Tuesday, 02 March 2021

Henley Society

ABOUT a quarter of members have contributed comments on the proposed Premier Inn development at Henley station car park.

All this information will enable the committee to formulate its response to the planning application when it is submitted.

We continue to keep in close contact with hotelier Grace Leo, who acquired the Red Lion Hotel in October.

Since then she has been making rapid progress with plans for the refurbishment of one of Henley’s best-loved properties. She is hoping to re-open the doors of what will become the Relais Henley this summer.

We continue to monitor three matters of concern to us, namely the provision of solar-powered litter bins, the Friday Street slipway and the repairs to the railings adjacent to St Mary’s Church.

Committee member Julian Brookes continues his sterling work in response to the Government’s White Papers on changes to planning procedures.

While we acknowledge that the present system is not faultless, it does deliver “consents” and if the Government enforced the build of all permissions granted to date and concentrated on getting empty homes occupied, it would be a better use of their time.

It is estimated that there are 300,000 empty homes in the UK and one million sites with planning consent that have not been developed.

The Government has a target to build 300,000 new homes each year. Getting those schemes built and homes occupied would give them four years’ worth of homes at a stroke.

Our planning committee under the chairmanship of David Whitehead is busier than ever.

The last two Henley Town Council meetings brought forth a record number of applications. which we review and comment upon.

Thank you to those who volunteered for car park attendant duties at the covid-19 vaccination clinics at the GP surgeries.

Members are invited to the next Bell Surgery health talk on Tuesday, March 2 at 6pm. The speakers will be Hilary Arthur, Peter Powell and Amanda Cofek, from Riverside Counselling, who will talk about mental health.

If you wish to attend, please apply for a place by emailing Janet Waters at jwatersassociates@btinternet.
com and she will send you joining instructions a few days before the event.

Our next talk will be on Wednesday, March 10 at 7pm, when Michael Redley will speak on “Aldermen and mayors: the municipal life of Henley before the First World War”.

Henley as it is today existed in its essence by the time of the First World War. The town council of Victorian and Edwardian times, which was first elected in 1883, built well.

A century later we still live largely within geographical limits and ideas about the town which they pioneered.

Who were the first citizens of those days, now largely forgotten? Twenty individuals had been mayor of the town by 1914. What were their backgrounds and occupations? What were some of the main issues in the politics of the town in those days and how were its institutions and physical fabric shaped by the beliefs and attitudes of those “founding fathers”?

Mr Redley lives in Henley and is a member of the society. He is an historian who teaches at the Department for Continuing Education at Rewley House in Oxford.

During the lockdowns of the last year, he has focused his research on his home town and delivered talks on various aspects of Victorian and Edwardian Henley to the Henley Archaeology and History Group and the Oxfordshire Architectural and Historical Society.

The talk is open to non-members. If you are interested in attending, email chairman@thehenleysociety.
org with “Redley ticket” in the subject box,

Our annual meeting will take place on Friday, April 16 at 7pm and will almost certainly be online using Zoom.

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