Executive Committee Briefing to Members | August 2022


Firstly an apology because last month’s bulletin contained a date error. Our 2023 AGM will take place  on Thursday 30th March 2023 at Shiplake Memorial Hall at 7pm (and not the 30th April as previously stated.) 

Ticket sales for our trip to Fawley Hill on September 4th have now reached 69 but those not booked have not missed the opportunity to do so. Please contact as asap if you would like to be a part of what should be a memorable afternoon. Tickets are priced at £12.50 are available from 07860 145982

Thank you to all members who visited us on the stand at the Trad Boat Fair from July 15-17. We were delighted to sign up 4 new members over the three days and sold several of our books and event tickets. Winners of our Champagne prizes were Anne Long, Luke Breen and Mark Bow and our sweet winners were Catherine Notaras and Jonathan Barter.

Our membership total in now up to 608 and this month we welcome Maria Loring, Luke Breen, & Carol and Mark Crowdy to our ranks.

The new Town Centre Manager – Laurie-Jane Cann - has been in office for some 10 weeks and the Society has already met with her twice. She has recently included the Society in her regular up-date email to Councillors for which we are very grateful. Her early focus is on improving the cleanliness of the streets and pavements in the Town Centre, and building a meaningful relationship with retailers and F & B outlets. Laurie is due to address the Executive Committee of the Society at our next meeting on September 5th and will answer our questions. So if you have a town centre topic you wish raised please let us know in good time for the meeting.

The Society -in conjunction with the River Thames Society- continue to engage with the Environment Agency over the removal of the ‘Sorbon’ pontoons from the Friday Street slipway. We understand that the EA met with Sorbon last week – the outcome of that meeting is not yet known but we remain on the case.

Our next event is on Sunday next, 7th August. Over 180 of you have signed up for Music on the Lawn starting at 1pm and in the hope that this bulletin gets to you before Sunday then we wish you all an enjoyable afternoon of good music, good food and good friendship.


Until next month…

Veronica, Karen, Sandra, Jenifer, Norah, Sandra, David, Julian & Geoff


Executive Committee Briefing to Members | July 2022


Just a reminder that we have a visit to Fawley Hill on Sunday September 4th. Tickets have sold well (thank you for your support) but there are still places available, and closing date for ticket purchases is July 31st. Please call 07860 145982 to book, or email the henleysociety@btinternet.com

The Henley on Thames Sea Cadets have a fund-raiser boat trip aboard the New Orleans arranged for Wednesday 13th July boarding at Hobbs Boatyard at 7pm and returning at 11pm. Tickets at £35 each include Music and Supper and can be obtained from Phil.fletcher@btinternet.com. The Sea Cadets would love your company

Our Membership passed the 600 level this month when Jenna Shanks signed on the dotted line. Jenna has been a Henley resident for several  years and takes a strong interest in the affairs of the town. We have also welcomed Lin Taylor, Pam Evans, Linda Ashwell, Paul Mathews  and Carol Huntington to the ranks. Welcome all! Membership now stands at 602.

Our Music on the Lawn event has sold well with over 170 ticket sales- again thank you for your support. The Henley on Thames Sea Cadets have offered parking at their Wargrave Road HQ at £10 per car with all of the occupants of that car being ferried from their base to the Remenham Club and return after the event, within that price. This offer means a relief on pressure of parking at Remenham Club and gives members the opportunity to support a local organization, and to arrive at our Anniversary event in style. The fare is payable to the Boat Captain on the day – but please let us know if you wish to take up this offer by calling 07860 145982 or emailing thehenleysociety@btinternet.com    

We have an extremely early warning of a future date for your diaries. Our 2023 Annual General Meeting will take place at 7pm on Thursday 30th March 2023 at Shiplake Memorial Hall. 

We have a number of projects underway at the moment which we hope to update you all on next month – Regatta seems to have got in the way of progress on some of these – but they are still ‘live’!!




Thank you to all members who attended the Annual General Meeting on April 22nd and to Councillor Ken Arlett for his informative talk on the Joint Henley Harpsden Neighbourhood Plan following  the business session.

Following the Annual General Meeting your elected Executive Committee Committee is-Valerie Alasia, Julian Brookes (Deputy Chairman), Veronica Carlton, Dr Jeny Copeland, Karen Grieve (Secretary), Geoff Luckett (Chairman), Sandra Moon (Treasurer), Catherine Notaras, Nora Scanlon and David Whitehead.


Members will remember that we have consistently opposed a proposal at 18 Harcourt Close to replace one dwelling with five flats, and our reasons for objecting have been well publicised in the past. The owner having had two proposals refused by SODC, went to appeal, and in the middle of April the Planning Inspector announced that he was dismissing the appeal. Originally, SODC Planning Officers were minded to recommend acceptance of the first application despite it being in contravention of several of SODC’s own planning requirements. This is another example of ‘people power, properly harnessed’ having effect.


