Saturday, 13 August 2022

Conservation and comment

THE Henley Society was founded in 1961 as an ad-hoc protest group to prevent the Catherine Wheel pub in Hart Street from being demolished and replaced with a Sixties-style shopping parade.

Its remit later expanded to include four key issues:

l The conservation and enhancement of the town, its waterfront and its setting.

l The preservation of the town’s historical centre, its approaches and trees.

l Maintaining an appropriate balance between housing and the provision of employment, shopping and leisure facilities.

l The relief of traffic congestion with better car parking facilities and improved bus and train services as well as scrutinising planning applications and giving feedback to Henley Town Council and providing input on any schemes proposed by Oxfordshire County Council which affect the town’s roads.

It also reviews proposed revisions to South Oxfordshire District Council’s local plan. The society is particularly concerned with preserving listed buildings and those within the Henley conservation area and encourages “high standards of design and construction for all new buildings and those being restored”.

Many of its members are experts in architecture, surveying and other professions that involve planning.

The society regularly liaises with the Henley Business Partnership, the River Thames Society and the Henley Archaeological and Historical Group.

It says: “The society regularly brings its influence to bear on difficult and controversial applications. This is not to say that it has no time for modernising or merely wants Henley to be submerged in aspic — quite the contrary.

“While the best of the past matters, it is also necessary to incorporate the best of the future. Our watchwords are to maintain the very best of Henley for posterity and ensure that the highest and most sensitive standards are applied to future developments.”

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