Sunday, 22 July 2018

Council budgets for over-60s club rebuild and tennis courts

THE over-60s club in Henley is set to be rebuilt at a cost of up to £300,000.

THE over-60s club in Henley is set to be rebuilt at a cost of up to £300,000.

Town councillors plan to put aside £50,000 a year to pay for the reconstruction of the building in Greys Road car park.

The rebuild was agreed by members of the council’s finance strategy and management committee at the suggestion of Councillor David Nimmo Smith.

He said: “That building has passed its sell-by date. A more built-for-purpose building there might encourage more people like me to go and use it.”

Mayor Martin Akehurst said: “We have put a lot of upkeep into the club and to have a new building with a lower upkeep cost would be a great idea.

“I would prefer it to be on the same site because it’s central, easy to get to and has parking right outside.”

Deputy Mayor Jeni Wood said it was a good idea to have a new building but she was worried about having it in the same location.

“They may not want to be on the same site or a second site might come up which is much better for all concerned,” she said.

Councillor Lorraine Hillier added: “Ideally we would like it to stay there but if we include that in our proposal we might miss something that comes up in the neighbourhood plan.”

Last year, the council earmarked more than £13,000 for maintenance of the building. The ladies’ toilets are currently being refurbished and it is hoped to refurbish the kitchen.

Councillor Elizabeth Hodgkin said that whatever happened to the building, provision should be made for the club’s 200 members, of whom half were regulars.

The club would need a new base while the rebuild was taking place or it would lose people, she said.

The former Henley Day Centre opened in September 1971 in place of the old St John Ambulance Brigade hall after a year of fund-raising.

Councillors also agreed to save another £50,000 a year to pay for new public tennis courts in the town.

At the moment, residents have to pay if they want to play at Henley Tennis Club in Tilebarn Close.

Cllr Nimmo Smith said: “It’s been my contention that the town council should be providing public tennis courts in this town.

“The investments we have should be used for the benefit of Henley and I think that includes tennis courts.”

Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak said that with council elections in May assigning that amount of money without knowing where the courts might be built would be irresponsible.

He said: “We are saying let’s put a figure in the budget that might be used for tennis courts but we have no idea where they might be.

“If we are putting £50,000 in the budget for this year and the next and the next to build revenue then we should leave it for the next council.”

Both plans will be considered by the full council next month.

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