On 5th July 2017 South Oxfordshire District Council Planning Committee refused permission for the conversion of the barn to four dwelling units, notwithstanding the fact that the principle of its residential use had already been established and the barn has the benefit of planning permission for use as one residential unit of circa 10,000 sq ft. Council Officers had recommended that the application heard on 5th July be granted permission.
DPDS have simultaneously lodged an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate asking for a full award of costs against South Oxfordshire District Council for unreasonable behaviour in the way in which the first application was refused.
Two reasons were given by the Committee for refusal relating to concerns over highway safety and potential impact of the proposed development on the character and appearance of the area. Both of these issues were considered in great detail and rejected by the decision of a Planning Inspector following a recent Public Local Inquiry who granted permission for the development of up to 95 houses on the adjoining Thames Farm site.
The Inspector concluded that “residents of the proposed housing scheme would have safe pedestrian access to Lower Shiplake and safe cycling access to the village in Henley. The proposed development would not be detrimental to highway safety and, in this regard, does not conflict with SOLP policies T1 and G2” (Paragraph 42 Inspector decision letter).
The Inspector concluded that, “…taking into account residential development to the south and west of the site, the dwelling to the north west of the site, development on the north side of Bolney Lane which includes a derelict nursery, the barn between the site and the lane, and a residential property to the east of the site with the frontage to the A4155, it is worth noting that the site is within developed, rather than open, countryside” (Inspector decision letter paragraph 26).
It is the applicant/appellant’s opinion that the above more than comprehensively deals with the reasons for which the barn application was refused on the 5th July 2017.
Les Durrant, Managing Director of the agents DPDS Consulting Group, commented:
“This new planning application for the conversion of the barn into four residential units will give the Council the opportunity to reconsider their earlier decision to refuse permission contrary to the advice of their professional Officers and acknowledge that the principle of residential use is already established by the extant permission.”