HRG announces its team for the District Council
HRG has chosen an experienced team to fight in South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) elections on 2nd May, comprising three Councillors, all former Henley Mayors – Stefan Gawrysiak (a current District Councillor), Ken Arlett (a former District Councillor) and Kellie Hinton (proclaimed national Young Councillor of the Year in 2017). In all, they represent over 40 years’ experience as Councillors at different levels.
Stefan comments on the strength of the team “Whilst I have been successful in achieving many of my objectives in the SODC, having this team on SODC means we will have a strong voice, communicating the same message, able to ensure Henley’s needs are properly taken into account at District level. Combined our whole is greater than the sum of our parts.”
The past 12 years have shown little or no opposition to the Conservative-led SODC, resulting in cuts in funding on the Henley’s Tourism Information Centre, and its Town Centre Manager, One Stop Shop, PCSO’s, Air Quality Improvements and Car Parking. Sadly, this list will go on and on with SODC setting a budget with a £2 million deficit this year. Further cuts are inevitable, and it is important Henley’s voice and needs are heard.
Ken comments “with my previous experience in SODC and now chairing the Town’s Planning and Neighbourhood Plan Committees, it is time to be involved with SODC once more – they have planning authority for Henley and we need to ensure our concerns are met for the future, which can only be good for Henley.” He is also concerned over the grants process – “some years ago its budget was £1.5 million, but this year, its budget is only £500,000. Henley’s clubs and societies are dependent on these grants and we need to voice their needs.”
Kellie comments “with Ken and Stefan, my colleagues for years, we make a good team. With their experience and knowledge and my youth and enthusiasm, we will be a force to be reckoned with.” Her council interests and experience are primarily based around recreation and amenities. She says, “I want to ensure we have a strong SODC voice fighting for our open and green spaces, air quality, conservation, waste collection, litter management and our sustainability as a town and as a district”. She also feels strongly that “having a team of three independent HRG councillors, will stop what has been evidenced by SODC Conservatives as towing the party line”.
The leader of HRG, Gill Dodds states “this team brings together the younger and older generations – delivering energy, enthusiasm and those little grey cells – a perfect combination for Henley, and probably the strongest we have ever put forward. They will help stem the upheaval taking place at SODC. Stefan, Ken and Kellie have all shown their passion for Henley and the needs of its residents. HRG’s executive committee is 100% confident they will work for the interests of the town and the district rather than for political reasons.”