Leigh Rawlins

David Bartholomew



GHL (Coolsilk) Ltd



Land East of Reading Road Lower Shiplake



Application for approval of Reserved Matters (scale, appearance, layout and landscaping) following consent granted under reference P18/S3210/O (approved under appeal reference APP/Q3115/W/19/3220425) - extra care development of up to 65 units comprising of apartments and cottages (Use Class C2); associated communal facilities; provision of vehicular and cycle parking together with all necessary internal roads and footpaths; provision of open space and associated landscape works; and ancillary works and structures (As amended by revised landscaping plans received on 3 February 2022)



Nicola Smith






This application is referred to the Planning Committee at the discretion of the Planning Manager and as the officer’s recommendation conflicts with the views of Shiplake Parish Council.



The application site (which is shown on the OS extract attached as Appendix A) is located on the south western side of Lower Shiplake and currently comprises a single field bounded on three sides by vegetation of varying species, height and quality. The land immediately to the north of the site has planning permission for two houses, however, the land on the remaining three sides of the site remains open.



This application seeks approval of reserved matters following the grant of outline planning permission for an extra care development of up to 65 dwellings together with associated communal facilities, under application no. P18/S3210/O, which was granted on appeal. The reserved matters applied for in this application are appearance, landscaping, layout and scale. It was confirmed at outline stage that the proposal is not EIA development.



Access to the site was approved by the outline permission by way of a bell mouth junction onto the A4155 Reading Road.



The approval of the outline permission included parameter plans covering site parameters, site levels and building parameters. The Building Parameter plans approved under the outline planning permission are attached as Appendix B. The detailed layout proposed under this reserved matters application is attached as Appendix C. At Appendix D is a comparison between the approved parameter plans and the submitted reserved matters layout. For information, the Inspector’s report is also included at Appendix E.



This reserved matters application proposes 65 units of older persons accommodation with associated infrastructure, landscaping, parking, open space and communal facilities (the clubhouse). The accommodation is provided in four apartment blocks and fifteen cottages - all units have two bedrooms, some apartments are provided over one floor and some over two floors, the cottages are all over two floors. The club house in the centre of the site provides communal space including a gym and studio, communal lounge and dining area. The design of the scheme is contemporary in appearance including design details and materials.



The application has been amended during the application process to address concerns raised by consultees, particularly in terms of landscape. Changes include increasing structural planting in the buffer zone, reducing the gap in the buffer zone on the eastern boundary and changing tree species in the centre of the site to increase the green canopy within the built area.





A summary of the latest responses received to the proposal is below. A full copy of all the comments made including those in respect of previous iterations of the proposals can be seen online at



Shiplake Parish Council


·         The lighting plan is still unclear to us and we are concerned will lead to a degradation of Shiplake’s dark skies approach

·         The revised boundary treatment fails to deliver sufficient changes. The 10m landscape buffer was intended to comprise a zone of structural planting There should be no development of any kind, including the proposed bins stores and car parking, in this area.

·         We are concerned that the ecological impact of development on this site is insufficiently taken account of.

·         Measures to be taken to ensure that the impact of the clubhouse lighting is minimised.

·         The applicant fails to address the footpath access along Reading Road and fails to provide clarity on pedestrian access to the site.

·         The applicant fails to take account of Shiplake’s design approach and should be significantly redesigned.

·         The black clad buildings would be out of keeping with its Shiplake setting.

·         The 3 and 4 storey buildings are out of keeping with the rural location.

·         The significant overlooking issue to neighbours on Baskerville Road and New Road have not been sufficiently answered or rectified in amendments.

·         The Visual Impact of this application is out of keeping with its setting


Councillor David Bartholomew


·         The urban-style entrance with flint and brick walls, estate-style automated gates with railings, and signage are totally inappropriate for a rural location.

·         The three and four-storey apartment buildings are completely out of scale with anything else in the village, both in terms of height and mass. These buildings would overlook properties on Baskerville Lane and dominate the previously very rural view from New Road

·         Officers should evaluate in depth the potential for light pollution arising from internal and external lighting on the site.

