Reporting on Events In and Around Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire, England Previous Editions
Edition 254 - 20th August 2010
Warwickshire Village Competitions Winner 2007 & Gold 2009
Fortnightly on Thursdays
TOWN MEETINGSPECIAL EDITION
Democracy Rules - OK!
Cllr Perry unsuccessfully challenges appointment of chairman
David Cameron would have been pleased! A prime example of his “Big Society” agenda in action – and in Henley-in-Arden! The Town Meeting of 200 residents on Tuesday evening in the Memorial Hall was a first class example of the democratic process freed from the shackles of political oversight.
Cllr Haycock proposed alternative chairman
The purpose of the meeting was to provide a platform for the townspeople to express their concerns over the proposed development of the market site in the town. A neutral chairman had been appointed who had extensive experience of running and managing meetings, and it was hoped that this would encourage people to speak openly and freely. The early challenge to his chairmanship by the politicians present was rejected by 160 votes to only 21 for veteran Cllr Atkinson from Wootton Wawen (Cons, Tanworth-in-Arden), by those in the hall who showed quite clearly that they wanted their views to be received and consolidated in a neutral forum, and not strained through the usual political sieve. They did not want a chairman who “Knew Henley”, with all the local baggage that implied. The people at the meeting “Knew Henley”; that is precisely why they were there, and would bring forward their views from a deep understanding of the impact that the proposed development would have on the town. This is what democracy is all about.
There was no shortage of views put forward, ranging from the density of the proposed housing to the need for a supermarket, and the effects of increased traffic flow. During the discussion it was suggested that as any planning decision would be taken purely on planning rules the views put forward were not relevant. However this misses the point. The density of housing, together with their height, the inclusion of a supermarket and the provision of parking for the residents of the cottages in Warwick Road are all matters which could be taken into account by the developers in finalising their planning application. It is important that they know of the residents’ concerns! Questions of flooding and traffic are matters for the relevant agencies, and if they raise no objection planners would have to accept that; although there is still room to question the assumptions and models that were used by the agencies.
When it was suggested that a group should be formed to consolidate and forward the proposals of the meeting to the various agencies and authorities it was rather aggressively announced that we already have a “group” in the shape of the Joint Parish Council. True! What a shame that they decided not to attend, to hear the concerns of their electors, answer any questions, and generally help in the discussion. Their non-attendance only reinforces the growing view in the town that the JPC is becoming increasingly remote from the people, and is not interested in their electors’ views on matters which some members of the JPC appear to believe belong solely to themselves.
This video provides confirmation of the votes cast for Cllr Atkinson - only 21
Lucy Lunt outlines her vision for the development
John Stott, Chairman of the Henley Society,
The packed hall listens to veteran Cllr Atkinson from Wootton Wawen accusing the meeting of being negative.
Ray Holding, Former High Bailiff, writes
Following last night's meeting, my thanks to the organisers and sponsors and particularly many thanks to Mike Willmott, who steered us through the minefield with a sure hand.
Contrary to what was implied by the extraordinary opening proposal from Cllr Perry, I viewed it as highly desirable that the chair of such a meeting should be absolutely neutral and not part of any of the existing cabals. The Councils - County, District and Parish - did not convene this public meeting, nor did they have very much to bring to it apart from some "we know best" trumpeting.
I think the resolutions finally agreed were absolutely right for the route ahead. I write as someone who has lived within 100 yards of the site in question for 38 years and on a practical level I would make the following observations, based on what was presented earlier at the Baptists Hall:
The proposed supermarket/convenience store should be wholly deleted from the plan without proviso. The two existing such stores do their best and are well supported: where's the case for a third, from the town's point of view?
The proposed access to the site from Warwick Road in the shadow of the traffic lights beggars belief.
