Stefan Gawrysiak, Ken Arlett & Kellie Hinton



Mr WJ Spiers



Land adjacent to 5 St Annes Close, Access off Old Greys Lane, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 1XA



Construction of 1no dwelling with parking and associated landscaping. (As amplified by transport statement received 11 July 2022 and amended by plans received 20 October 2022 to replace one front dormer with high level rooflight).



Marc Pullen






This report sets out the justification for officers’ recommendation to grant planning permission having regard to the development plan and any other material planning considerations.



This application seeks planning permission for the erection of a detached dwelling on a plot of land which lies within the built-up limits of Henley-on-Thames (which is shown on the OS extract attached as Appendix A).  The dwelling would be accessed via Old Greys Lane.  This application has been amended to include a Transport Statement and to amend the elevations to omit one dormer along the front elevation and to replace it with a high-level roof light – this amendment was sought to address any potential overlooking toward neighbouring no. 5 St Annes Close. 



This application is referred to planning committee as the recommendation made by officers conflicts with the views of Henley-on-Thames Town Council. 



Reduced copies of the plans accompanying the application are attached as Appendix B.  Other documentation associated with the application can be viewed on the council’s website,



An application was made in 2009 for the erection of a single detached dwelling, which was refused on two grounds and upheld at appeal based on the size of the garden and the shadowing impact of the nearby trees.  Details of the dismissed appeal scheme can be seen attached to this as Appendix C





Henley-on-Thames Town Council – Object

·         Recommend refusal on the grounds that this development would be overdevelopment of the site and would have an adverse impact on the neighbouring properties. The Committee are concerned over the lack of landscaping proposed and habitat loss. The safety of the proposed access and the impact on the right of way running through the site


County Archaeological Services (SODC) –

·         The proposals outlined would not appear to have an invasive impact upon any known archaeological sites or features. As such there are no archaeological constraints to this scheme


Countryside Officer (South and Vale) –

·         Initial comments: It is acknowledged in the Ecological Appraisal that development will likely result in a loss of biodiversity. No biodiversity metric assessment has been submitted, which is required by Policy ENV3.

·         Revised comments: A biodiversity metric assessment has concluded a net loss of biodiversity of 0.88 units. This net loss will have to be offset to secure compliance with the development plan. A condition is recommended.


Drainage (South and Vale) –

·         No objections, subject to conditions being imposed requesting surface water drainage and foul drainage details to be agreed.


Forestry Officer (South and Vale) –

·         Initial views: No arboricultural information has been provided with the application setting out the arboricultural impact of the proposal. Therefore, in its current form the proposal fails to demonstrate compliance with South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2035 policies.

·         Revised views: Arboricultural report has been submitted and provides a fair representation of the tree stock found around the site. The proposal will require the loss of 6 trees to accommodate the dwelling, the two most significant are semi mature Sycamore trees, the others being poor quality trees with limited life expectancy. Due to the elevated ground to the south of the site the neighbouring retained trees will cast significant shadow over the rear garden. As the trees are outside of the applicant’s ownership, they would have little management options to address the issue. The applicant needs to demonstrate how the proposed tree loss would be mitigated for in a sustainable manner.

·         Subject to the mitigation planting issue being addressed, I would have no further objections to the proposal from an arboricultural perspective.


Highways Liaison Officer (Oxfordshire County Council) -

·         Initial view: Object, parking spaces are not to standard, turning space not demonstrated, visibility splays not provided, the development would result in an increase in vehicular movements along an unmetalled footpath with no opportunities for non-motorised users to wait clear.

·         Revised view: Following the submission of the Transport Statement – no objection as turning and parking spaces have been demonstrated and are adequate, the location is in a highly accessible location with good access to sustainable modes of travel along with various facilities within the vicinity. Given the highly accessible location of the proposal, in my opinion the movements associated with the proposal in this location would be no more than one vehicle movement in the peak traffic period. Vehicular speeds and traffic are considered low along the length of the footpath. 


Contaminated Land

·         Initial view: I am unable to comment at present as no appropriate contamination assessment has been submitted with the application.