·         The landscape masterplan shows a break in the woodland planting on the eastern boundary. The whole site should be screened from view on all sides as far as is practicably possible.

·         Car parking on this scale is not only contrary to sustainability objectives but also deeply unattractive in a rural setting. In is unnecessary for a retirement village.

·         Eight cycle parking spaces will be provided throughout the site. This would appear to be totally inadequate and no mention is made of cycling provision for staff.


Landscape Officer


·         The landscape proposals require further strengthening on the south eastern boundary, in the vicinity of the bin store, and in the north eastern corner of the site.  

·         Further consideration of structural planting mixes is also required together with amendments to the Management and Maintenance Plan

·         These outstanding matters could be covered by landscape conditions.



Drainage Officer

No objection

·         Based on the preliminary modelling information provided we are satisfied that the site levels can be designed to accommodate the surface water risk route without increasing flood risk to proposed buildings or elsewhere.

·         We are satisfied that outstanding modelling can be dealt with as part of the drainage condition discharge application.



Forestry Officer

No objection

·         The tree protection information for this site has already been approved under a DIS application.

·         The amended Arb Method Statement included in this RM application is acceptable



Countryside Officer

No objection

·         Subject to a condition requiring the biodiversity net loss to be offset



Oxfordshire County Council Transport

Holding Objection

·         Cycle Parking provision is inadequate

·         Access to the site is from A4155 Reading Road. The form of access has been previously agreed under the appeal decision

·         The applicant has confirmed that the site will be subject to a Private Road Agreement and will therefore not be adopted.

·         I find the proposed number of car parking spaces acceptable.



Oxfordshire County Council Archaeology

No objection

·         Consent P18/S3210/O has been granted with conditions attached that require a staged programme of archaeological evaluation and mitigation in advance of development.

·         As such there is no necessity to attach further requirements at this reserved matter stage.



Sustainability Consultant

No objection

·         The use of SAP 10 shows the required improvement, this alternative approach meets the requirements of DES10.



Air Quality Officer

No objection

·         After reviewing the supporting AQ Assessment, providing the mitigation measures outlined in the AQA are adhered to.



Contaminated Land

No comments



Environmental Protection Team

No comments



Thames Water Development Control

No comments

·         As there are no changes proposed to the foul/ surface drainage for the site



Waste Management Officer

No objection

·         The submitted waste strategy is acceptable






A total of 59 letters of objection have been received from surrounding residents, their concerns and objections relevant to this reserved matters application are summarised as follows:

-       Impact on the amenity of the surrounding neighbours, including the houses permitted on the adjoining site to the north.

-       The height of the apartments is out of character with every other building in Lower Shiplake.

-       The development will cause lighting pollution which goes against the Parish of Shiplake Neighbourhood Plan.

-       The scale of the car parking seems disproportionate for a 'retirement village'.

-       The manoeuvring of vehicles will have an unacceptable impact on the amenity of Baskerville Lane and New Road residents, both in terms of noise and headlights

-       The Reserved Matters application does not adequately address the Inspector’s Report

-       This proposed development is out of character with the rural location. There has been no respect shown to try to blend into the location.

-       Before building commences dense mature trees should be planted along the boundaries of this site.

-       The vehicle parking spaces are surely inadequate for the number of residents and consequent visitors

-       The designs submitted for approval look 'commercial', unlike the surrounding houses and farms. The design looks more like an urban site.

-       The application is significantly different, detrimentally so, in so many ways to that approved by the Planning Inspector.

-       The site has no pedestrian access.

-       There is currently a lack of detail from the reserved matters application on the lighting scheme and also how light pollution will be limited

-       The scale, massing and height of the proposals go some considerable way beyond the parameters identified.

-       The adequacy and robustness of the ground exploration data should be checked given that this site is within or adjacent to a former gravel pit, and is close to the Thames Farm site where major sinkholes/underground dissolution features exist.

