Sunday, 17 December 2017

£150,000 for tennis courts, new over-60s club and traffic study

HENLEY Town Council has agreed its budget for the next financial year.

HENLEY Town Council has agreed its budget for the next financial year.

It is setting aside £50,000 for each of three capital projects, including;

• A transport study for Henley as part of the neighbourhood plan.

• A fund towards new public tennis courts.

• A fund towards a replacement building for the Over-60s Club in Greys Road car park.



The council also agreed an £8,000 grant for the Henley Summer Fireworks charity towards its annual display on the Saturday of Henley Royal Regatta.

The precept will be £488,070, meaning that the town council’s share of council tax for a typical Band D property will remain unchanged at £87.

But car parking charges and moorings at Mill Meadows will be increased from March 9.

Parking charges will rise by 10 per cent from £7 a day to £7.70 a day during the week and from £8 to £8.80 at weekends. Mooring charges will rise by £1 to £10, which will generate an extra £2,500.

Conservative Councillor Will Hamilton said, “It started as a Henley Residents’ Group budget but thanks to the prudence of the Conservatives, I believe we have put together a budget that is right.

“It leaves us in a fairly satisfactory position in that it doesn’t leave a burden on a future council in spending too much money and we have a budget which is workable.”

Councillor Elizabeth Hodgkin (Independent) responded, “I love the word ‘prudent’. At the last meeting you suddenly put in £50,000 for the rebuilding of the Over-60s Club and £50,000 for the tennis courts. That seems rather imprudent to me.

“I am also very uneasy with £8,000 for the fireworks. We should be having a conversation with the organising committee, looking through the accounts and then it can put in a grant proposal.“ She also opposed the rise in mooring fees and parking charges, saying it would be better to increase the precept by two per cent.

Deputy Mayor Jeni Wood (Independent) said raising the car park charges was unfair on residents who used the car park during the week and Councillor Kellie Hinton (HRG) said she was against raising the mooring fees.

Councillor Pam Phillips (Independent) said she was against funding the Over-60s Club rebuild and new tennis courts and was perplexed by the fireworks grant, saying, “Residents have every opportunity to put their hands in their pockets if they so wish.”

Councillor Sam Evans (Conservative) said, “We need to focus on the fact we represent all the people of Henley, not just children and families.

“I supported the new playgrounds and the new loos and those are primarily targeted at people with children and those with families. We haven’t done a huge amount for the more mature residents of our town. I find it extraordinary that in a town of this size we don’t have a tennis facility but where they are going to go I don’t know. Let’s talk about it.”

Councillor David Nimmo Smith (Conservative) said the old tennis courts were built on after HRG came to power in 1991 but were never replaced despite a pledge that they would be.

“That was a travesty,“ he said. “I for one would use them regularly.”

Councillor Ian Reissmann (HRG), who chairs the finance committee, said the council did invite the organisers of the fireworks to talk about how they could work with the council.

He added, “It is not right for this council to donate money to an organisation so it can make charitable donations.”

He was also against setting money aside for the Over-60s Club and the tennis courts, saying, “I see no evidence of any planning or strategy.”

The budget was passed by 10 votes to five.

• What do you think? Write to; Letters, Henley Standard, Caxton House, 1 Station Road, Henley, RG9 1AD or email letters@henleystandard.co.uk

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