·         Revised view: The submitted Groundsure Report does not cover the whole area of the application site or include any physical site inspection and is not a contaminated land preliminary risk assessment report which I previously advised was required for this development. I would advise that a contaminated land preliminary risk assessment consultant’s report is required in support of this application.

·         Further revised view: I would advise that an appropriate contamination assessment is provided with the application although should the applicant prefer, I would not object to land contamination being addressed through the standard conditions and informative.


Energy Assessor (ESE Ltd) –

·         Initial view: The Energy statement should also include details of how post occupancy monitoring will be addressed.

·         Revised view: Complies with DES10, no objection, subject to imposition of compliance condition.


Countryside Access (Oxfordshire County Council) –

·         Initial view: I would like to object to the proposed driveway application as this would obstruct Henley Footpath 6.

·         Revised view: Our Definitive Map and Records team have investigated further into the footpath alignment, it appears the mapping was slightly incorrect and has now been moved to the correct definitive line so we no longer have a concern with the planning application, subject to condition ensuring temporary obstructions to the public footpath are avoided.


SGN Plant Protection Team

·         Advice on Gas and Electric lines


The Henley Society (Planning) –

·         This plot appears unsuitable for a residential property - it is very narrow and close to a steep hillside.


Neighbours Object (8)

·         Concern over the impact of development on people using the footpath.

·         The access along Old Greys Lane will create an increase in traffic along the lane and a further danger to pedestrians, especially children who use the route and often without adult supervision. There is no provision for a footpath along the lane. The lane has a high fence on one side and a steep bank on the other, so there is no refuge for pedestrians.

·         The site is hemmed in on all sides – public footpath on one side, a steep footpath on one side and all sides are surrounded by tall trees and bushes – this would restrict sunlight and daylight. The site would be dark and would offer no enhanced quality of life.

·         If this application succeeds local people will be faced with further building works and closure of the public footpaths and loss of mature trees and hedging.

·         Old Greys Lane is a single car width long dirt track with no possible areas for turning around. It is lined with trees that have a TPO on them so I don't understand what 'make good' means when it comes to digging up the path or track, for what must be hundreds of metres. The existing Lane is not a suitable surface for more vehicular traffic.

·         The proposed gate would prevent any visitors from having to reverse along Old Greys Lane if they cannot obtain access (if gate is closed).

·         Concern over access to existing home along Old Greys Lane if the application succeeds. Including deliveries. 

·         No details of whether Old Greys Lane would need to be improved, whether trees need removing, how the dwelling will be connected to the mains sewer and whether the nearby residents would be impacted. Access to the site from construction traffic would also be an issue. 

·         In order to build on the site, there will have to be some excavation of the slope which will have a detrimental effect on the wooded hillside and compromise trees and the wildlife of this natural area, which is an attractive, protected amenity for a heavily developed valley.

·         The widening of the access road will necessitate the removal of a lot of existing landscaping, but no mitigation planting is proposed.

·         The proposed landscape buffer is inadequate – any close boarded fence on the northern boundary should be set back. Refer to application P09/E1392/RET which was refused for a fence which reduced the open aspect of the site and resulted in a loss of natural surveillance to the footpath and created a long and inhospitable pedestrian corridor.

·         I am concerned that the planning application proposes that the width of the footpath be reduced alongside the proposed new house, with fencing making the environment for pedestrians unpleasant and more important will compromise their safety.

·         The stepped footpath from the site up to Greys Road will have to be set back from its present route, which will necessarily make it a much steeper stairway than at present. This will make it less safe to use, especially for the less able pedestrians, either by age or health.

·         A high-pressure gas main runs along the line of the footpath. The proposed development is within the safe standoff zone.

·         The proposal is entirely without merit. It does not suggest that the development will be for Social Housing or any amenity benefit but rather a purely commercial development of a small dwelling on a small, dark, cramped location for purely commercial gain.

