Thursday, 26 November 2020

Council still unhappy with care home plans

PLANS to convert a former Henley gym into an 80-bed care home have been opposed by

PLANS to convert a former Henley gym into an 80-bed care home have been opposed by the town council for a second time.

Developer Henthames has revised its proposal for the former LA Fitness premises in Newtown Road following a complaint by Network Rail, which says the scheme would encroach on its land.

Members of the council’s planning committee voted to maintain their objection, saying the changes had not addressed the concerns.

Network Rail claims a proposed new entrance from Mill Lane would prevent any alteration of the road gradient so the nearby railway bridge could not be lifted in readiness for electrification work.

Councillors were also concerned that an increase in traffic on Mill Lane would cause congestion and put pedestrians at risk. Deputy Mayor Julian Brookes said: “Network Rail’s objection is critical because the branch line must be electrified. We must resist anything that threatens it.”

Councillor Sam Evans said: “It’s a no-brainer for that reason but also because Mill Lane shouldn’t be an access road for anything other than the few houses down at the far end.

“It’s narrow and practically impassable in certain areas. Directing visitors down there is a ridiculous idea — you might as well hold a Grand Prix.”

Hundreds of residents have objected to the scheme, either by signing a petition or writing directly to South Oxfordshire District Council, which will decide the application.

Several people have said they would be willing to re-open the premises as a gym, either by leasing it or buying the freehold.

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