Neighbourhood Plan Committee Reviews New Housing Sites

The Neighbourhood Plan Committee have reviewed a report carried out by AECOM Infrastructure & Environment UK Ltd that included 35 sites for allocation for housing in Henley and Harpsden.

9 of the sites were put forward to Henley Town Council through their ‘call for sites’ last year after it was agreed in 2018 that the original Joint Henley and Harpsden Neighbourhood Plan (JHHNP) adopted in 2016 should be reviewed.  The other sites identified were from the SODC’s Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA). The SHELAA is a high-level assessment considering the overall capacity of South Oxfordshire to accommodate housing development in a policy off position.  These included sites adjacent to Nicholas Farm off Valley Road, Lucy’s Farm in Harpsden, Parkside and a further site at Gillotts School.

Each of the 35 sites were assessed by AECOM taking into account the policies in adopted Local Plans as well as national planning criteria.  South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) are in the process of revising their Local Plan 2034.  However in October 2019 the Secretary of State issued a holding direction preventing the Council from taking any step in connection with the adoption of the emerging plan which has led to this being put on hold until the direction is lifted.  In the SODC emerging plan it sets out a housing requirement in Henley of further 156 houses in addition to the original 500 houses in the original 2016 JHHNP.

The Neighbourhood Plan housing subcommittee calculated that the requirement for 156 new homes had already been met (and with a surplus of 32 homes) by houses built on small infill sites and other homes converted from previously office/commercial properties in Henley.

The full report can be downloaded here

The sub committee of the Neighbourhood Plan Committee concluded that 10 of the sites should be taken forward for further consideration.  These were:

The Chiltern Centre, off Greys Road (3 houses)
Land West off Fairmile (further site for 14 houses adjacent to JHHNP 2016 agreed site)
Old Chiltern’s End Care Home, off Greys Road (28 houses)
Highlands Farm (a further site adjacent to JHHNP 2016 agreed site)
Thames Poultry Farm House (12 houses)
The Bungalow, Harpsden Woods (8 houses)
The Henley College (partial allocation subject to consultation with Henley College to establish availability)
Thames Farm, Upper Bolney Lane (a further site adjacent to site under construction)
Swiss Farm, Marlow Road (73 houses)
Wyvale Garden Centre (planning permission for 40 houses, looking at increasing this to 60)

At the meeting, Kester George from Harpsden Parish Council proposed that the sites at Thames Poultry Farm House and The Bungalow, Harpsden Woods should be removed from the list to be considered further.  This was voted for.

Each of the sites will now be invited to do a presentation to the committee for further consideration.

The proposed timetable for the revised JHHNP is that a public consultation will take place in Feburary/March 2021 and a referendum in September 2021.

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