·         Whilst the computer-generated desk exercise within the Transport Statement tries to show that such three or even four or five point turns are possible in the 15 foot lane (technically a bridle path), in reality drivers will either reverse up the length of the lane or reverse out of the property and turn using the Waterworks entrance.

·         The Swept Path analysis within the Transport Statement is nothing more than a consultant’s academic desk exercise to try and prove that it is physically possible to turn an estate car or lightweight van within the confines of the site. It bears no relationship to reality where the new occupant, or delivery driver, would ever attempt to undertake such a severely restricted manoeuvre.

·         Concern over loss of footpath up to Makins Recreation area.


Neighbours No Strong Views (4)

·         No issue with the building for a house but feel the footpath needs to be maintained as a safe route and that many trees in the area need to be preserved.

·         Any consent granted should only be on the provision that the applicant should pay for path improvements and upgrades to the surface as this would be a benefit for all the local community.

·         We would urge the Council to build in suitable clauses to any development approval so that safety signage is in place and obstructions do not occur.





P09/E1127 - Refused (22/12/2009) - Appeal dismissed (14/06/2010)

Erection of a 3-bedroom two storey dwelling and formation of parking and turning areas for existing dwelling and proposed dwelling.


P08/E0821 - Refused (09/09/2008)

Erection of one dwelling with parking.  Construction of parking facilities for the existing dwelling in replacement of an approved garage. Alterations to the turning layout from the approved scheme with reference P07/E1581/RET. (As amended by drawing number 7875/01A received 14th August 2008).










Development Plan Policies


South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2035 (SOLP) Policies:

DES1 - Delivering High Quality Development

DES2 - Enhancing Local Character

DES5 - Outdoor Amenity Space

DES6 - Residential Amenity

DES10 - Carbon Reduction

ENV1 - Landscape and Countryside

ENV2 - Biodiversity - Designated sites, Priority Habitats and Species

ENV3 - Biodiversity

ENV9 - Archaeology and Scheduled Monuments

ENV11 - Pollution - Impact from existing and/ or Previous Land uses on new Development and the Natural Environment (Potential receptors of Pollution)

ENV12 - Pollution - Impact of Development on Human Health, the Natural Environment and/or Local Amenity (Potential Sources of Pollution)

EP3 - Waste collection and Recycling

EP4 - Flood Risk

H1 - Delivering New Homes

HEN1 - The Strategy for Henley-on-Thames

STRAT1 - The Overall Strategy

TRANS5 - Consideration of Development Proposals



Henley and Harpsden Neighbourhood Plan


H4 - Infill and Self-Build Dwellings

EN1 - Biodiversity

DQS1 - Local Character



Henley and Harpsden Neighbourhood Plan Review 2022 (Referendum)


SD3 - Local Character

ENV2 - Biodiversity

ENV3 - Trees

SD1 - Minimising Carbon Emissions

SD1a - Fabric First Approach

T4 - EV Charging Points

T6 – Parking and Standards



Supplementary Planning Guidance/Documents


South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse Joint Design Guide 2022



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 relevant planning considerations are the following:

·         Principle of development

·         Design and character

·         Impact upon amenity of neighbours and future occupants

·         Access and parking

·         Impact on trees

·         Impact on ecology

·         Impact on Public Footpath

·         Carbon reduction

·         Contaminated Land

·         Drainage

·         Other material planning considerations


6.2         6

Principle of development

The site lies within the built-up limits of Henley-on-Thames.  Policy H1 of the South Oxfordshire Local Plan (SOLP, 2035) allows for new unallocated housing sites within the existing built-up area of Towns; provided an important open space of public, environmental, historical or ecological value is not lost, nor an important public view harmed.  Policy H4 of the Henley and Harpsden Neighbourhood Plan (HHNP, 2016) supports new infill and self-build dwellings where it can be demonstrated that the proposed development constitutes sustainable development.  In officer’s opinion, the site is not of any important value and does lie within the built-up area of Henley-on-Thames within a relatively sustainable location (e.g. accessibility to services etc).  As such, the principle of new residential development on this site is considered broadly acceptable. 



