Henley town plan abandoned

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Henley

Plans for Henley to become a town have hit a brick wall with the joint parish council conceding that it can take no further action to make it a reality.

Henley and Beaudesert Joint Parish Council originally proposed the idea back in 2016, to create a unified town council.

While becoming a town would not necessarily make any financial difference, it would be more fitting with Henley’s image as a market town and could potentially raise its profile.

Back in 2016 an online poll of residents was conducted in which 86% of 144 responses wished Henley to become a town council.

Last August an application for a community governance review was submitted to Stratford District Council to formally separate the joint parish council.

The step would have opened the door for parish councillors to vote to create a town council in Henley in place of the joint parish council.

However Stratford District Council rejected the request, effectively closing the door on Henley becoming a town.

Peter Crathorne chair of Henley and Beaudesert Joint Parish Council, said: “We’re very disappointed about this, but there’s really nothing the joint parish council can do about it now. We decided that we wanted Henley to become a town so we could modernise our approach and we felt a town council could better represent Henley.

“Alcester and Shipston are towns similar in size to Henley and we felt this change could help us take a more unified approach to tourism and creating a better business environment.

“We discussed whether there was any further legal action we could take to pursue this, but at this week’s meeting, we decided to take no further action.”

Explaining the reasoning for the district council’s decision in December, Cllr Stephen Thirlwell, ward member for Henley, said: “This is the second time that the Joint Parish council have requested a governance review with the view to be formally recognised as a town.

“As the report states every single household within Beaudesert and Henley-inArden has been consulted by letter, from this Council, which shows 11 residents in favour of the proposal and 25 residents objecting to the proposals. It is sad that the response was so low.”

He added that he would only be able to support such a proposal if the new council was called Beaudesert and Henley-in-Arden Town Council and that Henley Court Leet was recognised as the ceremonial arm of the town and their role was not downgraded.

Cllr Thirlwell also said it was hard for him to support a proposal which more residents rejected to than supported.