Henthames says there would be “no undue impact” on the existing “limited” views, there would be “little or no impact” on neighbours in terms of noise and privacy and the development would “enhance” the area.
It says the home would satisfy a growing need for care home places in the area by providing a “full range of care needs”, including for people with dementia.
Between 60 and 80 part- and full-time jobs would be created.
Henthames’ consultant Carterwood says there is “more than sufficient demand” for the home and the district council should give “significant weight” to this.
It claims that in the next two years there will be a shortfall of 354 beds within an approximate 10-mile radius of Henley.
The fitness centre was opened by jewellery magnate Gerald Ratner in 1996 as The Workshop and changed hands several times.
When the closure was announced, members protested as the gym and pool at Henley leisure centre, which are the only alternatives, are at capacity and there is a waiting list for swimming lessons.
They successfully applied for it to be listed as an asset of community value, meaning local people must be given six months to put a bid together if the property is put up for sale. Henley town councillor Sam Evans, who is helping the campaigners, says three people from the Henley area have expressed an interest in running it as a gym.
She says one individual, who doesn’t want to be named, wants to buy the freehold of the site and two others would like to lease it.
This week Councillor Evans said: “Henthames have more or less told us that they’re willing to take this all the way to appeal if they have to, so it looks like they’ve got very little interest in running it as a gym and leisure centre.
“We were hopeful that they’d be open to reconsidering when they realised we had some very serious business proposals on the table but, sadly, they aren’t.
“We will have to pursue the planning route on this while the bidders continue to put their arguments Â forward.
“We know this won’t be resolved quickly but we haven’t lost the battle yet.”
Henley Town Council has still to comment on the plans but will be invited to do so before the district council makes its decision in January.
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