Henley Town Council Unveils 5 Year Strategic Plan

Henley Town Council unanimously approved its 5-year strategic plan during this week’s Full Council Meeting on Tuesday evening.

The strategic plan serves as a roadmap, guiding the council’s actions and decisions over the coming years. The plan includes a list of objectives, with each assigned to relevant committees and officers for implementation.

The strategic plan is structured around five key pillars: developing vibrance, improving facilities, environmental care, building strengths, and partnerships.

At its core lies the commitment to developing a vibrant town that caters to residents’ needs, attracts visitors, and supports local businesses. Initiatives outlined in this pillar include a tourism strategy, more frequent street cleaning and litter removal, and an improved bus service.

Under the facilities pillar, the plan addresses a new adventure playground at Mill Meadows (along with a refreshed toddler playground), a new 3G artificial pitch at Jubilee Park, along with general maintenance and improvements for a number of town council-owned buildings and facilities.

Environmental sustainability features prominently in the plan, with initiatives aimed at preserving Henley’s natural beauty and promoting eco-friendly practices. Efforts to combat the climate emergency, achieve Bee Friendly and bathing water statuses, and promote renewable energy generation are all part of the 5 year strategy. This follows on from Henley Town Council’s pledge to achieve net zero by 2030.

Improving community facilities emerges as another focal point, with plans to enhance recreational opportunities, maintain essential communityassets including the replacing of the Town Hall roof and windows (costing £1m+), and support local sports clubs. The council aims to revitalise parks, playgrounds, and sports facilities to promote an active and healthy lifestyle among residents.

Financial sustainability and good governance are also outlined in the strategic plan. The council seeks to achieve gold standard recognition in governance, maintain financial stability, and maximise revenue streams while delivering essential services to the community.

Finally, the plan details how the council intends to collaborate with other local authorities and organisations. Plans include a transport strategy, with a focus on improved air quality, a campaign for a restriction on HGV through-traffic in the town, a greater supply of social rental housing in the town, and a reduction in the number of vacant retail units.

During the council meeting, Councillor Eggleton noted the lack of mention of potholes in the plan, along with hedgerow and drain maintenance. Although these are not the responsibility of Henley Town Council, he suggested that the council put pressure on the relevant authorities to prevent potential accidents.

Councillor Hoskins also expressed concern about the net-zero by 2030 target, stating that his understanding of net-zero includes supply chains, making it difficult to achieve within the timeframe.

Councillor Gawrysiak emphasised that the plan will continue to evolve, and suggested an annual audit to assess what has been achieved in order to keep people accountable.

Henley residents are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the complete strategic plan, which will be available for review on the council’s website or you can see at the end of the Full Council agenda here

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