The Henley Society was formed in 1961 when a major planning application was approved by the Henley Borough Council which would have involved the demolition of the handsome Catherine Wheel Hotel in Hart Street and its replacement with a row of 1960’s style shops.

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  • The conservation and enhancement of the town, its waterfront and its setting.
  • The preservation of the town's historical centre, its fine approaches and its trees
  • An appropriate balance between housing and the provision of employment, shopping and leisure facilities
  • The relief of traffic congestion with better car parking facilities and improvements to bus and train services

The Society is non-political and is not simply a preservation society. We recognise that trade must prosper if the town is to flourish, but we seek to mitigate any adverse effects of commercial activity.


At the strategic level all proposals for building and traffic-flow developments, issued by Oxfordshire County Council and South Oxfordshire District Council, are scrutinised. Submissions are made as appropriate with the aim of maximising benefit to Henley and its surroundings, and minimising any adverse effects.

The Society regularly provides an input to the revisions of the Local Plan that are carried out, at intervals of a few years, by the District Council.

At a more detailed level, we examine all planning applications for development within the town boundaries and submit written comments to the Town and District Councils.

Particular attention is given to listed buildings and to buildings within the Conservation Area. The Conservation Area represents a much higher proportion of Henley than is the case with most towns.

In addition, we encourage high standards of design and construction for all new buildings, as well as those being restored, in the town.

The Society is fortunate in having, amongst its members, several individuals whose professional skills are a major asset in the context of judging the merits of planning proposals.



From time to time The Society also organises:

  • Society Newsletter
  • Lectures
  • Visits to places of interest



The Henley Society also has links with:

The Henley Partnership          

The River Thames Society                                                        

The Henley Archaeological & Historical Group