“I’ll work my socks off” – Stefan Gawrysiak

Henley Residents Group (HRG) has announced that Stefan Gawrysiak, District and Town Councillor for Henley-on-Thames will be the HRG candidate for the county election on May 4th.

Stefan, a former Mayor of Henley and Assistant Head Teacher of Gillotts School, said that this election was “the most important election for the last 10 years.” Residents of Henley have felt for a long time that Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) is remote, unresponsive, and inept at dealing with Henley’s problems. Over the past 8 years we have had nothing from OCC.

  • No action on pedestrian crossings
  • No action on air quality
  • Mo action on HGV through traffic
  • Funding removed from local buses
  • Funding removed from children centres
  • Pot holes, pot holes, pot holes AND potholes that have to fixed twice.
  • Henley schools this year face cuts of £60,000 in their budgets.
  • NO beds in Townlands Hospital and poor levels of social care

During the past 4 years Henley’s County Councillor has received £100,000 in allowances – that is £25,000 per year. OCC allowances were increased by 25% cynically 1 year after the election; these increases were not in the Conservative manifesto.

Has Henley received value for money? NO. Do we want 4 more years of doing nothing? NO.

Real Devolved Local Power and Decision Making.

This election is the most important for 10 years because in the next two years Oxfordshire could become a single authority with the abolition of District Councils. The danger is that OCC will become even more remote. If OCC becomes responsible for every facet of local government then it will be a disaster for the town. OCC must devolve powers down to Henley as a parish council. Give Henley the money to fund the town buses, give Henley the money to fund our children’s centre, give Henley the money and we will fix ALL the pot holes in the town.

We need real devolved local power and decision-making. Therefore it is crucial that we have an INDEPENDENT VOICE speaking solely for Henley and not one that will vote with the party whips. At County and District our local Conservative Councillors have never voted against their party line, not once.

I have lived and worked in Henley for 30 years and I am deeply committed to this community. I taught at Gillotts School for over 30 years and retired as Assistant Head Teacher. Gillotts is a fantastic local school with dedicated teachers and inspiring leadership, we must secure new 21st century buildings for them.

I believe in working my socks off for Henley. I am President of Henley Bridge Rotary Club; a Governor of Badgemore School; help organise the Henley Half Marathon; on the Committee for the wonderful Henley Show; and I am responsible for the Horticultural section at this brilliant Henley event. With Maggie Atkinson I started Music on the Meadows MOTM for the young people of Henley to showcase their talents; it is also an excellent free community event for Henley which has now run 3 times.

During my time as Mayor we refurbished our wonderful toddler playground and the Mill Meadows toilets.  We deep cleaned the town centre streets and removed evening business waste. As a SODC district councillor I have helped to secure £400,000 grants for Henley. Skatepark, Rugby Club, Cricket Club, HAODS and the YMCA. I believe in working hard for the community of Henley on Thames.

As Henley’s HRG County Councillor I am Independent of “National Parties and Politics.” I will not be influenced by national party stances; I will speak and work as the INDEPENDENT VOICE FOR HENLEY. Henley is a fantastic place to work and live. At County level I am fed up with nothing being done for Henley. I have a proven track record of getting things done. I say it, I mean it and I will do it.

This is what Think Local Vote Local means.

HRG survey – what matters to you?

Henley Residents Group want to hear your views on Henley’s most important issues.

Management of Henley is split between Oxford County Council (OCC), South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC), and Henley Town Council.

On 4th May 2017 there are elections taking place for Oxford County Council (OCC). We want to represent what’s important to the people of Henley in these elections.

Please help us to represent you by completing the questions in this survey. It won’t take you more than a few minutes.

Thank you

Click here to take survey

Councillor Martin Akehurst resigns

Councillor Martin Akehurst (Con) has resigned from Henley Town Council due to advice from his consultant and doctor.

Martin joined the Henley Residents Group party in 2009 and was elected as Town Councillor in 2010. In November 2014 half way through his year as mayor, he resigned from HRG and declared that he had always been a Conservative. In the May 2015 elections Martin was elected both Henley Town Councillor and District Councillor for Sonning Common.

There will now be a mid term election for the two Henley Town Council seats, the date is yet to be confirmed but it is thought that it will take place on the same day as the County Council elections on 4 May 2017.

Councillor Dylan Thomas resigns

Councillor Dylan Thomas (Con) has resigned as a member of Henley Town Council. Dylan who has been a Town Councillor for almost two years has accepted a new job in the public sector in Whitehall. It is important that he is seen to be politically impartial so he has therefore decided to vacate his seat on the Town Council.

A mid term election may now take place and the official vacancy has been advertised on the Henley Town Council website.

County council elections on Thursday 4 May

On Thursday 4 May 2017, all 63 seats on the county council will be up for re-election. Polling stations in the 61 divisions across the county will open at 7am for voting and close at 10pm.

Exactly who will be standing for election in each division will be known after the close of nominations at 4pm on Tuesday 4 April. The Statements of Persons Nominated will be published no later than 4pm on Wednesday 5 April.

In the 2013 election the Henley seat was won on a minority vote by David Nimmo-Smith (Con) with 912 votes, closely followed by Stefan Gawrysiak (HRG) on 789 votes with the UKIP candidate gaining 775 votes.

John Howell under fire

JOHN HOWELL seems to have had enough of the criticism coming his way recently.

The Henley MP has come under fire for the perceived failure of the joint Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan to dictate planning policy.

He even disagreed with his fellow Henley Conservatives who messaged him on Twitter, saying: “South Oxfordshire District Council have told us in writing that our plan is out of date due to them not having a five-year land supply.”

Mr Howell replied: “I am telling you I discussed this with the minister and neighbourhood plans are not worthless. They still carry the same weight.”

No appeal for loss of LA Fitness

THE decision to allow the site of the former LA Fitness gym in Henley to be turned into an 80-bed care home will not be scrutinised by the Government.

Planning minister Gavin Barwell has refused a request by opponents for it to be “called in” and examined by a planning inspector.

The Keep Henley Active pressure group, which believes the site in Newtown Road should remain a leisure facility, said South Oxfordshire District Council should not have awarded planning permission last month as the land wasn’t earmarked for housing in the Henley and Harpsden joint neighbourhood plan.

They said the closure of the gym and swimming pool had put heavy pressure on Henley leisure centre, which now has the town’s only pool.

Neighbouring residents argued that the plans by Essex developer Henthames would cause congestion on Mill Lane, where the main entrance will be.

But Mr Barwell said the call-in procedure could only be used “very selectively” and he was satisfied that the LA Fitness decision should have been taken locally.

He said the Government “remained committed to giving more power to councils and communities to make their own decisions on planning issues”.

It is the second time this year that the Department for Communities and Local Government has declined to call in a planning decision involving a development in Henley.