Report written by Cllr Stefan Gawrysiak. All views are his own.
Report for the six-week Council cycle ending Tuesday 14th Nov
This report is a summary to keep HRG members and other residents up to date with things that have been happening. After each six-week cycle of Council meetings, a new report with be emailed.
OUR HENLEY TOWN COUNCILLORS
HRG currently have 13 councillors out of 16 in total
HTC Mayor – Cllr Kellie Hinton
Deputy Mayor – Cllr Rory Hunt
HTC Councillors – Sarah, Michelle, Sara, Simon, Stefan, Ian, Rob, Tony, Gill, Glen and Tom
PLANNING COMMITTEE REPORT – Chair Tom, and Vice Michelle
Currently there is a planning application for Bridge lights going through Wokingham and South Oxfordshire councils. Some HRG are for and some against. To be even handed, the concerns are heritage and environment, and for, that it will boost the Town and provide a “spectacular” lighting of the Bridge.
If you wish to read more then go to the SODC Planning portal.
Wyevale Garden Centre Site – on Reading Road
The developers are going to sink 400 piles into the ground on this site for stability. We are all opposed to this as there is a danger that it pollutes the water course and if heavy engineering like this has to done, then maybe the site is unsuitable. SODC have granted permission BUT we still continue to fight.
357 Reading Rd Jubilee Park
357 Reading Road: the project to sell of the land for low cost housing and move the football club and hockey club to a new pavilion at Jubilee Park (Tesco) sports centre continues. The plan to add in a new all weather (3G) pitch is part of this too. This is an All Weather Surface for Football for AFC Henley use. Planning permission should have been granted by now but has been delayed
HTC TOWN AND COMMUNITY COMMITTEE – Chair Glen, and Vice Tony
Under the stewardship of Glen and Tony we are going to replace many of the Bins in the town with ones of larger capacity. They will be green, and Henley branded. We got fed up with the criticism of bins overflowing, so we conducted a thorough audit, had conversations with SODC and came up with a great solution. We still rely on SODC and Biffa to empty our street bins. It is their job. The bins will appear shortly.
We have reestablished the Townlands Steering Group to fight the removal of 7 Beds for short stay care at Chiltern Court on the Townlands site. Stefan and Ian are coordinating this. Further news will follow.
Kenton Theatre. HTC have agreed to a £100,000 loan to the Kenton to stabilise the finances as it was in danger of closure. This is a vital community asset. It is brilliant that a HRG run town council has the vision to help and preserve these assets of the Town. Formerly we did this for the 60’s Club, Cricket, and Rugby Clubs. We of course also give £10,000 per year to Nomad.
This is what HRG do!
HTC EVENTS COMMITTEE
Kellie is Chairing the events committee and after some criticism of our Christmas lights last year we are endeavouring to make improvements.
HTC TOWNLANDS STEERING GROUP – Chair Ian Reissman
Short Stay Beds at Townlands Site.
The TSG has met and called for the closure of these 7 beds to be deferred as there has been no consultation and minimal evidence to support the plan. It also appears that the plan includes NO Short Stay Beds in the whole of South Oxfordshire (140,000 people). This fight continues.
HTC RECREATION AND AMENITY COMMITTEE – Chair Kellie, Vice Gill
We are indebted to our parks team and Becky Walker for doing such a sterling job on our land.
Repairs to the all-weather pitch at Jubilee Park are in hand.
Footpath improvements are being made at Mill Lane Car Park.
HTC FINANCE STRATEGY & MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE – Chair Ian, Vice Rob
Finances job currently is to start to put a budget together for next year. This will be challenging as there are competing pressures. Our precept is the lowest in South Oxon at £113 per household per year.
I think it is worth repeating that. For everything that Henley Town Council does, it cost only £113 per household per year. Fantastic value for money.
Another thing that Finance does is: – The Astroturf at Jubilee Park has a life span. So, we have created a sinking fund so that we can replace it. £25,000 per year. Looking after the future.
We still have £3.5 million as capital reserves from the “Tesco” money.
NEXT FULL COUNCIL – JUST FOR INFORMATION
SOUTH OXFORDSHIRE DISTRICT
Please see the full council link above for the report.
One thing to note. The Cornerstone Venue at Didcot is subsidised to the tune of £500,000 per year, whereas no other theatre in South Oxfordshire receives a penny. We are trying to rectify this.
OXFORDSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL
See the Full Councill link above for the Report.
Major issues at the County level are: –
- A shocking SEND report for Ofsted sighting systemic failure in looking after Special needs children
- We still work towards an HGV BAN/Reduction for Henley and we now have an area working group to conduct a series of research projects.
- The removal of the 7 Beds at Chiltern Court does exercise a bit of time for Stefan and Ian to work on.
The County Council is responsible for maintaining our roads, and at last, the Pedestrian crossing at Swiss farm is open after 10 years of effort by Stefan.
Thanks to Theresa and David Palmer for sticking at this project for a long time.
This report will be written by a different councillor every 6 weeks, and we hope you will find it useful and informative.
HRG. We will always remember that we are elected by the residents to do things that are good for Henley. We support sports, culture and community. An outstanding example of this is the 60 plus club where we provide a space for the elderly in our community to socialize and have hot meals.