Sunday, 24 June 2018

Club axes plan for members’ fitness centre

PLANS for a new health and fitness centre at Phyllis Court Club in Henley have been shelved.

PLANS for a new health and fitness centre at Phyllis Court Club in Henley have been shelved.

The private members’ club’s ruling council unanimously withdrew its support for the project, saying it was not viable.

Planning permission had been granted for the two- storey complex with a gym and swimming pool despite objections from neighbours.

The club said the development was necessary to secure its future and retain members.

But in a statement issued to members on Tuesday, it said: “It was stated at the open meeting that council would recommend the project to members only if the council members were completely satisfied that it was financially sound.

“The details have been fully discussed and examined and council has, with regret, come to the conclusion that the case for the health club project is not viable in its current form.

“Council members appreciate that this decision will disappoint many but they would like to assure members that they will continue to look for opportunities to enhance the facilities of the club and secure its future.” Barry Hardman, the club’s chairman, told the Henley Standard: “It is very disappointing but we will continue to look at schemes that will enhance the club.

“We still have planning permission for a health club. We will look at alternatives and talk to members about what feelings. I am sure it will be a hot topic of discussion at the next few council meetings.”

The complex was to be built on the club’s existing visitor car park and tennis courts and new floodlit tennis courts were to be built next door and the car park extended.

The facilities were to include a 20m pool, sauna and steam rooms, jacuzzi, gym, aerobics suite and juice bar.

The decision will be welcomed by some of the residents of the 57 homes in Phyllis Court Drive who had objected.

They claimed the development would erode the quiet character of the cul-de-sac due to the increased traffic and noise and would give the area a more urban appearance. They also claimed that the new tennis courts would cause disturbance.

Derek Shirley, one of the objectors, said: “My initial reaction is one of enormous relief — shared, I am sure, by all the residents of Thames and Connaught Houses on the north side of Phyllis Court Drive.”

Henley Town Council had recommended the plans for approval and the club’s application was approved by South Oxfordshire District Council.

This is the club’s second such plan not to go ahead in recent years. In February 2011, plans for a £7 million leisure complex in the grounds were shelved after negotiations between the club and Nirvana Spa and Leisure, which would have run the complex, broke down.

The plan was to provide a 99-year lease worth more than £40,000 a year for an unused piece of land on the east side of the visitor car park for Nirvana to build the centre.

The club said its long-term future was “dependent on developing and expanding the offering and value for money for members”.

• What do you think? Write to: Letters, Henley Standard, Caxton House, 1 Station Road, Henley, RG9 1AD or email

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