A campaign to oppose the Premier Inn planning application launched at the station on Sunday afternoon. Local residents, many from Wyndale Close (which the proposed hotel would overlook), are calling upon Henley residents to have their say and stand against the planning application.
Premier Inn originally submitted a planning application in July 2021, with amended plans submitted in February 2022. The application – which proposes a 115 bedroom, five-storey hotel to be built on the station car park – was rejected by South Oxfordshire District Council in August last year. Henley Town Council also recommended refusal and there were 80+ comments online objecting to the plans, but the company appealed the decision earlier this month.
Wyndale Close residents have joined together with the Henley Society to campaign against the planning application. The group have printed banners to raise awareness of the application, and have also distributed 5,000 leaflets locally asking people to lodge their objections with the inspector. Henley residents can give their views on the appeal until 5 April, with the appeal hearing set for 10 May.
The Henley Society ran a poll amongst their members last week, asking their opinions on the proposed Premier Inn. 34% of the Society’s 608 members voted, with 64% stating that no hotel should be built, and 32% opting that it should be smaller, in a different location, and in keeping with Henley’s architectural heritage. Only 4% were in favour of the current planning application.
At the campaign launch on Sunday, Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak (Henley Town Council, South Oxfordshire District Council, and Oxfordshire County Council) said, “Henley Town Council turned down this planning application and the District County Council turned it down, thanks to Councillor Arlett. It’s an absolute huge monstrosity that should not be built. It’s too big, too large, and most importantly, would mean the loss of (I estimate) 140 parking spaces on the site. If you factor in the 115 rooms, so 115 parking spaces plus staff parking spaces, and a lot of people from the offices around here park here as well. It would be a huge loss and it should not happen.”
Gill Dodds, who recently moved to Wyndale Close, helped to organise the campaign. She said, “The objections are on mass, bulk, design. They’re going to lose a huge amount of parking, and the coach parking as well. Nobody is against a hotel in Henley, but not of this size, height, bulk, mass. Hopefully we’ve got a lot of support to fight it. The fact that the District have opposed it and are prepared to go to appeal is a strong statement, because they don’t take things that far unless they feel they have got a strong case.”
Residents can give their views on the appeal until 5 April at Reference: APP/Q3115/W/22/3313757 (planninginspectorate.gov.uk). Residents can also attend the appeal hearing, which will take place on 10 May at the Rugby Club.