HRG Election Results

Last weeks Town Council and District elections turned out to be much more closely fought than those at national level, and HRG fought a very strong campaign with a fresh new team. Now that the dust has settled we’re very pleased to report that not only did we increase the number of HRG Councillors on the Town Council by two, but Stefan Gawrysiak was also elected as District Councillor.

We now have seven Town Councillors – Stefan Gawrysiak, Ian Reissmann, Kellie Hinton, David Eggleton, Sara Abey, Sarah Miller and Jane Smewing. The details of the votes are here. Read more about Our Councillors.

And we’re delighted that in Stefan we shall have an active representative on SODC. In Stefan’s words “I’m hugely pleased to be elected. I will work extremely hard for the people of Henley and I’m really pleased that HRG got so many votes.” The details of the votes are here.

Although we are disappointed that we have not regained control of the Town Council, weincreased our representation within the council against a wave of national Conservative popularity. We have a strong and diverse team, and are already focussed on working together to improve the town, as HRG has always done. The fight goes on to achieve the best for Henley!

Townlands Status Report – Latest

Townlands report

Since the meeting on the 26th March the following have taken place:

1. Plans for the new model of care have been provided to the TSG and are on the TSG pages on the HTC website.

2. IR is in regular phone contact with Libby Furness who is leading the CCG project.

3. The subgroup (IR, PA, SG, DNS, SG) met with John Howell to plan the next steps

4. The TSB have agreed to hold a consultation on the proposals to move to a new model of service. This consultation was pressed for by the HOSC at OCC who are responsible for ensuring that changes to the services have undergone due process. This was inevitable given the nature of the proposed changes.

5. The critical factor is not the consultation itself, which was never in doubt, but the content when the documents are published on May 11/12.

6. IR has been invited to join the CCG project group as TSG rep. There have been two meetings so far: 18 April and 30th April. These have been attended by all the key players and are working in a focussed and cooperative way to ensure the new plan is developed successfully and the consultation is successful.

7. The TSG including John Howell met with Oxford Health CEO on 24th April. Also present COO Yvonne Taylor and Director of Older People’s Services Pete Magrane. CCG manager Libby Furness also attended.

8. The TSG including John Howell met with the Henley GPs on 30 April.

9. There was a Service Design workshop held on 1 May to allow all the key stakeholders to agree a plan for the new model of care. This will be reviewed by a wider group including GPs and Peter Ashby from the TSG on 7th May.

10. IR had a meeting with Corrine Yates (CCG comms director) and Julia Stackhouse (senior CCG comms manager) to review the engagement plan. This includes many planned meetings with interest groups in and around Henley. There is a plan for one large meeting, with capacity for a second if demand is sufficient. I think the overall plan is comprehensive – they CCG are making sure they are able to show this is a real consultation. They have also made clear that they remain open to new ideas and views of the community. This is no rubber stamping of a done deal.

11. Consultation will start on 11 May. The documents are mostly at final draft stage. I have seen some of these. These are:

1. Letter of intent based on the document signed by Andrew Burnett as sent to the TSG on 27 March
2. Summary of the assessment of key health needs (as issued to the TSG in March)
3. Full description of the new model
4. Costings
5. Summary of agency interworking
6. Case studies

12. The main document which presents the detailed services to be delivered at Townlands will be published on the 12 May.

13. The TSG should also meet as soon as possible in the course of the consultation. Provisional dates of 4 June and 11 June were discussed this morning.

This consultation is very important and we need to make sure we all consider carefully the papers when they come out and respond both as individuals and collectively. It’s important we wait to see exactly what the proposals are before we rush to judgement. The TSG and CCG (and others) have done a lot of talking over the last few weeks and the eventual proposals may be significantly different form the outline presented to the TSG and community on March 26 by the CCG.

Cllr Ian Reissmann

5 May 2015

HRG statement on Townlands

The new hospital at Townlands is being built and will certainly open in the next 12 months with an excellent set of services which are so important to the community. This is a magnificent result and thanks to the community and the TSG which has been so effective in fighting this battle for over 10 years.