Design and character

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that planning policies and decisions should ensure that developments will function well and add to the overall quality of the area; are visually attractive as a result of good architecture, layout and appropriate and effective landscaping; are sympathetic to local character and history, including the surrounding built environment and landscape setting; establish or maintain a strong sense of place, using the arrangement of street spaces, building types and materials to create attractive, welcoming and distinctive places to live, work and visit and create places that are safe, inclusive and accessible and which promote health and well-being, with a high standard of amenity for existing and future users.



Policy DES1 (SOLP) advises that new development must be of a high-quality design that uses land efficiently, respects the local context working with and complementing the scale, height, density, grain, massing, type and details of the surrounding area.  Policy DES2 (SOLP) seeks to ensure that all new development is designed to reflect the positive features that make up the character of the local area and should both physically and visually enhance and complement the surroundings.  Policy SD3 (HHNP) seeks to ensure that all new development should be sensitive and make a positive contribution to the local character of the area. 


6.5         6

The site is currently undeveloped and overgrown with vegetation.  It is bounded by tall trees and other vegetation along the southern boundary and a public footpath along the northern boundary.  To the west lies a residential property with garage and parking area.  The site would be accessed via Old Greys Lane, which is a narrow public footpath which is bound by vegetation.  Old Greys Lane serves an existing residential property Greys House and a Thames Water pumping house.  The site has been informally plotted out with a small wooden fence which demonstrates separation from the public footpath. 


6.6         6

The existing site provides no visual interest to the area and appears as private land which has become overgrown and unmanaged.  The site contributes little to the overall character and appearance of this area.  It is officer’s view that the loss of this site for development would therefore not materially harm the character or appearance of the area. 


6.7         6

The proposed dwelling would be modest in size being primarily single storey in height but with rooms in the roof.  The size of the property relative to the size of the plot achieves a spacious form of development in context with the surrounding area.  The form, massing and scale are considered acceptable.  The proposed garden area would be approximately 310 square metres which meets the requirement of the Joint South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse Design Guide (JDG, 2022) which requires a minimum of 100 square metres of garden for a three-bedroom dwelling. 



There is little design precedent that can be viewed from the application site but there is some variation in this area.  Officers are satisfied with the proposed design and the use of yellow brickwork and natural slate roofing tiles would draw from the nearby buildings at the water works and Greys House.  The proposed soft boundary treatments with post and rail fencing would be acceptable in this location and would be sensitive to the existing appearance of the site. 



In officer’s opinion the proposed development would not adversely harm the character or the appearance of the area and would appropriately draw from the surrounding area.   



Impact upon amenity of future occupants

Policy DES6 (SOLP) seeks to ensure that development proposals do not result in significant adverse impacts on the amenity of neighbouring uses.  Factors to consider include loss of privacy, daylight or sunlight, dominance or visual intrusion, noise or vibration, smell, dust, heat, odour, gases or other emissions, pollution, contamination and external lighting. 



The site would only lie close to two nearby properties, 11 St Annes Close to the west and 5 St Annes Close to the north.  Given the siting and design of the proposed dwelling officers are satisfied that the proposed dwelling would not result in any adverse harm to these neighbour’s privacy.  The nearest windows to 5 St Annes Close would be some 17 metres away and is now a high level rooflight as a result of an amendment.  The nearest windows to 11 St Annes Close would be some 30 metres or more.  Having regard to the scale of the dwelling and proximity to the boundary to either neighbour officers are satisfied that the proposed development would not result in any overbearing impact on neighbours or cause any adverse loss of daylight/sunlight.  As such, the proposed development would comply with Policy DES6 (SOLP). 



Policy DES5 (SOLP) states that a private outdoor garden or outdoor amenity space, or alternatively a shared outdoor amenity area should be provided for all new dwellings.  The amount of land that should be provided for the garden or amenity space will be determined by the size of the dwelling proposed and by the character of surrounding development.  Private outdoor sitting areas should not be overlooked by adjacent habitable rooms.  They should also not be compromised by shading from buildings or shading, leaf litter and anxiety of established significant trees and hedges that would lead to future pressure to prune or remove these landscape features. 


