Another Planning Application for Harcourt Close Apartments

Another planning application to turn a residential house in Harcourt Close into five apartments has been submitted.

In May 2015 a planning application was approved to build a three bedroom dwelling.  Since then owner, Mr Ray Hudson has submitted three further applications to build five apartments (one x 1 bed, two x 2 beds, two x 3 beds) in a three-storey building.  The first application was submitted in October 2020 with amended plans submitted in December 2020 with one of the two bedded apartments being reduced to one bedroom. This application was recommended by Henley Town Council to be refused and was refused by South Oxfordshire District Council in June 2021.

In the SODC decision notice it stated, “The proposed development, by virtue of its scale, bulk and massing and amount of hard landscaping, would represent an over intensive overdevelopment of the site that would be out of keeping with the established character and appearance of the surrounding built form. The proposed development, by virtue of the shortfall in private outdoor amenity space, the shading of internal and external living spaces and the limited areas available for soft landscaping, would provide a substandard quality of living environment for future occupiers of the proposed apartments.”

In the Planning Committee report accompanying the decision notice to refuse the application it states, “The side garden area has been partly excavated as a result of the material commencement of the implementation of a previous planning permission for a dwelling on the site. The northern corner of the site consists of a rectangular parcel of land containing domestic outbuildings that slopes down to the north alongside the rear garden of No.57. Several mature and semi-mature trees lie close to the boundaries of the side garden area of the site and the eastern boundary of the site is formed by an area consisting of dense woodland and undergrowth. The site boundaries are denoted by close-boarded fencing. There is vehicular access to the front of No.18 from the turning head at the end of Harcourt Close. Vehicles are parked on a hardstanding in front of No.18, because an original integral garage has been converted. There is a private pedestrian access via a gate in the fence from the rear of No.18 onto Haywards Close. There are no special designations covering the site.”

A new application was submitted on 3 September 2021 and was reviewed by Henley Town Council Planning Committee this week. They could see very little difference to the application that had been refused and once again recommended refusal stating “There has been limited change from the original application P20/S0740/FUL. Recommend refusal on all of the grounds raised previously; concerns over the size and bulk of the proposed development, considered to be overdevelopment and in conflict with policies DES1 of the Local Plan which states that all new development must be of a high quality design that respects the local context working with and complementing the scale, height, density, grain, massing, type and details of the surrounding area.  Also concern from overlooking onto properties on Deanfield Road. The Committee are also concerned over the lack of parking.”

Henley Town Council Planning Committee were also concerned to find out that the neighbouring properties had not been notified of this new application by SODC.  This has now been rectified by SODC.  Vice Chair, of HTC Planning Committee Planning Councillor Ken Arlett said, “I must remind residents to keep objecting on new or amended plans.  Do not assume that because you have already objected once that this will be considered by the Planning Officer.”

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