Friday, 19 August 2022

Councillors want to keep pub parking

HENLEY councillors have reaffirmed their objection to a pub’s plans to extend its beer garden.

J D Wetherspoon wants to make changes at the Catherine Wheel in Hart Street.

It plans to alter the interior layout and to expand into a parking area at the back of the listed building, removing seven bays.

The town council first raised concerns about the loss of the parking spaces in July.

Now it has refused to withdraw its objection in response to a request from South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority.

Councillors are concerned that visitors would have to park elsewhere, contributing to congestion, and that the changes would affect rubbish collections and access for emergency vehicles.

Town clerk Janet Wheeler told a meeting of the planning committee that Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, had no objection to the loss of parking spaces and the district council’s conservation officer was satisfied.

But Councillor Lorraine Hillier said the spaces were used by people staying at the pub.

“We’re talking about a hotel here,” she said. “I don’t think you can expect a hotel not to have parking.

“I thought it was absolutely essential these spaces were kept. It would be terribly difficult for people to park on that road.”

Committee chairman, Councillor Ken Arlett, said the council should maintain its objection, adding: “To take away the parking is absolutely ridiculous.”

In a design and access statement, J D Wetherspoon said there were several car parks nearby and hotel guests would be encouraged to use them. All deliveries to the pub would be made from Hart Street.

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