Monday, 16 July 2018

Residents want play equipment and seating at green spaces

RESIDENTS have called for seating and more play equipment to be installed at two of Henley’s green spaces.

RESIDENTS have called for seating and more play equipment to be installed at two of Henley’s green spaces.

These were among the main requests in a survey carried out by Henley Town Council’s recreation and amenities committee.

The questionnaire asked for views on how to improve Freemans Meadow, off Fair Mile, and Makins recreation ground, off Greys Road.

Almost 100 people responded and the majority — 56 per cent — wanted seating at Freemans Meadow while 49 per cent wanted more play equipment to be added to the toddler play area.

Forty-one per cent favoured outdoor gym equipment and 32 per cent wanted municipal tennis courts.

At Makins, 56 per cent wanted more play equipment, 48 per cent favoured seating and 44 per cent wanted outdoor gym equipment.

Fifty-two per cent also supported the replacement skate park, which is expected to be built in the summer.

Peter Lloyd, whose home in Leicester Close overlooks Freemans Meadow, warned against overdeveloping the land.

He said: “Freemans Meadow is an oasis of green close to the centre of an otherwise busy and bustling town centre. It provides an area of tranquillity for residents to relax and play in. It is very precious to Henley and should not be overdeveloped.

“It could, however, be improved to make it more attractive and welcoming to Henley residents.

“The meadow is overlooked by approximately 50 residential dwellings, including my own. We enjoy an open view of the meadow and appreciate the outlook, birds and wildlife attracted to the area. Consultation should include all occupiers of the other dwellings.”

Mr Lloyd said the entrances to the meadow could be improved and suggested a perimeter path and planting but not to introduce parking spaces.

He added: “The area should not be given over to tennis courts, which detract from the rural aspect, or a football pitch, which would take up much of the space.”Councillor Sam Evans, who chairs the council’s parks sub-committee, said an outdoor gym and tennis courts were allocated in the council’s budget.

She suggested that people visiting Freemans Meadows could park at Henley Rugby Club in Marlow Road.

Councillor David Nimmo Smith said that any changes should be sensitive to the people living in the area.

He suggested asking Rupert House School if it would allow its tennis courts to be used by the public.

The move to improve the two areas is part of a three-year plan being drawn up by the council’s ruling Conservative group.

Cllr Evans said the responses to the survey were positive, adding: “Overall, people seem to be pleased that we’re planning to invest.”

A report by Dr Carolyn Jenkins, a landscape architect at Reading Borough Council, suggested spending £10,000 on planting at Makins but Councillor Kellie Hinton said: “Henley in Bloom wouldn’t spend probably half that in a year.”

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