Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Row over Mayor’s ‘invite’ to rugby club

THE Mayor of Henley has been accused of snubbing the Henley Hawks.

THE Mayor of Henley has been accused of snubbing the Henley Hawks.

It comes after Julian Brookes did not attend the official opening of Henley Rugby Club’s refurbished clubhouse at Dry Leas last month.

The new-look building has a new kitchen and a bar extension following the £475,000 makeover and was formally opened by former New Zealand captain Sean Fitzpatrick.

The club received a £100,000 grant and a loan of the same amount from the town council as well as a £100,000 grant from South Oxfordshire District Council.

The opening was attended by town, district and county councillor David Nimmo Smith, district council chairman Paul Harrison, town councillor Helen Chandler-Wilde and town council accountant Liz Jones.

The Conservative Mayor came under fire at a Henley Town Council meeting from Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak, a member of the opposition Henley Residents’ Group and a former mayor.

Cllr Gawrysiak said it was important the Mayor attended the opening as the town council had put money into the project.

He said: “I have it on good authority that you were invited and that you suggested four names to go and when one could not go you suggested another.

“You did not suggest that the Deputy Mayor or Deputy Mayoress should attend… and they should have been invited.”

Cllr Brookes replied that he had not been invited but had been asked his opinion on who should attend.

He accused Cllr Gawrysiak of “digging”, adding: “I am not going to continue with this kind of questioning. This Mayor focuses on substantive issues in this town, such as the neighbourhood plan, affordable housing, getting the hospital rapid access care unit open and traffic.

“I did not receive an invite to the rugby club opening. If we think that certain people should have been invited then take that up with the rugby club — I do not own it, run it or manage it.”

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