Harcourt Close Overdevelopment Planning Appeal Dismissed

A planning application appeal to construct 5 flats on the site of one home in Harcourt Close has been dismissed by a Planning Inspectorate this week.

In May 2015 a planning application was approved to build a three bedroom dwelling on the site.  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 refused by South Oxfordshire District Council in June 2021.  The appeal was a new application submitted in September 2021 which Henley Town Council recommended refusal of stating “There has been limited change from the original application.  Refusal on all of the grounds raised previously; concerns over the size and bulk of the proposed development, considered to be overdevelopment.”

The appeal decision said, “The main issues are the effect of the proposed development on the character and appearance of the area, and the living conditions of the neighbouring occupiers, with regard to noise, disturbance and privacy to 55 and 57 Deanfield Road.”

The Henley Society are pleased to note that the owners planning appeal against South Oxfordshire District Council’s decision to refuse permission for five flats to replace one dwelling at 18 Harcourt Close has been dismissed.

SODC Officers were minded to approve the original plans despite them falling foul of a number of their own planning guidelines.

The Henley Society objected on many grounds including over-development, overlooking of near neighbours, increased traffic into a cul-de-sac and the difficulty of access for emergency vehicles.

The Society wrote to all SODC Planning Committee  with their objections and requested a site visit so that Councillors could see at first hand that those objections were justified and valid. The Society had the support of Henley Town Council and a number of the site’s near-neighbours. The site visit took place, and at a subsequent meeting SODC Councillors voted to refuse the application.

Geoff Luckett, Chairman of the Henley Society said, “We draw attention to this, not to claim any great success, but to illustrate that people power, properly harnessed, can, and does have an effect as has been proved in a number of planning applications over recent months. We encourage all residents to contribute where an application concerns them. It is not a waste of time.”