As with most organisations the Kenton Theatre endured a troubled pandemic period. However, they are now back on stream with a full programme of exciting shows. As a Charity they now need  volunteer helpers for front of house duties, drinks serving, programme sales and also as part of the technical team. Time committed, and frequency, are entirely flexible, making volunteering with the Kenton really easy to fit into your life. If you can help please contact Simon Spearing or Lottie Pheasant at the theatre 01491 525050


We have no wish to turn this Briefing into an advertising board but the following item seems relevant to our interests. A copy of the Addison Publications Doomsday Book -Oxfordshire County Edition is available for sale. This is a limited edition (No 237 of 1000) and  is presented in a sturdy red case, quarter bound in leather, which opens out revealing three volumes (Facsimile, Translation, Studies,) two maps and a dedication to HM The Queen. It was purchased in 2002 at the time of the Golden Jubilee and is in excellent condition. It is priced at offers over £150 – if you are interested please call Helen on 01491 681724.


Members will recall that the Society has planted eight trees at the junction of Sheephouse Lane with Reading Road and in a short gathering on May 23rd members of the Executive Committee met our generous tree sponsors to commemorate the planting and to place plaques remembering the sponsors’ loved ones. The planting celebrates not only the Society’s 60th birthday but also the Queen’s Jubilee and, we hope, will make the entrance to the town from the south more appealing. Representatives of the Standard and Herald were in attendance and so we should be assured of some good press coverage.


Our next planned outing is to Fawley Hill on Sunday September 4th. Fawley Hill is the home of Lady Judy McAlpine and the late Sir William McAlpine. Once described by Country Life Magazine as ‘the most bonkers estate in Britain’, it is home to a restored Victorian railway station, a railway museum and over 20 species of animal. Full details are on the attached flier, and tickets  priced at £12.50 can be reserved by calling 07860 145982 – or emailing thehenleysociety@btinternet.com. Remember to bring your cameras!


We are invited to attend the talk sponsored by the Bell Surgery on 21st June at 6pm via the Teams platform on the future possibilities for the Royal Berkshire Hospital. Details including how to book your place on on the attached flyer.

…..Until next month


The Executive Committee


Executive Committee Briefing – May 2022
Simon Clinton, a member, and founder of Save the Wild Tigers gave us a talk on April 8th which was both fascinating and worrying at the same time.  Simon explained the work of the SWT organisation and said that it was entirely possible that the world’s population of wild tigers, (just 3,800 at present), could be wiped out by the year 2034 if action wasn’t taken to protect them.  To read about the work the organisation is doing please visit their website – www.savewildtigers.org 
Our first outing since before lockdown was to the Commandants Parade at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst on April 12.  The colourful musical event saw the ‘passing out’ of Officer students at the end of their course and was much enjoyed by 29 members and guests.  Many thanks to Committee Member Dr. Jeny Copeland for organising this successful excursion.
The Society Annual General Meeting was held on April 22nd at the Christ Church Centre and was attended by 45 members including the Mayor of Henley, Cllr. Sarah Miller.  All resolutions were passed, and draft Minutes of the meeting will be posted on the Society website as soon as they are available.  The Executive Committee were re-elected en bloc.  A very informative talk was given at the conclusion of the meeting by Cllr. Ken Arlett, Chairman of the Joint Henley/Harpsden Neighbourhood Plan Review Committee.
Tickets for our Music on the Lawn event on Sunday August 7th went on sale on Easter Sunday and are selling quickly.  To avoid disappointment please book your places early.  Tickets are currently available for Members, their families and guests, and any remaining tickets on May 31 will go on sale to the general public.  Full details on our website.
Work to restore the Phillimore Fountain, which is being sponsored jointly by Henley In Bloom, the Phillimore Charity and the Henley Society, was scheduled to begin on April 28th 
We continue to welcome new members – this month Richard Prior and Chris Hughes-Prior, and Jeanette Matelot, Brian Humphrey and Pamela Hay.   
South and Vale Neighbourhood Police are asking for residents’ feedback on neighbourhood policing, what are your concerns, how you access crime prevention information and what should their priorities be.
You can complete the short survey at:
https://www.thames valleyalert.co.uk/opiniongathering/6981c4e530d7c7488a8003e9eb55d473
Danesfield House Hotel and Spa have asked us to bring to your attention their VE Day Celebrations on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th May.  Their Press Release is attached to this briefing, and we can let interested members have full details or you can contact Danesfield direct (01628 891010) or email enquiries@danesfieldhouse.co.uk)   Among the 14 speakers (spread over two days) is Charlotte ‘Betty’ Webb MBE & Legion de h’onneur, one of the last remaining Bletchley Park ‘code breakers’ who will reveal never before told state secrets.  It could make for a very interesting weekend!
The Planning page of our website (www.thehenleysociety.org) has had an update and we have included ‘Tips on making planning comments’ to the local planning authority, the method of doing this, David Whitehead’s annual Planning Report to the AGM, and a document composed by our AGM Guest Speaker Cllr. Ken Arlett on the need for a Neighbourhood Plan and comments about the Henley Harpsden version in particular.
We have, once again, been active in the Henley Town Council Chamber and an extract from the Full Council Minutes of 22nd March are reproduced below – 
‘A representative of the Henley Society attended the meeting to highlight issues with graffiti.  
It was clarified that the Council would clear all graffiti on Town Council property; were in liaison with the Police; and would help clear graffiti from other public areas where possible.
The Henley Society also requested an update on the installation of two solar compactor bins.  It was confirmed that there was an outstanding issue as to whether South Oxfordshire District Council would empty the bins, and that once this had been confirmed the bins would be installed’
The Minutes of the Town & Community Committee of 5th April recorded that the list of sites we provided to the Town Clerk where graffiti had been spotted had been passed to a contractor in order to get a quotation for the offending ‘artwork’ to be removed professionally and a report would come back to the next meeting of the T & C Committee.  The Police had also been contacted regarding their policy for prosecuting offenders.
The discussions with SODC re bin emptying was ongoing – and progress was being made.
…….  until next month
The Executive Committee