6.13      6

A previous application on this site was refused due to the proximity of the dwelling to the nearby trees, which lie outside of the site.  A subsequent appeal was dismissed as the Inspector found that the new dwelling would provide unacceptably poor living conditions for its future occupiers.  A Daylight and Sunlight Report has been submitted to support this application.  It advises on the technical measurements and demonstrates compliance with BRE guidance on daylight and sunlight.  



Contrary to the previously refused scheme, the current scheme allows for a larger garden area and this application has been supported by a detailed Daylight and Sunlight Report that demonstrates compliance to the BRE guidance.  Officers are satisfied that the proposed dwelling would benefit from a large garden which would have an appropriate level of daylight and sunlight. 



Dismissed appeal scheme, 2009:




Currently proposed scheme:





Access and parking

Initially the Local Highway Authority objected to the proposed development as the application lacked detail (parking space dimensions, visibility splays, turning spaces within the site).  A Transport Statement was submitted to support the proposal.  In response to this, the Local Highway Authority no longer object to the proposed development.  It is agreed that the proposal is located in a highly accessible location with good access to sustainable modes of travel along with various facilities within the vicinity.  Two parking spaces have been demonstrated, whilst they do not meet current dimensional standards, given the space within the site these can be accommodated.  Turning opportunity for a delivery vehicle has been demonstrated and is considered acceptable.

It has been recommended by planning condition that pedestrian awareness visibility splays are provided at the access point. 



Given the highly accessible location of the proposal in the opinion of the Local Highway Authority, the movements associated with the proposal in this location would be no more than one vehicle movement in the peak traffic period.  It is acknowledged that access to the site is along a public footpath no.245/6/70, however no objection was raised by Oxfordshire County Council Countryside Services Team, in addition the vehicular speeds and traffic are considered to be relatively low along its length.  After investigation and reviewing the supplied documents, the Local Highway Authority has no objection subject to conditions being applied to any permission which may be granted on the basis of highway safety.



Impact on trees

The proposal will require the loss of 6 trees to accommodate the dwelling, the two most significant are semi mature Sycamore trees, the others being poor quality trees with limited life expectancy. 



Due to the elevated ground to the south of the site the neighbouring retained

trees will cast shadow over the rear garden.  As the trees are outside

of the applicant’s ownership, they would have little management options to

address the issue.  The trees are believed to be owned by the town council and

they have no obligation to do works to reduce the amount of shading.  However,

the trees adjacent to the rear garden are of limited arboricultural value and can

not be considered as a constraint to development.



Policy ENV1 (SOLP) and Policy ENV3 (HHNP) seek to ensure a net increase in tree canopy.  No details have been submitted in respect of replacement trees.  However, officers acknowledge that it would be possible to provide replacement trees to offset the loss of the trees on site.  This could be secured via a suitably worded condition.  Subject to the mitigation of the trees which would need to be removed, the council’s forestry officer has no objection to the proposed development. 



Impact on ecology

This application is supported by an Ecological Appraisal.  Whilst the bramble scrub on site is not considered to be a notable constraint to the development, the offsite habitats (woodland) are considered to be priority habitats which need to be retained and protected from development. 



Impacts on protected species are considered to be avoidable, when implementing mitigation measures on site (e.g. sensitive habitat clearance).  No trees on site are considered to be suitable to support roosting bats.  The trees to the south of the site are likely to be important for foraging and commuting bats.  As such, restrictions on external lighting will need to be imposed with planning conditions. 



It is acknowledged in the Ecological Appraisal that development will likely result in a loss of biodiversity.  No biodiversity metric assessment was originally submitted, which is required by Policy ENV3.  Subsequent calculations were submitted which concluded a net loss of biodiversity of 0.88 units.  This net loss will have to be offset to secure compliance with the development plan.  The council’s countryside officer is satisfied that the proposed development could be supported subject to conditions.  These conditions would 1) require the implementation of all the ecological mitigation and avoidance measures set out in the Ecological Appraisal, 2) require details of biodiversity enhancement features to be submitted and agreed in writing by the local planning authority and 3) require a certificate confirming agreement of an Offsetting Provider to deliver a Biodiversity Offsetting Scheme to be agreed in writing by the local planning authority. 



