AN exhibition to promote the joint Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan was held at Henley town hall on Friday and Saturday, write James Burton and Helen Patchett.
About 150 people attended the event, where town councillors and staff from consultants Nexus Planning were on hand to answer questions. The exhibition featured boards summarising the plan’s key points and visitors were encouraged to fill out questionnaires.
Mayor Martin Akehurst, who attended on Friday, said: “It is vital that people engage with the plan because it will give us some level of control over Henley’s future.It will safeguard the town from uncontrolled development and allow it to grow in a more planned way, which will preserve its uniqueness.”
The plan recommends nine sites in Henley and Harpsden where up to 485 homes could be built between now and 2027. It also makes recommendations on traffic and transport, the environment, employment, social infrastructure and the local economy.
So far almost 100 people have completed questionnaires online while others have picked up printed copies at the town hall.
There will be two mobile displays in Henley this weekend where people will be able to give feedback. The first will be at Waitrose in Bell Street from 10am until 2pm on Saturday and the second will be at Tesco, off Reading Road, from 10am until 2pm on Sunday. The consultation runs until June 27. For more information, visit www.jhhnp.co.uk
Meanwhile, a public consultation on plans to build up to 825 new homes each year in South Oxfordshire began this week.
A report known as a strategic housing market assessment was commissioned to determine the county’s housing needs by 2031. It found that South Oxfordshire should take at least 725 homes annually over a 20-year period from 2011 — a total of between 14,500 and 16,500 homes.
The district council’s current core strategy calls for only 11,487 homes between 2006 and 2027, which works out at about 527 homes per year.
Henley MP John Howell has written to planning minister Nick Boles to challenge the findings and says the district council should resist pressure to increase its housing numbers.
Council leader Ann Ducker said: “We have agreed that we don’t like the numbers and methodology but, unless Nick Bowles changes anything, we have to work with it.
“It depends on what the consultation comes up with. We will want to know how the public and parish and town councils feel. We are a long way off making any decisions.”