As you have already been advised our Annual General Meeting takes place on Friday 22nd April @7pm at the Christ Church Centre, Reading Road RG9 1AG.  The Agenda and supporting documentation will be with you shortly. Please advise our Secretary Karen (grievehc@gmail.com) if you are attending so that we can cater for correct seating etc.

We still have seats left for our ‘Save the Wild Tigers’ talk on Friday 8th April in Shiplake Memorial Hall. A telephone call to 07860 145982 will reserve yours!

Similarly, we have a very small number of seats left on the coach for the Commandants Parade at RMA Sandhurst on Tuesday 12th April. Jeny on 07803 759636 has the full details.

South Oxfordshire District Council have announced that they will be increasing the charges in the car parks they operate in Henley (Greys Road, Kings Road and Southfields (off Greys Road)) and extending the charging period from 8.00-6.00pm (Monday to Saturday) from Monday 4 April.

The charging period is currently 9.00-5.00pm Monday to Saturday.

The free hour will remain in place in Greys Road and Kings Road.  The price for 2 hours will increase from £1.20 to £1.60 and 3 hours from £1.80 to £2.20.  At Southfields up to 5 hours will increase from cvbnm,./£2.40 to £3.00 and up to 8 hours £3.40 to £4.00.

Changes to the car park times and charges were only just changed in June last year.

In a statement from South Oxfordshire, it says, “In past years, motorists in the district have benefited from low parking fees. However, costs are increasing and losses have been sustained for the last two years and, if action isn’t taken, the council’s projections are that losses would continue and grow.

“South Oxfordshire District Council is introducing these changes to help ensure the car parks break even, with the aim of ensuring that car park users cover the cost of the service, rather than the council tax payer.”

Henley Society comment – the Greys Rd and Kings Road car parks have generated in excess of £750, 000 per annum for SODC in parking fees and excess charge tickets. We have previously asked the authority for a breakdown of their costs of running the car parks and they are unable to say because ‘the expenditure on car parks is lumped in with other area costs in their accounts.’ How they know that they make a loss on car parks, therefore, is difficult to understand and so we have asked them for a breakdown again.

Members will know that we all enjoy reciprocal membership with the River Thames Society who will be holding their AGM on Saturday 23rd April @10am for 10.30 in Twickenham. If you wish to attend we can let you have joining instructions and a copy of the Agenda.

New Members this month – Claire Symons, Mrs. M Romanes, Mr. & Mrs. C Laing, Mrs . C Brazier and Linda Carruthers – welcome all. Membership now at 594.

During the month members of the Committee met at the Gravel Hill Amenity area to celebrate the restoration of the Raymond Youle plaque. Mr. Youle was a Past Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer of the Society and the plaque was placed in 1969  to recognize his valuable contributions to the Society. Little is known of this gentleman and if any member has knowledge of him, or indeed of his family, the Society would be pleased to hear from you. Mr. Youle lived, with his wife, in Wharfe Lane. Excellent publicity was given to the occasion by the Henley Standard and Henley Herald.

We were approached by Simon Spearing of the Kenton Theatre to ask if we knew whether John Piper may have been the designer of their aged stage safety curtain. We can find no conclusive evidence, but if anyone has knowledge, either way,  we would be delighted to pass is on. It really is a beautiful piece of work and, of course, Piper had a long-association with the Theatre including designing sets. The theatre are minded to bring the curtain back into use  use despite it not being a legal requirement to have one any longer.





Thank you to all Members who attended our first talk of 2022 given by the Queen’s Swan Marker, David Barber. It was an extremely interesting talk on the subject of swans in general, the annual ‘upping’ event on the Thames, the type of boats used and why, and the way the QSM educates children. The talk was backed up by some excellent swan photography.

We are delighted to say that 127 tickets were sold for the talk, a record by far for the Society, and David donated his fee for the evening to the Swan Support Charity based in Datchet.


