South Ward By-Election – 14th June 2018

Introducing our outstanding HRG candidate Michelle Thomas:

She is an experienced business woman and has proved herself as a tireless campaigner. But Michelle can speak for herself…

“I have lived in Henley for 13 years and have 2 children who attend Trinity and Gillotts schools. As well as living in Henley, I work in Henley for the Leander Club. My husband David works in the pharmaceutical industry and locally is a volunteer coach for AFC Henley.

I am energetic in supporting our community. I am the co-founder of Keep Henley Active, which brought the town together to fight the landlords and SODC planners to save the former LA Fitness site from being turned into an 80-bed care home. 1,300 residents of the town signed the petition.

Singlehandedly, I wrote and submitted the application to “Call the application in” to the Secretary of State. The entire campaign took over 2 years to fight and is still ongoing as I currently have an application in progress with a Planning Inspector to force the County Council to decide the application on the footpath linking Newtown Road with Mill Lane.

During my time with KHA, it became clear that I needed to understand planning policy at town, local and national levels – the Henley and Harpsden Neighbourhood Plan, the Local (retained) Plan, the Local Emerging Plan and the National Planning Policy Framework and how to apply this to planning applications were all studied. I gained a huge amount of experience and knowledge from these campaigns which I now want to put to good use as a Councillor of Henley Town Council.

I am passionate that Henley has the right facilities and services to meet the needs of all its residents. My three main priorities are to:

  • improve the scope of amenities in Henley, including local footpaths, cycle paths and sporting facilities, and I want to explore the opportunity to restore previous facilities such as the town’s historic wild swimming venue;
  • Ensure a greater diversity in the town’s housing, commercial, retail and leisure mix; 
  • Improve Henley’s infrastructure – school places and doctors’ surgeries to meet the needs of all the residents of Henley.

As a mother with school age children, I am particularly concerned that our local schools and college receive the correct education budgets to meet the needs of Henley’s children. We are at risk of endangering their future if we do not ensure adequate funding for their education.

In addition, I recognise Henley is a town in a state of change, and we have much work to do to deliver the right kind of affordable housing and new ways of tackling pollution.

I have long been a supporter of HRG, because I believe it delivers what it promises, and have been a volunteer member of HRG’s executive committee for the past year.  I am looking forward to tackling issues, working for the town and residents, and would be truly honoured to be a Councillor.”