The atmospheric pollution and flood risk issues, which were well presented and received no useful response from the Environment Agency speaker, are significant. As documented by the District Council's wider review, lower Henley's air quality issues are serious and relate directly to traffic volume. As to flooding, the records at the Heritage Centre show five serious floods in 150 years: that's 1 in 30, not 1 in 100 years.
There must be a planning gain for the town - modest additional parking being the opportunity - or are we only to be concerned about the aims of the developer and the retailer?
I personally will be sorry to see the market pass, chaotic though it and its surroundings become on an average Wednesday. I suppose it is inevitable that Henley will continue to morph from working town to high density dormitory - with the attendant increase in traffic which that brings. In 1999, when the Parish Appraisal was done, of the 1,000 jobs (then) in Henley 700 were taken by people commuting in. And, conversely, 700 of Henley's 1,000 working residents worked elsewhere. This is all the result of unjoined thinking by planners, designed to aid the sales of petrol!
Ray Holding Trustee and Curator, Henley Heritage Centre Chairman, Parish Appraisal 1999 High Bailiff 2006-2008
Henley Society has concerns
John Stott, the chairman of the Beaudesert and Henley Society, told the meeting:
As well as providing interesting talks and other events, one of the aims of Henley & Beaudesert Society is to safeguard the character of the town and the surrounding area, so it is natural that we take an interest in a major proposal such as the development of the market site. Indeed, we did so in 2007 when the previous very high density proposal was put forward.
Our general position is that, whilst it is a shame to lose the market, we can do nothing about that. As far as we can see, the site is going to be developed and, this being the case, we support reasonable development of the site. What we would not support is any development that damages Henley in Arden and/or introduces additional safety risks; for example, from traffic movements and flooding.
With this in mind, the committee made it its business to view the plans provided by the developers in July. Following this, comments were compiled and a statement representing the unanimous view of the committee was put together and sent to the developers.
Comments on the Proposal The statement we sent to the developers covered various issues, but can be summarised in two points:-
Firstly, too many houses.
Secondly, the undesirability of a fairly large retail unit, that represents a threat to the viability of the town centre, a source of avoidable congestion and a risk to the pupils at the school.
Retail unit We realise that the retail unit would be convenient for residents at the southern end of the town, but we have to look at the wider picture and see the possibility of shops in the town centre closing down as a result of loss of trade. This would damage the town centre, so we are opposed to the large retail unit. We are opposed to the position of the retail unit beside the Warwick Rd, because it will cause congestion through people parking on the Warwick Rd., whether or not parking restrictions apply. We also see a risk of increased accidents to pupils from the school, because it would tend to draw more of them out of the school. Generally, we do not see a need for the retail unit, but if retail is to be included, it should be smaller than proposed and embedded within the development rather than on the Warwick Rd.
Traffic The proposers say that their plan to have 48 dwellings will lead to an 8 to 10% increase in traffic. Because of the already existing congestion, we consider this unacceptable. A much smaller number of dwellings would obviously lead to a much smaller increase in traffic, which would probably be tolerable.
Parking Regarding parking within the development, our view was that there was insufficient for the 48 dwellings and that the proposal did nothing to alleviate existing parking issues for properties at the southern end of High St, and Warwick Rd.
Style Regarding the style of the proposed development, we felt that inclusion of three storey dwellings was out of keeping with adjacent properties.
Solution Notice that the last three issues, namely the unacceptable increase in traffic, insufficient parking and the inclusion of three storey buildings all arise from putting too many houses on the site. We are back to the primary problem with the proposal i.e. too many houses. The Stratford on Avon local plan 1996 to 2011 calls for 20 /25 houses. ‘The Beaudesert & Henley Housing needs survey 2006’ calls for 19 houses. All pressure should be put on the developers to stick to these clearly defined and documented requirements. If the developers’ formal planning application has more than 25 houses, we urge you all to object formally and remind the planners of what is down in black and white.
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Sue Osborne writes
I attended Tuesday's Town Meeting about the development of the market site, and
would like to congratulate the chairman and organisers for enabling the residents to express their concerns, and offer their suggestions for improvements to the proposed plans, in such
an orderly and positive way.