The Henley HGV Campaign has, sadly, hit a barrier with the change of Councillor in charge of affairs. Burford’s ban on through HGVs has been reversed, and Henley’s put on hold whilst Oxfordshire County Councillors debate a county-wide plan for HGV routing.

There is a consultation going on to which you are urged to contribute if you love Henley. Unfortunately the closing date is March 16th and so if you wish your opinion to be heard then you will need to respond quickly.  You can send your views to LTCP5@oxfordshire.gov.uk, with a copy to henleyhgvwatch@gmail.com please, or write to Joe Kay at Strategic Transport Lead Infrastructure, OCC, County Hall, Oxford OX1 1ND


Reminders have been sent to you, together with the method for booking tickets, for both our April talk (Save Wild Tigers) and our planned trip to RMA Sandhurst (Commandant’s Parade.) We look forward to seeing you at these events. And don’t forget to put April 22nd in your diary – the date of our 2022 AGM.


In Henley Town Council news – the new Town Centre Manager Craig Buckby resigned after less than six months in post and, we understand, his proposed ‘Henley Eye’ and Christmas Ice Rink will not now go ahead. The Mayor has withdrawn her proposal to close Market Place to traffic on a trial basis ‘until a more appropriate time’.


This month we welcome two new additions to our Planning Committee – Mrs Joan Clark and Ms Monnik Vleugels -and we look forward to working with them over the coming months and years.


Our close association with the Town Council continues and The Society has donated a lime tree to Henley Town Council to be planted in Freemans Meadow by the Parks Team.


New Members continue to join us and this month we welcome Sue and Mike Lines, Janet Middleton-Stewart (re-joining), Diana Duggan and Derek Alway, John Willis, Sue Milton, Katy Snoodyk and Steve Benham, and Cleone Augur . Welcome all!



‘The Henley Society …. The First 60 Years’ - a new book written by the current Chairman, Geoff Luckett, celebrates the Society’s 60th Anniversary and traces through the decades from the founding of the Society to present day. 

Henley has boasted many interesting and talented residents over the years and the book highlights some of the well-known personalities who have supported the work of the Society in so many ways. 

With membership at an all-time high, new initiatives and challenges facing the residents of Henley on an ongoing basis - not least of all in matters related to planning, traffic and parking - the Society is in a position to bring opinion and a voice to the notice of the powers that be in local government. 

It is interesting to note that the book demonstrates clearly how little has changed - many of the debates of the past continue today, but are now exacerbated with the growing population, the need for affordable and social housing, and ever-increasing traffic. 

The book is 72 pages, A4 and printed in full colour. Priced at £8, it can be obtained from the Society by emailing thehenleysociety@btinternet.com  or by calling 07860 145982. (Henley hand deliveries free-of-charge).


….and so we enter our 60th Anniversary year and we hope that you will participate in our celebratory events


There are a few tickets still available for this illustrated talk which will be given on Wednesday 2nd March in the Memorial Hall, Memorial Avenue, Shiplake RG9 4 at 7.15pm. Tickets are priced at £5 and can be obtained by calling 07860 145982 or via our email address thehenleysociety@btinternet.com


We make no apology for once again giving you advance notice of our AGM which will be held in the Pither Room at Christ Church Centre on April 22nd at 7pm. The Constitution requires us to give 14 days notice of such meeting, and so I think we are compliant on this occasion! Nominations for the Executive Committee are invited and must be with the Secretary by 8 th April, at which point the AGM papers will be circulated to members, by email where applicable, or by post to others.

The Henley & District Housing Trust Peartree Cottages, Rotherfield Greys

The Society has just finished its first project of 2022 - the renewal of the commemorative sign on the Peartree Cottage on behalf of the Henley & District Housing Trust.


We have scheduled another talk, for Friday April 8th, again in the Shiplake Memorial Hall at 7.15pm. Please reserve the date in your diaries and full details will be circulated very shortly.


One or two of you have asked why we have begun taking our talks to Shiplake. A word of explanation – over the past few months we have found it difficult to book suitable venues in Henley, which seem to be in huge demand. We have outgrown some of the smaller ones in the town but Shiplake Memorial Hall provides a capacity of over 100, an excellent kitchen for our use, all the facilities we need, and plenty of free parking. Cost can also be an issue as we like to keep talks overheads to a minimum and ticket prices affordable. Shiplake Memorial Hall is 2.8 miles from the centre of Henley and our first talk there on March 2nd has attracted an audience of over 90. We will, however, get back into Henley as soon as we can since we appreciate that some of our members do not like travelling, particularly in the winter months.


