THAMES FARM PLANNING APPLICATIONS AND INQUIRY
The outcome of the Thames Farm Barn application at Wednesday's SODC Planning Committee Meeting was: 'No Decision pending the outcome of a Site Visit'. Many thanks to all residents who attended the meeting.
The Thames Farm Appeal Inquiry to hear the appeal for the 95 homes application (APP/Q3115/W/16/3161733) is confirmed for 13th – 16th June 2017 at Nettlebed Village Club. Again, your support is important and appreciated.
THAMES FARM UPDATE 27th March 2017
Harpsden Residents will be aware of the long running saga of Thames Farm (TF). For something like 15 years one Planning Application after another has been lodged by the Owner, all of which have been vigorously defended by your Parish Council as well as by our neighbours, Shiplake Parish Council and our OCC Councillor, David Bartholomew and SODC Councillor, Paul Harrison.
Recently an application (P16/S4292/FUL) was made requesting permission to convert the Barn into 4 residential homes and to build another similar building close by for garaging and parking purposes. The barn was originally built without planning permission and retrospective permission was refused by SODC. At appeal in 2001 permission was given but it was stipulated that if in 13 years it was not used for agricultural use it was to be demolished. Since then there have been numerous applications of one sort or another designed to forestall the “demolition” order. The fact is that the Barn has never been used for agricultural purposes as originally envisaged and should, therefore, be demolished.
An application to build 110 houses (P13/S2184/O) was lodged in 2013 and went to Appeal in December 2014. TF lost the Appeal but then referred the matter to The High Court who found in favour of TF on a technicality but stipulated that the Appeal must be heard again.
An application to build 95 houses (P16/S 0970/O) was declined in September 2016. It was little different from the earlier application (P13/S2184/O) for 110 houses. This matter has also gone to Appeal.
An Appeal (Public Enquiry) date of 13 – 16 June 2017 has been agreed to hear the Appeals for both the 110 and the 95 homes applications. Whilst these will be held simultaneously the documentation will be separate. What exactly this means at the moment we are not sure but an explanation will likely be forthcoming in due course. (The Appeal reference numbers for the two cases are: for the 95 houses APP/Q3115/W/16/3161733 and for the 110 houses APP/Q3115/A/14/2217931).
However, the fact remains that Harpsden Parish Council is unanimously of the view that these applications should be refused and recommend that Harpsden Residents who wish to make their feelings known send their comments, by the 10th April at the latest, to:
Leanne Palmer, The Planning Inspectorate, Room3/0, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Bristol. BS1 6PN or alternatively on-line to https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk click here to read letter from SODC dated 14th March 2017 in this regard.
In the event that you wish to oppose the two “Thames Farm “appeals you may wish to consider the following:
1. This 95 homes application is little changed from the previous 110 homes version which was rejected by the community, SODC and the Planning Inspector.
2. These applications are in conflict with SODC Core Strategy.
3. These applications are in conflict with the approved Neighbourhood Plan – the site was submitted for consideration and soundly rejected by the community.
4. It is a green field site outside village boundaries, an 'urban island' detached from the village, and therefore not 'sustainable'.
5. As an urban island with such high density housing it is in total conflict with the rural character of the area. Indeed the applicants refer to the proposal as an 'urban extension' (Henley Standard 01/04/16).
6. Harpsden is a village of 151 dwellings at present. Approval to build 175 homes has already been granted at Highlands Farm which increases the size of our village by over 115%. A further 100 homes (approx) at Thames Farm would destroy any perception of Harpsden as a Rural Village.
7. There will be significant “work related” traffic generated by this development in respect of residents’ movements and by “white van” traffic working at homes on the site. In addition there are no school places available in the area and, if approved, this would generate significant extra traffic as pupils would have to travel to distant schools.
8. Crossing the very busy A4155 at this point to access Shiplake village is very dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists alike.
9. There are no robust plans for sustainable travel. There is no footpath alongside the A4155, cycling on this very busy road is undesirable, and proposals to enhance safety in this regard are unsatisfactory. Accessing Bus Stops will be dangerous both for school children and for residents who may not have the benefit of their own transport.
10. It would be a major step towards amalgamating Shiplake and Harpsden into Henley, severely damaging the desirable separation of the three settlements.
We should also mention that Oxfordshire County Council when reviewing the SODC 2032 Development Plan, in response to the question “Should we allocate additional housing land in Henley?” answered “No. The amount of growth already included in the Henley & Harpsden Neighbourhood Plan, made in April 2016, is considered appropriate for the period to 2032. There are significant transport infrastructure issues around Henley and there are no proposals for infrastructure improvements which would lead Oxfordshire County Council to consider that additional housing allocations could be made in the area”.
We attach for your further information the Representation sent by your Council to the Inspectorate (click Thames Farm Appeal Comments.28.2.17 (003)) and that sent by our good neighbours, Shiplake Parish Council (click Shiplake PC Thames Farm AppealComments 270217) which we recommend you read.
Please feel free to contact any member of The Harpsden Parish Council should you wish to discuss any of these matters. For names and contact numbers please click here.
P16/S4292/FUL – Barn at Thames Farm December 2016
Many of you will know of the latest Planning Application from the owner of Thames Farm regarding The Barn site. The application asks for approval to convert the Barn to 4 terraced type houses together with the construction of another barn for garaging and storage purposes.
Your Council does not support this request largely for the following reasons:
1. it is in the wrong place for housing being outside the village plan for Shiplake and outside the area designated for housing in the Joint Henley/Harpsden Neighbourhood Plan.
2. the site plans for access on to the A4155 via Upper Bolney Lane through a gate that was ordered closed by SODC on at least two previous occasions but is still open
3. an earlier application (P10/E1755) to convert the Barn into one residential house was declined by SODC but approved on appeal. The owner does not appear to have taken any steps to implement this approval.
4. in response to application P10/E1755 both OCC Highways and SODC Director of Planning argued that traffic considerations were against the application.
5. this new application would put 4 dwellings on the same site and would, therefore, likely increase the traffic dangers by a factor of four (4).
6. Granting this application would also damage the character of the area by adding another building for garaging cars and cycles. Furthermore, the dimensions of this proposed addition do not appear to meet OCC guidelines.
7. Pedestrian access is severely limited and would increase safety issues particularly for children crossing the A4155.
8. There is no footpath along the A4155 creating serious safety problems for those (including school children) returning from the Bus Stop at the junction to Station Rd and Reading Road.
9. School places are already under severe pressure in the area and this application will only exacerbate this situation.
Details of the Application and comments from other affected parties can be seen on the SODC website as follows – http://www.southoxon.gov.uk/ccm/support/Main.jsp?MODULE=ApplicationDetails&REF=P16/S4292/FUL – and any comment you may wish to make should be made by or on 6th February 2017.
On a further matter regarding Thames Farm some of you will recall the Application (P16/S0970/O) to erect 95 dwellings which was declined by SODC. This application has now gone to appeal (ref: APP/Q3115/W/16/3161733). We understand that The Appeal Court is currently dealing with an extreme number of Appeals and that this Appeal may not be heard until the year end.