Results from the public consultation on selling off the land at 353-357 Reading Road (next to Tesco) and to use the money to build a new clubhouse for Henley Hockey Club and AFC Henley, a new 3G sports pitch and a Town Council parks depot have been published with the majority of responses (83%) being positive.
The land and buildings currently house the clubhouse for Henley Hockey Club, changing rooms for use by people renting the Astroturf pitch on Jubilee Park, the clubhouse and changing rooms for AFC Henley, No Limits gym and a workshop and storage yard for the Council’s Parks Services team. All the occupiers lease the premises from the Council but the facilities are outdated and are in need of replacement.
The site was identified in the Joint Neighbourhood Plan for 30 homes. The proposed plan shows a provision of 35 new apartments to include 40% affordable homes plus 2 retail units. The plans can be download here.
Only 132 people completed the survey via an online and paper survey, 95 of which were from Henley postcodes. Many respondents from outside of Henley were long-term members of the hockey or football clubs. The survey asked for people’s attitude towards the proposal, their suggestions, the uses they may have for the community function space and ideas for a new Park Services depot location.
Individuals supported the project due to the benefits it will bring to the community, the health opportunities it will provide, offering more housing and upgrading the sports facilities that Henley offers for young and old. Community integration and involving all ages in sports and social events was emphasised.
Opposition to the proposal focused on the lack of affordable housing and the unaffordability of the housing proposed in the project, the financial outlay and increased pressure on Henley’s infrastructure from over-development. Suggestions to improve the proposal included ensuring that green spaces are protected, creating view areas, ensuring that the proposal serves the whole community and removing the retail unitis from the project. The division of space into two separate club areas was criticised and it was questioned whether two floors were needed instead of just one. Some responses stated that the proposal involved too much money being spent on one project.
A meeting of the Town Council Working Group and TA Fisher is now planned to discuss the contract and to seek legal advice.