Our first outing for a very long time will be to RMA Sandhust for the Commandant’s Parade. This is a colourful and musical occasion, a prelude to the Sovereign’s Parade, where Sandhurst cadets go through the ‘passing out’ ceremony at the end of their training, and are presented to The Queen’s representative. Our coach will leave Barclays Bank in Hart Street at 8.45am, arriving at Sandhurst for refreshments at 9.30. The ceremony begins at 10.45 and will end at between noon and 12.30 pm when we will board the coach for the return to Henley. Tickets – priced at £33 to include the coach and entry to the parade - can be obtained from our Executive Committee Member, Dr Jeny Copeland by calling her on 07803 759636 or by emailing her at jenifercopeland@googlemail.com We hope that you can join us.  


Executive Committee Briefing – January 2022

Bridge Lights Survey

As you will remember, in December we asked Members to let us know their views on the proposal by the Make Henley Shine Group to illuminate our iconic Grade 1 Listed bridge. Thank you to all who responded, and for doing so in such a short time frame. We received 151 replies, representing 26% of our Membership. Of those respondents 123, (81%) were in favour,  23 (16% against) and a further 5 (3%) were either ambivalent, or in favour with conditions attached.  

Talk by David Barber the Queen’s Swan marker

As previously announced this illustrated talk will take place on Wednesday March 2nd at Shiplake Memorial Hall, Memorial Avenue, Shiplake RG9 4DN at 7.15pm. Tickets, at £5 each, are selling quickly and early booking is recommended. Please reserve your place by calling Geoff on 07860 145982 or by emailing thehenleysociety@btinternet.com  You are cordially invited to enjoy wine and nibbles with the Committee after the talk.

Recruiting Committee Members

The Executive Committee were delighted by the response to our 2021 membership drive, resulting as it did in a more than doubling of our membership. We feel that it is now time to recruit additional Committee members to better represent that increased membership. The Committee meets monthly, usually on a Monday in the Town Hall, and if you are minded to join us then our Secretary, Karen Grieve would be delighted to hear from you on 07990 833241 or by email at grievehc@gmail.com when she will explain more of what would be involved.

A vision for transport in Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire County Council have big ambitions for the county, set out in their new transport plan. At its heart is the delivery of a zero carbon transport network by 2040 which will be achieved by ensuring that the need to travel is reduced, and that walking, cycling, public and shared transport are the natural first choice. The Council would like your feedback on the plans – and you can tell them what you think in their survey which can be accessed  via the Oxon CC website

Who Can Help me? Social Prescribers and Clinical Pharmacists

You are invited by The HenleySonNet Primary Care Network to a Zoom talk on 25th January 2022  from 6. 00 to 7.15pm. There will be 4 speakers describing the new roles within the network. Free tickets can be obtained from jwatersassociates@btinternet.com who will advise the sign-in details

‘The Henley Society… the first 60 years’

A new book written by the Chairman and detailing the Society’s first 60 years is now in print and can be ordered by calling Geoff on 07860 145982. Copies cost £8.00 and can be delivered free-of-charge within Henley.

60th Anniversary Celebration Events

These are listed on the Events page of our website which will be updated as more are added. Please go to www.thehenleysociety.org for details and booking arrangements.

Executive Briefing to Members – December 2021

We are now pleased to give you details of our next scheduled talk…

The talk by the Queen’s Swan Marker, David Barber, will take place in the Shiplake Memorial Hall, Memorial Avenue, Shiplake Cross, RG9 4DN at 7.15pm on Wednesday 2nd March 2022. Tickets priced at £5 can be obtained by calling 07860 145982, or email us thehenleysociety@btinternet.com and they are on sale now but selling quickly. An early booking is advised if you wish to come. There is plenty of parking available on site and you are cordially invited to complimentary wine and nibbles with the Executive Committee after the talk. The Society will be making a donation to the Swan Support Charity

. ….and a further date for your diary

The Society’s AGM will take place on Friday 22nd April 2022 in the Pither Room at Christ Church Centre, Reading Road at 7pm. Full AGM paperwork will be forwarded to you in good time. This will include Minutes of last years meeting, 2021 Accounts, and Committee Nomination forms. We hope to arrange a speaker for after the formalities, and again you are invited to complimentary wine and nibbles after the meeting.

Remembrance Service in the Market Place – Sunday 14th November

The Society’s wreath was laid this year by Karen Grieve, our Secretary, in front of a crowd in excess of 1,000 (Town Hall staff say they handed out over 900 Orders of Service) gathered in Market Place. As several remarked it was gratifying to see so many younger adults, and children, in attendance

Planning Matters -- Woodland at Parkside/Pack & Prime Lane & 18 Harcourt Close

We were pleased to be informed that the Planning Inspectorate have dismissed the appeal by the owners of the Parkside/Pack & Prime Lane site against the SODC decision to refuse Planning Consent for eight homes with associated parking. This is a prime woodland site containing many TPO’d trees and is home to bats, deer and many species of birds. Once again public pressure, properly harnessed, has brought about a satisfactory result – congratulations to all who joined us in opposing this application. The site is safe from the developer’s bulldozer- at least for the time being. In a separate decision, SODC have turned down, again, the application to replace a property in Harcourt Close with a block of 5 flats which we considered, among other things, to be a total overdevelopment of the site. As pointed out in our letter to the Henley Standard, it sounds as if the Society objects to everything, but this is far from the truth. Our Planning Committee, under the Chairmanship of David Whitehead, vet around 300 planning applications each year and many of them we are able to pass through without comment. 