-       The urban-style entrance with flint and brick walls, estate-style automated gates with railings, and signage are inappropriate for a rural location.

-       The whole site should be screened from view on all sides as far as visibly possible.

-       The staff transport plan is based on achieving a 10% saving on an assumed two-thirds of staff travelling by car/van. This would seem to be unambitious.

-       Insufficient cycle parking spaces will be provided throughout the site

-       The materials & appearance chosen appear to have ignored the Shiplake palette.

-       The landscaping plan is a material deterioration of the scheme approved at outline.





P21/S2423/PEJ – Pre application provided (21/09/2021)

Proposed reserved matters application pursuant to outline planning permission P18/S3210/O, approved at appeal under ref. APP/Q3115/W/19/3220425.


P18/S3210/O - Refused (21/12/2018) - Appeal allowed (14/10/2019)

Outline application for the development of land to the East of Reading Road to consist of an extra care development of up to 65 units comprising of apartments and cottages (Use Class C2); associated communal facilities; provision of vehicular and cycle parking together with all necessary internal roads and footpaths; provision of open space and associated landscape works; and ancillary works and structures.


P18/S2771/PEJ - Advice provided (20/09/2018)

Outline application for up to 66 units of extra care housing with associated communal facilities, landscaping and infrastructure to include means of access and internal roads.


P16/S3438/O - Refused (31/10/2017) - Appeal Withdrawn (24/07/2018)

Outline application for the development of land to the East of Reading Road to consist of the development of a residential care home facility (up to 40 beds) together with an extra care development (up to 66 units comprising of apartments and cottages) all within Use Class C2; associated communal facilities; provision of vehicular and cycle parking together with all necessary internal roads and footpaths; provision of open space and associated landscape works; and ancillary works and structures. (As amended by plans received 5 May 2017, additional information received 19 June 2017, 4 August 2017 and 25 August 2017).





This proposal does not exceed 150 dwellings, the site area is under 5ha and is not within a ‘sensitive area’ as defined by the EIA regulations. Consequently, the proposal is beneath the thresholds set in Schedule 2 of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017. An Environmental Impact Assessment is not required as the majority of issues are considered to be of local significance only and can be examined through the normal planning process.





Development Plan Policies




South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2035 (SOLP) Policies:

STRAT1 – The Overall Strategy

STRAT5 – Residential Densities

H1 – Delivering New Homes

H13 - Specialist Housing for Older People

INF1 – Infrastructure Provision

TRANS5 – Consideration of Development Proposals

ENV1 – Landscape & Countryside

ENV3 – Biodiversity

ENV5 – Green Infrastructure in New Developments

ENV12 - Pollution

EP3 – Waste Collection and Recycling

DES1 – Delivering High Quality Development

DES2 – Enhancing Local Character

DES3 - Design & Access Statement

DES5 – Outdoor Amenity Space

DES6 – Residential Amenity

DES7 - Efficient Use of Resources

DES8 – Promoting Sustainable Design

DES10 – Carbon Reduction

CF5 – Open Space, Sport and Recreation in New Residential Developments



Neighbourhood Plan


Shiplake Parish Council has prepared a submission draft neighbourhood plan, the publicity period on the draft plan concluded on Tuesday 7 December 2021 and the draft plan has been submitted for independent examination. At this stage the policies in the plan can be given limited weight as it has not been examined.


Relevant policies from the draft plan are:

SV8 - Settlement Character

SV9 - Valued Landscapes

SV11 - Important Views

SV12 - Dark Skies and Lighting

SV13 - Biodiversity Net Gain

SV14 - Landscaping and Greening of the Environment

SV15 - Preservation and Replacement of Trees

SV19 - New Development and Highway Safety

SV22 - Design and Access Statements

SV25 - Building Materials/Design/Density/Layout



Supplementary Planning Guidance/Documents


South Oxfordshire Design Guide 2016 (SODG 2016)




National Planning Policy Framework and Planning Practice Guidance



Other Relevant Legislation


Human Rights Act 1998

The provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998 have been taken into account in the processing of the application and the preparation of this report.


