Core Strategy. According to the officer report, only 36 dwellings have been delivered over the past 5 years, equating to only 7 units per year. This is substantially below the level of need set out in the HNA.
It is important that trust in neighbourhood planning is not undermined and therefore I have attached significant importance and weight to the conflict with the JHHNDP.”
The site was allocated for 23 houses in the Neighbourhood plan with 8 affordable.
The new application states that the site now includes further land acquired adjacent to the site. The design statement with the application says, “The care home building has been carefully designed to sit within the plot having regard to adjacent common boundaries, protected trees and adjacent properties with 20 car parking spaces. The detached 10 x 1 bedroom apartment block would be 2 & 2.5 storeys in height and share the same design appearance and materials as the proposed care home building. The 10 x 1 bed apartments will benefit from 10 allocated parking spaces.”
In an affordable housing statement it says: “The affordable housing is proposed in response to discussions with the local authority and concerns raised by the Henley and Harpsden joint neighbourhood plan steering group. As such, the proposals enable the application site to be developed to provide essential specialist accommodation for older people alongside affordable housing units in line with the neighbourhood plan.”
The application was recommended for refusal by Henley Town Council Planning Committee last week as it is over development of the site and should be for the 23 homes stated in the Neighbourhood Plan. The application will now be reviewed by SODC and a target decision date is 12 November.