Thursday, 19 July 2018

Residents asked for ideas on revamp

A PLAY area in Henley could be expanded under plans to improve the town’s recreational facilities.

A PLAY area in Henley could be expanded under plans to improve the town’s recreational facilities.

The equipment at Makins recreation ground, which is currently for toddlers and small children, could be added to so that it also caters for older youngsters.

This is just one of the ideas being considered by Henley Town Council in response to the results of a questionnaire completed by residents last month.

The survey was compiled by the council’s recreation and amenities committee. It asks what people like most and least about both Makins and Freemans Meadow, off Fair Mile, and what else they would like to see, including improving horticulture.

Sam Evans, who chairs the committee, said: “We have had a good number of responses to the questionnaire but we have decided to extend the closing date as we want as many people as possible to be involved.

“Hopefully people will come into the New Year bursting with new ideas. This is a massive investment over the next few years that will impact our green areas for the next generation so it should at least encourage people to say ‘can we try this or that?’

“The thing I’m really pleased about is people are not just focusing on the impact on themselves but thinking about the town as a whole and how it will affect other people and different generations — that has been a real positive.”

The new-look Makins could include shelter for parents and guardians and new seating and picnic areas rather than an overhaul like the one carried out at the toddler play area in Mill Meadows in 2014.

Cllr Evans explained: “It will be bigger but we’re not going to get rid of what we have got now.

“There’s working equipment at Makins that’s good for a few years — and that’s the experts talking, not me. We’re taking advice from a professional on how much more space we need and how to create the different areas.

“One area could be given over to more toddler-type things and as you move across the area, you get the stuff for older children. We’re taking advice about making sure we have the right mix of equipment for kids of all ages.”

The Gainsborough Residents’ Association has put forward ideas.

Cllr Evans said: “It’s not for me to decide what should or shouldn’t go there. We want to combine the information with the advice and then we’ll go out again and say ‘do you like this, or do you want to make some changes?’”

Other ideas include a five-a-side football pitch, tennis courts and a scooter path.

Another is planting hundreds of flowering bulbs.

Cllr Evans said: “That’s not hugely expensive but it has a really significant impact on the look and feel of a place.”

She said Makins presented a challenge because it was on a slope while Freemans Meadow was surrounded by homes. “To put things there that are going to increase the noise levels suddenly is not fair on the residents so we’re taking all these issues into account,” she said.

The aim is to have the two recreation areas awarded Green Flag status, a benchmark national standard for parks and green spaces, which was given to Mill Meadows after the refurbishment of the toddler play area and the public toilets.

Cllr Evans said: “By having this three-year plan, if we have got clear goals and objectives and know what we’re trying to achieve, we can take sensible and affordable steps to get there.”

She said there would be a budget of up to £50,000 to “kick-start” the project.

The questionnaire, which should be completed by January 16, is available online at

Alternatively, write to: Mrs B Walker at Henley Town Council, Market Place, Henley, Oxon, RG9 2AQ or email her at

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