The Henley Society...the first 60 years 

As a part of our 60th Anniversary the Executive Committee commissioned the production of a book entitled 'The Henley Society...the first 60 years.' The book details our beginnings, many of the projects and campaigns we have been involved with and interesting facts about a number of the personalities involved with the Society over the years.  A4 and 72 pages and printed in full colour the book is an ideal 'coffee table' publication. Copies priced at £8 can be ordered by calling 07860 145982. 

The Executive Committee wish all Members a very happy and safe Christmas, a healthy and prosperous New Year, and look forward to seeing you all at our various events which will celebrate our 60th Anniversary in 2022**.

(**see the Events page on this web site)


NOVEMBER 2021 Executive Committee Briefing to Members

The October talk, given by Simon Spearing, newly appointed Manager of the Kenton Theatre  was an interesting talk attended by 55 Members and Guests who enjoyed wine and nibbles after the talk generously sponsored by Tesco Henley.

An update on our projects

  • the contract for the refurbishment of the Greys Road Car Park Lavatories has been placed by SODC and we await a start date. Sadly there are material shortages in the building industry and we might need to be patient.
  • HTC have placed the order for the refurbishment of the Phillimore Fountain which we are part-financing. We await a start date from the Contractor.
  • The Solar Compactor Bin trial, which we are financing is in hand but again a start date awaited from HTC.

Our Membership growth continues and this month we welcome Gillian Busby, Prof Simon and Dr Rebecca Chandler-Wilde, Chris Howard, Catherine Haveron and Rob Hayward. This brings our Membership total to 572.

Events -Your support for our two ‘Clements’ walks and the Alan Pontin and Simon Spearing talks encourages us to arrange further events and here are three dates for your diary. We have more plans in the pipeline and these will be confirmed in due course.

Wednesday 2nd March 2022

The Queens Swan Marker, David Barber will give an illustrated talk about the health of our swan population and what we can do to to help.

Venue and ticket price details to be announced as soon as possible

Tuesday 12th April 2022

Trip to view the Commandants Parade at Sandhurst

Full details in due course

Sunday 7th August 2022

'Music on the Lawn'

Our 60th Anniversary Main Event and full details are on the web site.



The Society was represented at the Henley Show on September 11th and the Committee are grateful to the many members who popped by to say ‘hello’. We also had visits from our Member of Parliament John Howell and Henley’s Mayor Councillor Sarah Miller. We enrolled seven new members on the day, received lots of complimentary comments, and many of the visitors to the stand took away our Membership application forms.

Just a reminder that the October talk (Simon Spearing on the Kenton Theatre) takes place on the Tuesday 19th at Christ Church Centre, Reading Road at 7:30pm – tickets are available by calling 07860 145982.  The Executive Committee hope that you will join them for a glass of wine (sponsored by Tesco Henley) after the talk.

Our web site (www.thehenleysociety.org) has been updated to carry all latest news and   should be your first port of call for what is going on within the Society.

Similarly, our Facebook presence (@henleysociety) is updated regularly with our latest news and is still proving to be the source of new member enquiries

The Alan Pontin talk on September 23rd ‘Henley’s need for new housing and how it can be sympathetically achieved’ was well received by about 60 member and guest viewers via Zoom. Thanks to Alan for giving his time to give us his thoughts on planning matters in Henley and South Oxfordshire.

This past month we have welcomed eight new members – Ann Downing, Sam Goumal, Lynne Hickey, Andrew & Elly Younie, Chris and Alex Melton and Sarah Ries-Coward and total membership now stands at 566.


The Revised and Updated Neighbourhood Plan, 2022

David Whitehead, the Society’s Chairman of Planning Sub Committee says -Now that a draft of the revised and updated Neighbourhood Plan, 2022, is out for public consultation (see website jhhnp.org.uk/consultation), we thought it would be useful to provide some background to the developments planned for Henley and Harpsden.

The numbers game


The revised NP, 2022, updates the policies of the existing NP which was adopted in 2016 and which includes plans to provide 500 new homes by 2027.   While building on some of the designated sites has been completed or is underway, other sites have not yet been started.  These unstarted sites, with the number of homes allocated, are:  Chilterns End (27), land west of Fairmile (60), Empstead Works (42), 357 Reading Road (30), Henley Youth Club (23) and Gillotts School Sports Field (50).   This total of 232 scheduled but unstarted homes is therefore carried over to the revised Plan at the same, or potentially alternative, sites.


In addition, there are various other sites, not scheduled for housing in the 2016 NP, that have been given approval within the last few years and on which construction has not yet started. These include: Thames Farm (95), the Wyevale site (40), Hallmark House (23), the Smith Centre (73), Highlands Farm additional to the NP (28) and 18 Duke Street (5).  The total in this category is a minimum of 244.


