Sunday, 24 June 2018

Baskets banned from river for safety tests

HENLEY in Bloom is demanding that it be allowed to return hanging baskets to the river front.

HENLEY in Bloom is demanding that it be allowed to return hanging baskets to the river front.

Eight hanging baskets were removed from lampposts in Thames Side on the instructions of Oxfordshire County Council so the posts could be checked for structural damage.

Testing is scheduled to take place later this year but Henley in Bloom says this should be brought forward in order not to damage the town’s chances in the Britain in Bloom competition.

Councillor Kellie Hinton, who chairs Henley in Bloom, said: “The baskets are an important part of our display because they are along the riverfront.

“They’re important not just for the judging but because a lot of people see Henley from the river during the regatta or the festival.

“That frontage is like the face of Henley — it is what we are known for.

“It looks really quite bleak down there now when we are doing our best to make the town bright and lovely.”

The judging for the regional In Bloom competition is due to take place in mid-July and the national judging will take place in late July or early August.

Cllr Hinton said: “There is not a lot we can do about something if it is unsafe but if the county council could bring the testing forward and show it supports Henley in Bloom then that would be great.” Councillor Elizabeth Hodgkin, a member of the Henley in Bloom committee, said the area looked “bare” without the hanging baskets.

“I would ask the county council to do this as urgently as possible as there are no baskets, which we pay for, on the riverside,” she said. “It is very upsetting and disappointing.

“We will try to find other places to put them but it makes it quite difficult as the baskets are a vital part of our summer display. It is something we will have to have an explanation for, especially as we are making big efforts elsewhere.”

Cllr Hodgkin said that if the lampposts were deemed to be unsafe then they might need parts ordering, which could take a long time. She added: “These things happen and if they are unsafe they are unsafe but if the county council got its finger out we would have a chance of putting things back to normal.”

David Nimmo Smith, county councillor for Henley, said he would speak to the council’s highways area steward Keith Stenning.

“At least eight lampposts will need to be tested for safety and I don’t know how much that will cost but I shall see what I can do,” he added.

An Oxfordshire County Council spokesman said: “We are aware of structural issues of the columns at ground level and recommend that no items be placed on them until an assessment has taken place to ensure that pedestrians or properties are not put at risk.”

Henley in Bloom is urging Oxfordshire County Council to take action to enable hanging baskets to return to the riverfront.

Eight hanging baskets were removed from lamp posts in Thame Side following instructions from the county council. It says it is not safe for the baskets to remain there until every post has been tested for structural damage.

Testing is scheduled to take place later this year but Henley in Bloom says this should be brought forward in order not to affect the town’s Britain in Bloom chances.

Councillor Kellie Hinton, chair of Henley in Bloom, said: “The baskets are an important part of our display because they are along the riverfront which is such an important part of Henley. They’re important not just for the two judging displays but because a lot of people see Henley from the river, during the regatta or the festival- that frontage is like the face of Henley, it is what we are known for.

“I don’t think you fully appreciate what those baskets do until they are gone. I think it looks really quite bleak down there now when we are doing our best to keep it bright and lovely and wonderful.

She urged the council to assess the lamp posts as soon as possible. The judging for the regional In Bloom competition is due to take place in mid-July and the national judging will take place in late July or early August.

Ms Hinton said: “There is not a lot we can do about something if it is unsafe but if the council could bring the testing forward and show they support Henley in Bloom and they appreciate the work that we do then that would be great. It’s just really unfortunate timing.”

Councillor Elizabeth Hodgkin, a member of the committee, said the area looks “bare” without them.

“I would ask the council to do this as urgently as possible as there are no baskets on the river side which we pay for which is very upsetting and disappointing,” she said.

“We will try to find other places to put them but it makes it quite difficult as the baskets are a vital part of our summer display.

“It is something we will have to make an explanation for, especially as we are making big efforts elsewhere.”

Cllr Hodgkin said that parts may need to be ordered if the lamp posts are deemed to be unsafe, which could take a great deal of time.

“These things happen, we’ve got to be realistic about it, and if they are unsafe they are unsafe but if the county council got their finger out we would have a chance of putting things back to normal,” she said.”



More News:

Latest video from

VIDEO: Tributes paid after rugby player's death
 

POLL: Have your say