Henley Town Council is to oppose a change of use application which could mean the ancient Red Lion Hotel becoming a care home.

MG Hotels has applied to South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) to convert the 17th Century Grade ll-listed hotel at the corner of Hart Street and Thames Street into C2 use which potentially includes care homes, hospitals, nursing homes, boarding schools and residential training centres.

All 35 en-suite rooms will be converted to C2 use under the proposal.

But Henley Town Council’s planning committee voted on Tuesday, June 23 to oppose it.

Cllr Will Hamilton said: “I’m absolutely flabbergasted by this and I shall propose refusal.

“This is a town amenity. This is a facility that is used by visitors coming to our town and in its prime position it needs to continue to be a hotel for future people to come. This is absolutely the wrong thing for Henley.”

Cllr Donna Crook said: “We need someone to come in with a lot of money and buy that place and keep it as a hotel.”

Councillors voted for refusal but the decision will be made by SODC.

The hotel is currently housing homeless people as a Covid-19 measure.

Knight Frank is currently marketing the hotel for sale for £7.5 million. It has a bar, restaurant, conference suites and events facilities for up to 200 guests as well as 25 parking spaces.

Knight Frank says it could be extended to 56 rooms, subject to planning.

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