Thus, the number of homes awaiting construction and that could be started at almost any time (subject to following appropriate procedures) is at least 232 + 244 = 476, more if the unfinished allocation at Highlands Farm is included.


The South Oxfordshire Local Plan, 2011 - 2035, adopted in December 2020, specifies a further allocation to Henley, to be built between April 2020 and 2035, of 115, in addition to the 500 allocated in the first NP.  According to SODC, the 476 already-approved homes referred to above have been considered in setting the target of 115.  However, they also state that homes constructed on so-called ‘windfall’ sites (mostly infill building in existing gardens) plus those resulting from permitted development (mainly conversions of commercial or office premises), that have been approved since April 2020 can be offset against the 115.  Our records show that, as of 21 September 2021, 56 such homes have been granted permission, which reduces the number required to meet SODC’s allocation to 59. (In addition plans for 56 homes are currently under consideration.)


Now we come to the details of the Revised NP.  As mentioned, sites outstanding from the 2016 NP are included.  The only completely new sites are the extension to Highlands Farm (110) and the Chiltern Centre (3), i.e., a total of 113 against a need of 59, a surplus of 54.  At the time that the 2016 NP was under discussion, Gillotts Sports Field (50) was the least popular site to be included and, again, its inclusion in the draft of the revised NP has resulted in opposition.  If you think that it should be removed from the plan as being unnecessary to meet the required numbers, now is your opportunity to say so.  On the other hand, you may object to the inclusion of the Highlands Farm extension, a greenfield site but, to be taken seriously, you will have to propose the inclusion of about 50-60 homes elsewhere, either on new sites or by increased housing density on other sites. Thirdly, you may consider that the 615 (500 + 115) homes allocated for Henley by the existing 2016 and revised NP are insufficient for the town’s needs and, if so, you should take this opportunity to say so.

The conundrum of ‘Affordable’ Homes

In responses to planning applications and various consultations, the Society has always supported proposals to increase the amount of ‘social housing’ in Henley (eg. The Society’s Nov 2017 response to DOSC’s Local Plan consultation.) Social housing is the type provided by SOHA, which is subsidised and where ‘affordability’ is retained through different occupancies.  Our emphasis on social housing is due to the minimum requirement for a home to meet the government definition of ‘affordable’ being so low.  It is merely that its price or rental should be less than 80% of the market rate. And the provision of ‘affordable’ homes meeting these minimum requirements will do little to assist either workers on a low wage, or most first-time buyers in Henley.  So long as Henley is more attractive as a place to live compared with other towns and cities, and so long as we have a free-market rather than a commandeconomy, it is difficult to see how the price differential with other towns could be eliminated.

If you think that Henley’s most pressing housing need is for more social housing and that this could be achieved by stipulating that a higher proportion of the ‘affordable’ allocation should be social housing, then do say so.  Or if you think that more homes in total should be built and that 35% of the 40% of the total number (as suggested in the revised NP) provides a solution, do say so.                                                  



Executive Committee Briefing- September 2021

The Michael Redley walking tour of the Charles Clements buildings in Henley quickly sold out and a full house of 24 members led in two groups by Michael and his son, Will, enjoyed an instructive, interesting afternoon finishing with tea and cake in the Watercolour Café. A second walk, on September 7th, is being organised for those who were on the wait list for the first one, and there are still a few places left if you are interested in Henley’s history. Please call 07860 145982 to reserve a place.


Simon Spearing Talk Tuesday 19th October 2021 at 7.30pm

The Kenton Theatre, the past, the present, the future and the Ghost

Simon is the recently appointed General Manager of the Kenton Theatre and his talk will include his early thoughts on the future direction of the 4th oldest working theatre in the country. The talk will take place in the Pither Room, Christchurch Centre, Reading Road at 7.30pm and will last about 45 minutes plus any questions. The Executive Committee hope that you will join them for a glass of wine after the talk.

Tickets priced at £6. 50 per person can be obtained via Eventbrite. If you experience difficulty please order your tickets by calling 07860145982.

Our drive for new members is continuing to be successful and this month we welcome Christine Wright, Kay Robertson, Anthea Hoskins, Sue Brosnan, our 550th Member Dianne Sharp, Domenic Bertelli, Muriel Quinsac, Nick and Sue Sharp and June Wood to the Society. Our membership is now at a record level of 555.


The tree planting at Sheephouse Lane/Reading Road has proved very popular with members and we now have seven of the eight trees sponsored. We have remaining one Linden and if you would like to attach your name, or that of a loved one, to the tree, then please contact Catherine Notaras on catnotaras@gmail.com or 07474 095807


The Henley Agricultural Show takes place on Saturday 11th September and the Society is taking a stand, which will be manned from 9am – 4pm. If you are visiting the show please stop by and say ‘hello’.


A date for your diary - On Wednesday 2nd March 2022 an illustrated talk will be given by The Queens Swan Marker, David Barber. Full details, venue and ticket prices will be announced shortly.