It was unfortunate that, towards the end of the meeting, there were a few negative comments, and in particular, one about the Joint Parish Council. I understood,
from the chairman's introduction, that he intends to take all the proposals from this meeting to the Joint Parish Council, and, hopefully, work with them to incorporate the wishes of
the residents in the representations to the developers.
I also hope that the comment I heard, about letting gypsies onto the site, was made in jest.
I look forward to reading the meeting chairman's report, and wish him well in his discussions.
Follow up Action by Meeting Chairman
Mike Willmott, the elected chairman for the meeting, told the assembled residents of his intentions following the meeting. Mr Willmott said:
After tonight’s meeting it will be my intention to write a report from the minutes, incorporating all the comments and suggestions heard this evening. It will be sent to all interested parties and will be published in full on Henley News Online. Most importantly, I will take this report to separate meetings with both the developers and the planning department of Stratford District Council. Hopefully, by persuasion rather than confrontation, we can have the plans altered to be in line with the wishes of the residents.
The report will also be delivered to the next meeting of our Joint Parish Council on Wednesday 25th August in the 3 minute public forum at the commencement of the meeting.
On 2nd August 2010, 33 Henley Parish electors wrote to the Chairman of the Joint Parish Council requesting that he convenes a parish meeting. Cllr Goodman told the Stratford Herald that he would seek advice regarding the validity of using the parish poll system in this way. Under the 1972 Local Government Act, six or more parishioners who must all be on the electoral roll for the parish can convene a parish meeting to consider any business, which is a matter of concern to the parish and seven clear days notice must be given for such a meeting. There is no requirement under the Act for the parishioners to ask for the permission of the Parish Council to hold a parish meeting.
A parish meeting is the only way the residents can discuss matters with the JPC. At the regular meetings of the JPC, there is a public forum before the meeting commences when residents can make a 3 minute statement but there is no response from the JPC and no discussion.
The purpose of the requested Henley parish meeting is for the JPC to tell residents the JPC’s position following the recent exhibition and for the residents to advise the JPC of the residents’ concerns. It will also be an opportunity for the Chairman of the JPC, who, according to the developers has already had a meeting with the developers, to report on his meeting. I hope you will all be able to attend this important meeting. If the chairman declines to hold this parish meeting, this will be a violation of the 1972 Act.
Action Group to be formed
IMPORTANT NEXT STEPS.
If the success of the Town Meeting is to bear fruit then it is essential that the Action Group formed at the end meets soon and “hits the ground running”. It needs to provide the urgent support that the 200 or so people at the meeting and others require to carry the campaign to the Property Developers in the first place and later when the plans are submitted to the District Council to the Planning Committee.
Residents approached the chairman after the meeting to sign up and he now has a list of over 10 names. It’s not too late to add your experience and skills to this Action Group. Email the Action Group in the first place. There will be a meeting of this group within the next ten days.
Individually each resident is the town’s most effective weapon; with each concerned resident having the information to represent the town’s case in personal letters written in the first place to those who are amending the plans at the moment. If you want this support make sure your name and e-mail/address/tel no. is on the central register. This is the list you added to at the meeting. Contact us now.
Congratulations to everyone involved and special thanks to Mike Willmott, Gerrie Bruce and Ian and John on the sound system who were instrumental in making the meeting a resounding success.
Letter to Editor of "Stratford Herald'
Whilst I appreciate how difficult it is for a reporter to make notes of every aspect of a public meeting I am most concerned to note a serious inaccuracy in your report on the Henley in Arden Town Meeting, held on 17 August 2010 to discuss the proposals, publicised by Taylor Wimpey, for the redevelopment of the Henley Market site.
