Saturday, 13 August 2022

Survey on future of gym site

Survey on future of gym site

RESIDENTS of Henley are being asked what they think should happen to the site of the former LA Fitness gym.

The Keep Henley Active pressure group will be gathering people’s views in Market Place tomorrow (Saturday) from 10am to noon.

The group is still fighting a plan to build an 80-bed care home on the site, even though this has already been given planning permission by South Oxfordshire District Council.

It is also considering making a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman over the council’s handling of Henthames’ planning application, which was approved in October.

The Ombudsman cannot overturn the decision but could force the council to review its procedures if it finds them to be flawed.

The group also hopes to find a new buyer for the site off Newtown Road as Henthames put it on the market in February.

Because the land has been designated an asset of community value and the town council has registered an interest in buying it, the community now has until August 15 to put a bid together.

The town council is unlikely to buy the site but it has delayed the deadline for when the site can be sold on the open market.

Keep Henley Active says at least two operators are likely to make offers.

Founder Michelle Thomas said: “We thought it would strengthen our hand if we had as many people’s views as possible. We want to gauge opinion locally — for example, do people support a complaint or do they think we should move on?

“This ties into so many issues affecting the town. Even if you’re not concerned by the loss of a sports facility, it’s also the loss of potential employment or residential land so we would urge as many people as possible to have a chat with us.”

Henthames’ applied to demolish the complex and replace it with a three-storey block with a main entrance off Mill Lane, service entrance off Newtown Road and 33 parking spaces.

The company has not said why it wants to sell the site.

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