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New homes to be built next to historic Stow House

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New homes to be built next to historic Stow House

Four new homes on the grounds of a historic house to the northwest of Reading scraped through the South Oxfordshire District Council planning process despite objections over their scale.


South Oxfordshire District Council: New homes to be built next to historic Stow House

Four new homes on the grounds of a historic house to the northwest of Reading scraped through the planning process this week despite objections over their scale.

Standalone five-bedroom and four-bedroom houses and two semi-detached three-bedroom houses have been given the green light on the site of Stow House on Thames Road, Goring.

Sonia Lofthouse, who represented Goring Parish Council in front of South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning committee, said there was no objection to the principle of development – but that neighbourhood plan policies had been “misrepresented”, particularly in relation to the area’s need to build smaller homes.

“Goring already has and is being oversupplied with larger dwellings such as this proposal,” she said, going on to raise concerns about overdevelopment, light pollution and the design of buildings, adding that “no details” had been provided on meeting biodiversity requirements.

“We are happy for a development to take place, but it is not exactly what we would have looked for,” she added.

Councillor Maggie Filipova-Rivers (Lib Dem, Goring), speaking as the area’s representative on the district council, supported the objectors.

“The proposed development would make the heritage asset subservient to the new houses, which don’t seem right to me,” she said. “Everything with a garden and every smaller property in Goring soon becomes a four or five-bedroom house.

“There are distinct and well-documented deficiencies in terms of smaller properties, and I have people who want the right size, or are downsizing – they just cannot remain in their communities with many who cannot afford these larger houses.

“I think it is really important that, as much as possible, we give weight to the neighbourhood plan because it was put together with a lot of diligence.”

However, the council’s planning professionals recommended approval, with councillors passing the plans by six votes to four.

Councillor Peter Dragonetti (Green, Kidmore End & Whitchurch) voted in favour.

“Of the four houses, two of them are three-bedroom, which complies with the neighbourhood plan,” he said. “It does respect the position of Stow House, the conservation area is protected, there has been development in the past, and I think it is an acceptable development.”

Councillor Ken Arlett (Henley Residents’ Group, Henley-on-Thames) was among those to say no. “The longer I have looked at it, the worse it gets, unfortunately,” he said. “I think it is a backland development. They are massive houses being built on small plots.

“It just looks wrong and doesn’t sit with me, whatsoever. And as for putting that long road in there, I just don’t understand it. It is the wrong place, and I just don’t see what it offers Goring.”

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