It is simply untrue to say that there was "a lot of support" for the proposition that George Atkinson be elected Chairman of the meeting. In fact there were boos and jeers at the proposition and, when the proposition was put to a vote, more than 90% of those attending the meeting voted against the proposition, which hardly signifies "a lot of support".
The meeting was conducted in a very constructive and professional manner and the only evidence of 'friction' was a suggestion by a none resident of the town that the selected chairman should be replaced. The general response at the end of the meeting was that it had been informative, constructive and well worth attending.
Whilst I appreciate that 'good news doesn't sell newspapers' I sincerely hope ,for the sake of accuracy that, in future the Stratford Herald will make a greater efforts to report the facts rather than the biased and inaccurate report you have chosen to publish in this weeks 'Herald'.
John Tristram - Henley-in-Arden
Meeting Expenses Collection
The retiring collection to assist the organisers with the costs of the meeting raised £119.00 plus one US quarter and 10 Croatian Lipa.
A donation of £20, being the surplus, has been made to the NSPCC.
HENLEY SOCIETY The Henley and Beaudesert Society are organising an historical stroll around Aston Cantlow, including St John’s church, on Thursday 19th August. Please meet at Aston Cantlow village hall by 6.15pm. This will be followed by a ploughman’s supper in the village hall. The cost including the guided walk, ploughman’s supper and a glass of wine will be £5.50. Please let Margaret Twigg (793373) know if you would like to go along.
HENLEY IN BLOOM Thanks to everyone who supported the street collection and cake stall on 10th July. This is the annual opportunity to contribute towards the flower displays throughout the town which many people have said they are enjoying. £271.00 was raised. A separate appeal by letter is sent to local businesses who usually respond generously. We are always looking for volunteers for our watering rota. Details from 794308.
ULLENHALL AUTUMN SHOW Saturday 4th September Ullenhall Village Hall. Open to everyone –all entries welcome. Homemade teas, raffle, cake stall, craft stall and demonstrations. Details from 795576 or 793248.
Details of all the local cinemas, theatres and exhibitions can be found on The Henley Town Website
HENLEY IN ARDEN TENNIS CLUB Open to members (juniors and adults) of any standard. Full time coach. 7 courts open throughout the year mean that there is always a court available. No need to book. Club and American Tournaments held during summer months. League matches summer and winter. For details of membership please contact Judith Mathias 01564 792378
HENLEY-IN-ARDEN EVERGREEN CLUB. Meetings are held on the first Wednesday of the month in the Parish Hall, Beaudesert Lane at 2.15pm. The Club has around 80 members and organises a varied programme together with various outings. If you are interested in joining please contact Gordon Trinder.
THE ROTARY CLUB of HENLEY-in-ARDEN Meets at the Golf Club on Monday evenings at 7pm. New members are always welcome.
HENLEY-IN-ARDEN FLOWER CLUB Are you interested in gardening and flowers or just spending a pleasant evening watching a demonstrator arrange foliage and flowers? We meet on the second Tuesday each month at 7.30pm in The Memorial Hall, Station Road, Henley-in-Arden so why not come along and see for yourself? Visitors are always welcome £3.00. You do not have to be an active flower arranger to enjoy watching our demonstrators but if you do feel you would like to 'have a go' we hold occasional workshops. For further information contact Secretary - Annette Walker - 01564 792837
HENLEY-IN-ARDEN ALLOTMENTS & GARDENING CLUB The Objectives of the Club are:
To maintain and develop facilities for gardening and allotment sites.
To enable members to enjoy the activity of gardening and allotments.
To enable a healthy and rewarding past time enriching people's lives.
To preserve local green spaces for the community of Henley-in-Arden.
To foster an allotment and gardening spirit.
To create synergies and alliances with other like minded organisations.
To create a network where members can communicate with each other in order to exchange ideas, exchange produce and flowers, share equipment, seek advice and help.