Equality Act 2010

In determining this planning application the Council has regard to its equalities obligations including its obligations under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010.





The principle of up to 65 dwellings and communal facilities on this site is established through outline planning permission P18/S3210/O. Through the outline permission access onto the A4155 Reading Road is also approved. The main planning considerations for this reserved matters application are therefore:


The relevant planning considerations are the following:


·         Compliance with the parameter plans

·         Design and character

·         Landscaping

·         Residential amenity

·         Highway matters and Parking

·         Other material planning considerations




Compliance with the parameter plans

Parameter plans approved through the outline permission included information such as layout and building heights. The Site Levels Parameter Plan provided a detailed layout of the arrangement of the blocks of development.



Whilst ‘Layout’ was a matter not approved by the outline permission this parameter plan gives a clear steer as to how the development blocks should be laid out. The reserved matters submission differs in only very minor ways from this parameter plan. A plan showing the Site Levels Parameter Plan in comparison with the reserved matters layout can be found at Appendix D. This plan shows the footprint of the buildings differs only in a reduction in size of the Clubhouse (block A) and a re-orientation of block E. The remainder of the differences are limited to a less engineered road layout and re-organisation of the car parking layout. These minor differences have been made in order to achieve a better, less engineered and more welcoming scheme than the approved parameter plan suggests. Officers consider this acceptable in planning terms as the overall parameters set out on the approved plan are being adhered to, whilst also considering that layout was not expressly approved through the outline permission.



The Site Parameters Plan identified two buffer zones around the edge of the development, a 10 metre landscaping buffer zone comprising existing and proposed structural planting, and a further 5 metre buffer zone, which excludes built form, and is designed to offset the buildings from the structural planting. The acceptability of the proposed planting within the outer buffer zone is examined in detail at paragraphs 6.13-6.15 below. It should be noted that the layout shown on the approved Site Levels Parameter Plan indicates a number of locations where parking areas encroach into the inner 5 metre buffer zone, together with the bin storage area encroaching into the outer 10 metre buffer zone as well. These locations are clearly highlighted on the Comparison plan at Appendix D. The reserved matters layout proposes a total of 195 sqm of parking space, and 54.1 sqm of built form (bin store) within the 5 metre buffer zone as compared to 177 sqm of parking and 55.3 sqm of built form approved by the outline parameter plan. The increase of 18 sqm of hardstanding and a decrease of 1.2 sqm of built form is considered acceptable and within the tolerances of the parameter plans approved.



The Building Parameters Plan indicates clear zoning of the site with footprint, use and height parameters. Zone 1, in the centre of the site is identified as the location of the communal facilities, zone 2 at the western side of the site is identified as the location of apartments, with zone 2d further subdivided to take account of the site level changes, and zone 3, at the south eastern and north eastern edges are identified as the location of the proposed cottages. Each zone has detailed parameters including maximum ridge height, and maximum block size. The below plan, taken from the Design and Access Statement shows the proposal overlaid onto the parameters plan:


The plans submitted with this reserved matters application indicate that the proposed building heights and block sizes comply with the maximums set out on the approved parameters plan. None of the buildings proposed exceed the maximum ridge height set out in the Parameters Plan. The proposed buildings, however, have made use of the higher pitched roofs (the design of which is discussed in paragraph 6.9 below) and utilised the roof space in the centre of blocks B, C, L and K to create two and a half storey units, the following section showing block K indicates how this is achieved:

Within each of blocks B, L and K two units are created with accommodation over two floors in this manner.



