The town council should not have a say in the proposed sale of land at a Henley school, according to councillors.
In May, the council was approached by Gillotts School in Gillotts Lane to give its view on the potential sale of 3.4 hectares on the school’s playing field. The sale would provide funds to improve school facilities.
However, the council’s finance strategy and management committee voted on Tuesday (27) not to respond on the grounds that it could compromise the upcoming neighbourhood plan.
Councillor Will Hamilton said: “As individuals we can all chip in but to give our view as a town council is wrong.
“It’s for people to decide, it’s not up to the town council and goes against the neighbourhood plan.
“If we gave one view and the neighbourhood plan gives another which would be the most important? It’s in the current neighbourhood plan so people can respond that way.”
Councillor Elizabeth Hodgkin added: “Surely this is up to individual residents and we as a town council shouldn’t have a say in what they sell it for.”
However, Councillor Ian Reissman, who chairs the committee, felt the council has a responsibility to give a view as it represents residents.
Cllr Reissman said: “It’s absurd to say that this town council can’t have a view on this, which is very important to the town.
“Surely we should be able to have views on the extent to which land can be used. During the Olympics in 2012 we were talking about the provision of land for sport and if land was sold off that prevents that we should say ‘no, you must leave land for sport’.
“Gillotts is regarded as our school and we represent the residents who use the school. We are being asked for our view and I welcome that.”
Henley Mayor Martin Akehurst said: “I’m not happy with this. If town council opinion is required it should go through planning as an application.”
In a recorded vote, six of the seven councillors present voted to note the request from the school but not provide a response.