Spotlight on our Deputy Chairman -Julian Brookes

Julian has been a Henley on Thames resident for over 20 years since he returned to the UK from living in Hong Kong in the mid-90s. He is married with a son and a daughter and two grandchildren. A pupil of the Newcastle upon Tyne Royal Grammar School, he is a graduate electrical engineer, holds a post graduate diploma in nuclear technology and has been a member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology since 1980. After serving as an engineer officer in both nuclear and conventional submarines he has held international sales, marketing and general management positions covering the markets of Europe, North America and for the last 30 years, East Asia. Recent activities included the introduction of UK and US based wireless technology companies to the markets of Northeast Asia. He became involved in local politics on becoming aware of the JHHNP at the end of 2013. He was a Henley Town Councillor 2015-19, Deputy Mayor 2015/16, and Mayor 2016/17. He is a trustee of our Henley YMCA having led the £570,000 fund raising to enable the trustees to take full control of the future of our local YMCA and is a member of our Bell Surgery PPG (Patients Participation Group). He has been leading the Henley Society’s response to the recent MHCLG Planning White Papers.



Executive Briefing to Members – August 2021

The Planning Application for the Premier Inn hotel at the station was before Henley Town Council on 13th July and our Deputy Chairman, Julian Brookes, spoke on behalf of the Society against the proposal, reflecting the views of our members February survey on the matter. We had conveyed the results of the survey to individual planning committee Councillors ahead of their meeting, as we will do to SODC Planning Committee Councillors before the application is debated by them shortly. HTC voted unanimously, and most robustly, against the application and asked for it to be ‘called in’ which means that the proposal will be decided by Planning Councillors, rather than Officers. The Executive Committee would like to thank those of our many Members who have put their own thoughts on the application onto the SODC Planning portal.

And now, some dates for your diary. Alan Pontin, a Member of the Society, whose company is developing Highlands Park, will address Members on Thursday September 23rd in a talk entitled ‘Henley’s need for more housing, and how that can be sympathetically achieved’. We are aware that this talk could be emotive and give rise to a lot of questions and you are invited to attend. We hope to hold the talk face-to-face but if Covid determines otherwise we will revert to Zoom. Further details in due course- but please reserve the date.

It is hoped that our October talk will be given by the new Manager of the Kenton Theatre, Simon Spearing. A date is awaited from Simon and full details will be announced, both on our website, and through the medium of this Briefing in due course.

April 12th, 2022, will see us visit the Sandhurst Commandants Parade which is a full dress rehearsal for the Sovereign’s Parade which takes place some days later. This is a colourful musical event not to be missed. Full details nearer the time.

Much further off is Sunday 7th August 2022 when we will be holding a ‘Music on the Lawn’ Event at Remenham Club to mark the 60th Anniversary of the Society. Full details of this celebration are on the website – and tickets will go on sale to Members and their guests on April 1st next year. The music will be Beatles themed since that group celebrate the 60th anniversary of the release of their first record release in 2022 also.

We now have six of the eight trees at Sheephouse Lane sponsored and at £200 each have two remaining, a Field Maple and a Linden. Please let us know if you would like to have your name, or that of a loved one, commemorated by sponsoring a tree.

Our concerns re the Taylor Woodrow plans for disposing of wastewater away from their proposed development at Thames Farm were sent to SODC recently. We have objected on the grounds of the threat to the safety of our drinking water brought about by plans to use grouting to the Grade 1 Aquifier below the site, and to the routing which brings about an increased threat of flooding in the area around Jubilee Park and the HTC football and hockey pitches.

We are pleased to report that the Festival Thames Traditional Boat Festival will be going ahead this year, at the end of August, Friday 27th to Sunday 29th.  All the usual activities are scheduled including a chance to see the Dunkirk little ships, take boat trips and relax with refreshments from the various pop-up venues.  Go to the website for more details www.tradboatfestival.com and to book tickets early and save money.  

Members should be aware that a Planning Application for eight apartments with associated parking on woodland at Parkside/Pack and Prime Lane, refused in September 2020, has been appealed by the owner. It will be remembered that the Society publicised the original application and, partly through our social media presence, over 300 residents were persuaded to add comments, the vast majority in objection, to the SODC Planning portal. This proposal was similar to two previous applications, in 2016 and in 2018, both turned down, and is on a site protected by 2006 legislation as a Priority Wildlife habitat. If the appeal is successful 52 trees, mostly with Tree Preservation orders, will need to be felled, thus partially destroying the heart of an important wildlife corridor on the edge of town.  The Planning Appeal reference is P20/S2002/FUL and Members are urged to make their feelings known to the Appeal Inspector as a matter of urgency.

To comment, go to the PINS (Planning Inspectorate) site, Planning Inspectorate

When you open the url, on the right side “Search for a Case” enter the number 3268954.

Top right with green background “make representation”

Middle right with green background “save and continue”

Continue as an interested party.