Within block C the arrangement is different as the central zone on the Parameters plan allows for the change in levels existing on the site. Here, the use of a lower ground floor together with the roof space results in a section of three and a half storey as shown on the section below:



It is important to note, however, that the maximum height and block size parameters are not exceeded by this design. Concerns are raised by the Parish Council and the local residents in respect of height and size, however, whilst the number of floors in parts of each apartment building are more than was anticipated at the outline stage, the parameters of height and building size remain as per the approved parameter plans and the proposed buildings are no higher than those indicated through the outline application. The impacts of utilising the roof space on appearance and the amenity of surrounding neighbours are examined at paragraphs 6.9 and 6.18 respectively.




Design and character

Objections to the scheme at the outline stage included concerns over a potential

institutional appearance of the development and the Inspector directly addressed that in his report suggesting at paragraph 28 that a more domestic appearance could be achieved. The scheme proposed in this reserved matters application is very different to that which was indicated at outline stage. The Design and Access Statement sets out the design evolution that the scheme has undergone and the influences that have informed the design and material choices.



Significantly, the architect has sought to reduce the massing of the apartment blocks by breaking up the long roof lines and long lines of regular widows and introduced a gable fronted design which has a contemporary appearance, but takes cues from gable fronted designs both in the villages of Shiplake and Lower Shiplake as well as distinctively designed buildings in nearby Henley on Thames. Together with varying the frontage of the different elements of the blocks this design approach creates a much less ‘institutional’ appearance of the buildings and breaks up what otherwise could be very large blocks. The design approach considers the appearance of the local area and the advice contained in the South Oxfordshire Design Guide as well as the Chilterns Design Guide (although the site is not located in the Chilterns AONB, the boundary is some 650 metres to the west) and is supported by Officers.



The design of the proposal has been criticised locally as being out of character with the surrounding properties and not in accordance with design aspirations as set out in the emerging Shiplake Neighbourhood Plan. The architecture of Lower Shiplake is largely traditional in nature, with the nearest properties on Baskerville Lane exhibiting a range of bespoke designs set in large plots. It is acknowledged that the design of the site is of a different and more contemporary nature than many of the surrounding properties, (with some notable exceptions). However, this site is located on the very edge of the settlement, as described by the appeal decision, and is of a very different character, being a retirement village rather than single residential properties, and this gives an opportunity to create a bespoke architectural character that gives the site its own identity, whilst using design cues to tie it back to the surrounding area.



The emerging Shiplake Neighbourhood Plan contains a Character Appraisal and Design Guide. The site is identified as being contained within he Shiplake Semi-Enclosed Dipslope character area but is not assigned to a particular area for design requirements. The Design Guide element of this appendix focuses on traditional design, however also includes the requirement that “Contemporary design must be informed by a contextual analysis. Designers should create proposals which will complement and enhance Shiplake with designs which are positively distinctive and rooted in an understanding of their context.” It is Officer’s opinion that this contextual analysis has taken place and that the contemporary approach to design is fully justified and acceptable in this case. The Shiplake Design Guide sets out those materials and design elements appropriate to the Parish, including timber cladding (particularly boathouses) and prominent gables, which have been used in this scheme.



In addition to the design of the buildings themselves, the design of the entrance feature has also been criticised by the Parish and local people for being institutional in nature and out of keeping with the rural location, however, Officers consider the use of brick and flint to tie in with the boundaries in other parts of the village, as shown in the Shiplake Design Guide, and is sufficiently modest in scale and design to avoid introducing unacceptable urbanising elements into the rural street scene.





The Inspector’s decision at paragraph 26 states that “The strong degree of containment resultant from topography and vegetation would significantly reduce the impact of the development of the site on the character of the area. An impact that would be further reduced with structural landscaping, maturing planting and the management and maintenance of the existing tree and hedge screening.” It is therefore a crucial part of the acceptability of this Reserved Matters application that an appropriate landscaping scheme is included.