HENLEY-IN-ARDEN BADMINTON CLUB Meets every Friday and Sunday evening from 8pm at the Memorial Hall, Station Road, Henley-in-Arden. The season runs from mid September to end April. A warm welcome is extended to all badminton players who may be interested in joining the club. Visitors welcome. Please contact the Chairman, Alan Barber, on 01564 793320 for further details.
HENLEY CRICKET CLUB Henley Cricket Club fields two teams in the Cotswold Hills League on a Saturday and two teams in friendly fixtures on Sundays from mid-April to mid-September. We are always on the lookout for new players, irrespective of age or ability. Anyone interested in joining our club should contact Kevin O'Brien on 01564 794903.
HENLEY-in-ARDEN BOWLS CLUB meets on Monday evenings from April to September at 6.30pm and plays until it is dark. The club is situated next to the Tennis Courts at the Sports and Social club ground on the A3400 just outside Henley. The Club welcomes new members, whether beginners or established players. For further information contact John Townson 01564 792407.
JOLLYTOTS Jollytots meet every Tuesday morning during term time between 10am and 11.45am in the Church Hall on Beaudesert Lane, Henley. It is open for all under 4 year olds and costs only £1.50 which includes a drink and a biscuit. There are toys, games, arts and crafts and singing. Any questions please ring Rachel on 01564 794470.
NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH There are still vacancies in some areas of Henley-in-Arden for NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH Coordinators. If you are aware that your area is not covered or you are willing to be a coordinator, please contact Annette Walker on 792837
HENLEY-IN-ARDEN FLOWER CLUB Meetings are held on the Second Tuesday each month at 7.30 pm at the Memorial Hall. Secretary Mrs Annette Walker 01564 792837. Meeting programme
THE WARWICKSHIRE BUSINESS CLUB Holds its monthly lunchtime meeting on the third Thursday of each month from 11.30am to 2.15pm at the Henley Golf Club. There is a one hour networking session followed by a quality lunch and an informative speaker on a business topic. Full details at www.swbc.co.uk
TAI CHI in HENLEY Thursdays, 11am at the Baptist Church Hall, High Street. Age, health or fitness no barrier. £5 per session – no termly fees. For further information contact Debbie Wild on 07773 318830. Full details at: www.swantaichi.co.uk
WOOTTON WAWEN FOOTPATHS GROUP Meets the last Sunday of the month at Wootton Wawen village hall at 2.15pm for a conducted walk of about 5 miles over the local and surrounding area footpaths. The Group welcomes all walkers. There is no subscription. More details from Denis Keyte on 01564 792872.
THE PROBUS CLUB OF BEAUDESERT Meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month. Membership consists of retired professional and business men residing in the vicinity of Henley. Visitors are most welcome and for further details please contact the secretary Andrew Yarwood on 794079.
DE MONTFORT LODGE OF FREEMASONS De Montfort Lodge is the only freemasons’ lodge meeting in Henley. It was established in the town in 1930 and holds meetings in the Guild Hall. Anyone interested in freemasonry should contact John Pollard on 0121 603 8577 for further details.
WRVS LUNCH CLUB The WRVS organise a lunch club for the elderly of the district at Dell Court every Tuesday at 12.30pm at a cost of £3.10. For further details contact Christine on 01789 209210.
HENLEY-IN-ARDEN BRIDGE CLUB Plays Duplicate Bridge of intermediate standard on Tuesday evenings at the the White Swan Hotel and usually finds time for a tipple, which may or may not improve our play!! Play commences at 7.15 promptly. There are normally 5 - 8 tables and the club does not issue master points. For further information please contact the Secretary - Christine Whitehouse on 01564 792993.
HENLEY FOCUS Each month the Henley Focus contains plenty for everyone with local business advertisements, reviews and community information. The Henley Focus could be helping you to promote your business or service to local people at affordable prices and also offers a range of design services at very reasonable rates. The publication is very happy to promote community and charity events free of charge. Please call Karen on 01564 774748 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Details about tourist attractions and neighbouring villages can be found on The Henley Town Website
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