Impact on Public Footpath

Initial concerns were raised by Oxfordshire County Council’s Countryside Access Officer on the basis that the proposed development would interfere with the adopted Public Right of Way (PRoW).  However, upon further consideration it was clear that the mapping system had not been drawn properly and that now the mapping error has been resolved the proposed development is not considered to be interfering with the PRoW.  An informative is recommended to ensure that the PRoW is not obstructed by temporary obstructions, including machinery, plant, excavations or any form of deposits. 



Carbon Reduction

In accordance with Policy DES10 (SOLP) the proposed development would meet the requirement for at least a 40% reduction in carbon emissions compared with a code 2013 Building Regulations compliant base case. 



Contaminated Land
The council’s Contaminated Land Officer does not object to the proposed development subject to the imposition of conditions which in the first instance will require the applicant to develop a phased risk assessment – to be carried out by a competent professional in accordance with British Standard.  Each Phase should be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.  The second condition would ensure that any remediation strategy needed is submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.  A third condition would require the development to confirm in writing to the Local Planning Authority the presence of any unsuspected contamination encountered during the development and the means of remediating these contaminants. 




The council’s drainage engineer does not object to the proposed development but requests conditions to agree surface water and foul drainage schemes to serve the new dwelling. 



Other matters

Pre-commencement conditions - In accordance with The Town and Country Planning (Pre-commencement Conditions) Regulations 2018, Section 100ZA (6) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990(a) the Council is required to confirm agreement to all pre-commencement conditions.  These will all have been agreed by the applicant/agent in writing in accordance with the requirements of this legislation.  



Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)

The council’s Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) charging schedule applies to all relevant development proposals.  CIL is a planning charge that local authorities can implement to help deliver infrastructure and to support the development of their area and is primarily calculated on the increase in footprint created as a result of the development or net gain of residential use on site.  This development would be liable to pay toward CIL and will be charged based on the internal floor space provided. 





Planning Permission is recommended for the proposed development.  The principle of the development is considered acceptable, and the proposed development would not harm the character and appearance of the area.  The proposed development would not harm the amenity of neighbours, protected ecology, any important landscape features, the safety of pedestrians along the shared footpath and would ensure appropriate parking and manoeuvring, drainage measures and means to remediate any contamination.  In conjunction with the attached conditions, the proposal accords with relevant planning policy.





To grant Planning Permission subject to the following conditions:



1 : Commencement of development within 3 years

2 : Implement development in accordance with approved plans

3 : Schedule of Materials to be agreed in writing

4 : Proposed levels to be agreed

5 : Rooflight serving bedroom 1 along the north elevation to be set at least 1.7 metres in height

5 : Landscaping schedule (including hardsurfacing and boundary treatment) to be agreed in writing

6 : Surface water drainage works (details required) to be agreed in writing

7 : Foul drainage works (details required) to be agreed in writing

8 : Vision splay dimensions to be agreed

9 : Turning Area & Car Parking to be implemented as per plan and remain unobstructed

10 : Contaminated Land – phased risk assessment

11 : Contaminated Land – remediation strategy

12 : Unsuspected Contaminated Land to be reported and mitigation agreed in writing

13 : Wildlife Protection measures to be implemented as per recommendations in supporting Ecological Appraisal

14 : Biodiversity Enhancement features as recommended in Ecological Appraisal to be submitted to and approved in writing

15 : Biodiversity Offsetting –certificate confirming the agreement of an Offsetting Provider to deliver a Biodiversity Offsetting Scheme to be agreed

16 : External Lighting – details to be agreed if proposed

17 : Withdrawal of permitted development rights for roof additions and alterations (Class B and Class C) to the front elevation

18 : Withdrawal of permitted development rights for outbuildings (Class E)


Author: Marc Pullen


Tel: 01235 422600