During the application process, changes have been made to the scheme to increase the structural landscaping proposed, particularly on the eastern boundary. A small gap is left open in the centre of this boundary to allow residents a view out, however the open area is minimised in order to screen the development as much as possible. The structural planting consists of large native species including oak, field maple and silver birch planted as standard and heavy standard sizes. The buffer area will be underplanted with a native shrub mix which will thicken the structural planting at the understorey level. For the majority of the eastern boundary, this 10 metre buffer is met, however the Landscape Officer has identified two locations where the proposed planting requires further thickening. These are in the north eastern corner of the site, and an area around the bin storage area. A condition is recommended requiring further details of planting in these areas.



Within the site, larger tree species have been located in key positions to add to the green canopy and further mitigate the landscape impact of the proposal. Officers consider that the level of landscaping proposed, and required by condition, is sufficient to mitigate the impact of the proposal on the landscape and is consistent with the expectations set out by the Inspector in his decision. The condition requiring further landscaping details also includes clauses requiring the implementation of the landscaping scheme prior to occupation of the development and the replacement of any specimen that dies within 5 years, which was not a condition on the outline permission. This will ensure that the landscaping is implemented in a timely manner and given the best chance to mature. 




Residential amenity

A number of surrounding residents have expressed concerns that the proposed buildings would overlook their properties, particularly properties on Baskerville Lane and the approved new dwellings on the site immediately to the north of the application site (Land at Tower House). The plan below shows the proposal in context with the surrounding residential properties to the north (Land at Tower House) and north east (Baskerville Lane). This plan indicates that there is a distance of 40.40 metres between block C and the adjacent property, and 45 metres between Block D and the closest property in Baskerville Lane.



To put this into context, the South Oxfordshire Design Guide sets out the expected back to back distances for new residential development at a minimum of 25 metres between habitable rooms, and back to side distances at a minimum of 12 metres. Clearly the distances proposed in this case far exceed that minimum.



Whilst it is recognised that the rear gardens of these properties currently form the edge of the settlement and the area is characterised by large detached buildings in large plots, it is important to note that the general form of development, and the position of buildings, was approved through the parameter plans as discussed above. In addition, as noted by the Inspector in his decision at paragraph 29, the land on which the existing properties is set is higher than the application site, thereby reducing the potential for overlooking further. In relation to the potential for overlooking of the properties on Baskerville Lane, it should be noted that the proposed cottages in block D are 1.5 storey, set behind a significant planting buffer and are at an oblique angle to the rear elevations of the existing properties on Baskerville Lane. It is your Officer’s opinion that no material harm would arise from overlooking of these properties. 



The proposed apartment block C differs from the original parameter plans as described in paragraph 6.7 above, as the roof space is also utilised for habitable rooms. However, this does not materially increase the harm from overlooking to this neighbouring property as the only window to a habitable room on the side elevation is located behind the garage. There is potential to overlook the garden of this property, however, that is mitigated to a significant degree by the existing and proposed landscaping on this boundary. The most private areas of the garden are considered to be closest to the house, and, as this is over 40 metres from the proposed property it is your Officer’s opinion that no material harm would arise from overlooking of this property.



It is acknowledged that the proposal will alter the appearance of this edge of settlement site and this was noted by the appeal Inspector at paragraph 29 where he said: “Although there is no entitlement to a view the appearance of the area would change and would be adversely affected for a number of receptors in the immediate vicinity of the site, albeit this would reduce as landscaping matured.”



The maturing of the structural landscaping would reduce the impact of the proposal on the surrounding residents, and the proposals are considered to be acceptable in this regard as described in paragraphs 6.13 - 6.15 above. Further reference to the importance of the structural planting is made in the appal decision at paragraph 52 of the appeal decision which indicates that the structural planting further mitigates any impact on the nearby properties.



The amenity of the future residents of the site must also be considered. The site has been designed to comply with the back to back and front to front distances set out in the South Oxfordshire Design Guide.  For the cottages some private outdoor amenity space is provided and for the apartments, the use of large overhanging eaves to the gable ends adds useable outside space. Within the site the design complies with the amenity policies in the SOLP, DES5 and DES6.




