Amended plans for the proposed Premier Inn hotel on the station car park have been submitted to South Oxfordshire District Council this week.
The new submission now contains a Heritage Statement after comments were received from SODC’s Conservation Officer which concluded “As it stands there are heritage concerns and it is considered that the significance of the Imperial Hotel would be harmed by the proposed building, and result in harm to the setting of the Conservation Area.”
The amended planning documents reference concerns raised by The Henley Society, SODC’s Conservation Officer, Landscape, Urban Design and OCC’s Highways.
The design changes made in the new submission see:
- A 0.5 metre reduction in height of the building;
- The creation of additional landscaping/planting to the front and rear of the hotel building;
- An increase to the size of the footway at the front of the hotel;
- Reduction in the size of the bin store and softening of the appearance of the bin store/substation;
- A reconsideration of the palette of materials for the building with a greater emphasis on the use of traditional brickwork (with render reduced) and substituting the grey plank cladding with a more traditional seamed metal cladding;
- Improvements to a previously ‘blank elevation’ to the side of the building (visible on the approach from the town and railway station) to provide greater interest and natural surveillance;
- The introduction of planters to enable climbing ‘green walls’ to the rear and front of the building.
In the Design Statement it states, “Although it is not feasible to drop a full storey from the building and introduce pitched roofs, we have reduced the overall height of the building slightly to help address these concerns and minimise the height where this is feasible. Overall we have reduced the height by half a metre generally and more at the staircases and front entrance gable. A separate Heritage Statement has been prepared and submitted to support the view that this development will not have significant impact on the setting of the listed Imperial Hotel Building at the far end of Station Approach.”
The materials proposed have been changed with greater emphasis on the use of traditional brickwork and substituting the grey ‘plank’ cladding with a more traditional seamed metal cladding. The scale of proposed materials has also been considered – the seam proportions on the proposed metal cladding at approx. 500-600mm spacing, are more in scale with the proportions of the building, rather than the previous narrower timber-like plank cladding which had a much smaller scale. The window openings on the front elevation have been increased to give “a more pleasing proportion of masonry-to-opening.”
The original planning application received 80+ comments on line objecting to the plans.
A new public consultation will open and the plans will be reviewed by Henley Town Council and South Oxfordshire District Council.
You can see the full plans and comment at https://data.southoxon.gov.uk/ccm/support/Main.jsp?MODULE=ApplicationDetails&REF=P21/S2618/FUL