Beechcroft Developments who bought the old Wyevale Garden Centre on the Reading Road from Fawley Court owner Aida Dellal in April last year have last week submitted a new planning application for 55 homes, up from 40 homes and a commercial building, which was approved by SODC in November 2019 and was part of the Joint Henley & Harpsden Neighbourhood Plan from 2016.
In November last year, Beechcroft submitted the Reserved Matters conditions under the original November 2019 approved planning application which detailed the layout, materials, landscaping, drainage, transport, ecology etc.
As part of the Neighbourhood Plan review, Aida’s son Alex Hersham presented a proposal to replace the commercial space with 20 more homes (9 affordable) as it was not thought this was viable now. The Neighbourhood Plan Review Committee did not accept this proposal and was not included in the revised plan submitted to SODC.
In the new plans the amenity space has been removed.
Henley Town Council Planning Committee recommended an objection to the new plans stating, “On the grounds that this would result in overdevelopment of the site and a cramped form of development. The development would extend into and encroach into the countryside and the dense suburban nature of the application would be damaging to landscape. The proposed development would not respect the existing landscape character or the local context including complementing the scale, height, density, grain, massing, type, and details of the surrounding area.
Shiplake Parish Council (SPC) commented, “We would draw your attention to section 3.8 of the ‘Planning Statement’ where the applicant claims the increase in the number of dwellings is supported by the parish councils. This is not our understanding . We can confirm that Shiplake Parish Council specifically opposed any increase in the number of dwelling and left the developer in no doubt of our strong objection to this. The developer presented at a PC meeting a few months ago alongside the earlier application for fewer homes and we made our point abundantly clear that SPC would oppose any plan to increase numbers of dwellings. We strongly object to the inclusion of 3 storey buildings which are simply out of character with the local area.
Harpsden Parish Council commented, “You will recall that we objected to Beechcroft’s earlier application (P21/S4271/RM) for 40 dwellings largely on the grounds set out by your own landscape adviser; in brief a failure to make the best use of the green space available, that is , something that could be corrected. This new application for 55 dwellings on the same site removes the green space and replaces it with more buildings, thereby intensifying the urban intrusion and rendering it even more out of character with the area. Worse still is the applicant’s statement that this intensification is supported by Council members, since this simply untrue. The site is in Harpsden and Harpsden Parish Council is unanimous in its objection to this new application.