Highways matters and Parking

As explained in the introductory paragraphs, the access to the site has been approved through the outline permission, the details of the site access arrangement, including the necessary retaining wall, have been found to be acceptable as part of the application to discharge Condition 6 of the outline permission and are not matters for consideration in this reserved matters application.



The applicant has confirmed that the site will be subject to a Private Road Agreement and will therefore not be adopted. The road layout has been designed to minimise the engineering required and uses a gravel finish surface to the roads in order to soften the appearance of the site.



The applicant proposes a total of 86 car parking spaces (65 allocated and 21 unallocated) as follows:


-       1 car parking space allocated to each residential unit (65 spaces);

-       1 car parking space for each guest suite (2 spaces);

-       4 accessible parking bays;

-       7 staff car parking spaces;

-       7 visitor car parking spaces; and

-       1 delivery car parking space.


There is no specific requirement for parking to serve retirement villages, however the ratio of one space per unit is considered acceptable and reasonable for such a development. The provision of parking has been justified in a technical note produced by the application and this approach is found to be acceptable by the County Council’s Highways Officer. The applicant proposes a total of 15 single and 15 twin electric vehicle charging points throughout the site, allowing for a total of 45 electric cars to be charged at any time. This is considered to be acceptable and in accordance with policy TRANS5.



With regard to cycle parking, the original submission included a total of 23 cycle parking spaces and 2 electric cycle spaces. There is no specific guidance on the provision of cycle spaces for retirement housing, the Oxfordshire Cycle Design Standards (2017) for new residential developments, require resident cycle parking at a ratio of 1 space for a 1 bed unit and 2 spaces per unit for larger properties, whereas the National Guidance Local Transport Note on Cycle Infrastructure Design (2020) requires sheltered/elderly housing and nursing homes to provide just 0.05 spaces per unit, resulting in the need for only 3.25 spaces in this case. Comments from the Senior Transport Planner at the County Council indicate that the number of proposed spaces is inadequate and more should be provided.



Revisions to the scheme have included the provision of 35 cycle spaces overall for the development, the Cottages (blocks D, E and F) would include one space for each property in their private amenity area, and the apartment blocks would each have access to a covered cycle storage area, providing 20 spaces overall for the 50 apartments. Whilst no formal comments from the County Council have been provided on this revision, the Officer has indicated that this provision would still not meet their expectations for cycle provision. However, after careful consideration it is your Officer’s opinion that a total of 35 spaces overall for the site would be sufficient, given the nature of the scheme and its location. The applicant, Probitas, has experience of running older person’s housing developments and advises that the average age of residents is approximately 75. The site is located on the edge of the village and access into Lower Shiplake itself is via a busy road with no cycle infrastructure. Given the location and type of development, officers consider that provision of 35 spaces for this development is likely to be sufficient. The detailed information as to how those spaces are provided (e.g. within a shed or covered stand) is required by a recommended condition.








Other material planning considerations


Concerns have been raised that the site does not comply with the policy in the emerging Neighbourhood Plan regarding dark skies. This is a key concern of the Parish Council and is reflected in the work they have done to inform the Neighbourhood Plan. In this case, the principle of development here has been accepted by the granting of outline permission, and it would be unacceptable and inappropriate to exclude all outside lighting from the scheme.



The applicants have sought to minimise the impact of the lighting scheme by using bollard lighting throughout, as per the discussions at the appeal, and mentioned in paragraph 53 of the Inspector’s report. The applicants have produced a lighting statement technical note to assess the potential impacts of the proposals. The following measures are used to minimise light spill:


-       Low level (1m tall) bollards covering car parks, paths and communal spaces

-       Facade lighting mounted at 2.8m to highlight building entrances and pedestrian routes.

-       All lighting will be controlled via photocells complete with a timeclock override to reduce energy consumption in summer months and provide the facility to switch the lighting off between set times.

-       Low output downlights will be installed within terrace canopies which will be controlled manually by the resident as and when they require lighting to their terrace.

