The owners of the Red Lion Hotel, MG Hotels Group have applied for an outline planning application to change the use to a residential institution (Class C2).
Use Class C2 (residential institutions) relates to residential care homes, hospitals, nursing homes, boarding schools, residential colleges and training centres. This use class also has a sub category C2A for ‘secure residential institutions’ including prisons, detention centres, custody centre, secure hospital or secure local authority accommodation.
The hotel was put up for sale last month for £7.5 million through Knight Frank. The hotel closed in March due to Covid-19 and is currently housing homeless people from South Oxfordshire and Windsor & Maidenhead.
The Henley Town Council Planning Committee reviewed this application this week and recommended refusal on the grounds that the hotel is an important historic Grade II listed building dating back to 16th century which is in a prominent position on entering the town and is a key accommodation provider for visitors. It also conflicts with historic environment and safeguarding community facilities policies in the Local Plan.
Councillor Hamilton said, “This is in a prime position and should stay as a hotel for people to come and stay at in the future.” Councillor Crook added, “It should be protected and kept as vital place for tourists to come and stay and a care home would not be good or practical.”
SODC will make the final decision by July 31. To comment on the application before 10 July go to http://www.southoxon.gov.uk/