The Clinical Commissioning Group are going to launch a consultation on May 11th which will suggest an alternative set of services to the beds. This will include improved support for people to be cared for at home, and also greater availability for long term care for those who can’t go home.

The CCG say this will be better and GPs agree that this potentially may be a better service. The key point is making sure the support systems are in place, particularly the Adult Social care which is the responsibility of OCC.

We need to make sure their plans stack up and the people currently using the beds will be cared for safely and with dignity.

Until we get the facts, we’re not able to judge. The TSG are in close contact with the CCG and will be carefully scrutinising the proposals. The TSG have been working in this way very successfully since being set up by HRG cllrs in 2003.

Townlands Steering Group Developments

The Townlands Steering Group’s vision of a new hospital for Henley is about to be achieved. Construction is on target to deliver a wonderful health campus this year – thanks to the perseverance of HRG Councillors, and the solid support of the entire community. However, the construction has yet not finished, and such issues as Sue Ryder and medical cover show, there’s a lot more to be done. The TSG is working to help resolve these challenges. Watch out for announcements from the Townlands Steering Group In the next few weeks – representing the community’s determination to succeed.

New HRG Team elected to run Election Campaign


The Henley Residents Group have elected new officers and Executive Committee members putting in place a team to run the election campaign in the run up to the council election in May 2015. The Hrg General Meeting took place in the Margaret Day room in the Barn on December 8th. (Picture).

HRG founder member Gill Dodds was elected the new leader. “I am delighted and honoured that HRG have elected me leader. HRG came into existence 25 years ago around my kitchen table. Many folk have come and gone since that time but always we have remained true to our belief that the best people to run Henley are its residents.”

Last year’s mayor Stefan Gawyrsiak steps up to HRG Chair with responsibility for leading the election campaign. “We strongly believe that Henley should be run by residents for residents without any influence from national party politics. We have done this very successfully for 24 years, and Henley residents obviously agree as we have been repeatedly won elections to run the Town Council in that time. Our job is to ensure we communicate our achievements, and promote HRG as the group with the vision, energy and record to keep Henley special for another 4 years.”

There are several new faces on the HRG Executive committee. Jane Smewing, who is a new face, but not a new name said “I have been a member for many years and am keen to take a bigger role in the group in future [ETC]”.

Newly elected leader Gill Dodds reminded members of the HRG History. “HRG came into existence in 1989 when residents were dismayed at the Conservative Council’s plan to demolish the old Regal cinema and replace it with a shopping mall, a multi-storey car park and a huge Waitrose. These proposals prompted strong feelings that they were inappropriate for a heritage town like Henley. This led to the birth of HRG. Two years later, in the 1991 elections, HRG swept to victory. All eight HRG candidates were elected. Following the election, a more modest scheme was built together with a new cinema which opened in 1996. Under the previous Conservative council, anything run down and uncared for was council owned. HRG set about putting that right. That was 25 years ago. Now new members, new ideas, new Henley residents are continuing to run the town in the interests of residents.“

Other new Executive Committee members are Colin Brathwaite, who is chair of the Henley Skatepark Initiative (HSI); Paula Isaacs, who is chair of the Gainsborough Residents Association; and Shima Healey.

“HRG cllrs have been wonderfully supportive in helping us get a new skatepark designed and then approved by South Oxon District Council who granted planning permission this year”. Said HSI chair Colin Braithwaite. “Although we did a lot of work ourselves, it is obvious you can get so much more done working with supportive and hardworking HRG cllrs who are running the Town Council.”

Paula Isaacs set up the Gainsborough Residents Association with another HRG member David Eggleton in 2012 and have been working with other residents to improve the area and also raise money for charities. “Although the GRA have achieved a lot, I’d like to work across Henley to improve the town for all residents. It’s obvious that having residents run Henley is a good thing, and I’m looking forward to being a part of that.”