-       The internal lighting shall be designed in accordance with BS12464-1 whereby the internal lighting shall be controlled to minimise energy consumption and use when the space is unoccupied.


The only remaining area of concern with regard to lighting is the potential light spill from the Clubhouse, particularly the ground floor rooms facing east, identified on the submitted plans as a gym and studio. As these are communal facilities a condition is recommended to set the hours of use of these rooms to ensure lighting is not used late at night.


Whilst relevant to this Reserved Matters application, it is also important to note that  lighting is also controlled by condition 16 on the outline permission.



Size of the units

Paragraph 60 of the Inspector’s report refers to the size and mix of the units proposed at outline stage, which was focused on two bed units, concluding that this was a matter that could reasonably be explored in the reserved matters application. This application for reserved matters also includes all 2-bed dwellings as this meets the market need for retirement living properties. People moving into the development are likely to be  downsizing from other properties and the Section 106 requires the primary resident to be aged 65 and over. Notwithstanding, this, some of the units do have additional rooms to use as a study, these spaces are of a size that would meet space standards to be a bedroom allowing a degree of flexibility in how the spaces are used.




It was established at outline stage that the site would result in a net loss of biodiversity. At that time the Council considered this acceptable, subject to a suitable condition requiring the loss to be offset. However, the requested offsetting condition was not applied by the Inspector. This reserved matters application also shows a net loss of biodiversity. Officers therefore consider it is necessary to impose a condition on this reserved matters requiring the loss of biodiversity to be offset. Subject to the condition, it is considered that the proposal meets the requirements of policy ENV3.



Carbon Reduction

As required by policy DES10 of the SOLP the application is accompanied by an Energy and Sustainability Statement setting out how the required carbon reduction would be achieved. The calculation of carbon reduction has been carried out using a more up to date method, that has not yet been adopted into policy. The minimum requirement of a 40% reduction in CO2 emissions has not been achieved when assessed under current method. However, the use of SAP 10 calculations does show the required improvement, this alternative approach is acceptable and meets the requirements of DES10. It is understood that the use of SAP10 emission factors would future proof the development to ensure that energy efficiency measures are maximised via a fabric first approach, and that the development is designed in line with the Future Homes Standard and upcoming changes to AD Part L (expected June 2022). The compliance of the construction with the carbon reduction targets will be monitored post completion and this is secured by condition.



Community Infrastructure Levy

The development is not CIL liable under the Council’s current CIL Charging Schedule as it is for a C2 use. The S106 legal agreement that is linked to the outline planning permission secured the following contributions:


-       Bin provision

-       Street naming

-       Contribution towards public transport





The submitted reserved matters application conforms to the parameters of the outline planning permission granted at appeal and provides 65 units of older persons accommodation, for which there is a high need in the District. The delivery of this site which has already been approved in principle would make a small contribution to the District’s five year supply of housing, by providing specialist housing for older people and freeing up family accommodation in the wider market.



The design is of a high quality, complying with the requirements of the South Oxfordshire Design Guide, and will create a well-designed living environment and public realm for the residents. Significantly, the proposal indicates a better quality design than was envisaged at the outline stage, with a less ‘institutional’ appearance and a less engineered public realm.



Whilst not all the concerns of the Landscape Officer have been overcome, the landscaping of the scheme is well-designed, with the key mitigation of the structural planting around the edge of the site, particularly the eastern boundary being designed satisfactorily to enable the scheme to assimilate into the landscape, as discussed in the Inspector’s decision.



The details in respect of layout, scale, appearance and landscaping are acceptable in relation to the policies of the Development Plan.











To grant reserved matters approval subject to the following conditions:


1.    Development in accordance with approved plans

2.    Biodiversity offsetting

3.    Landscape implementation

4.    Restricted hours of operation (clubhouse) for lighting and use of internal blinds

5.    Cycle Parking

6.    Energy Statement Verification




Author:        Nicola Smith

Contact No: 01235 422600