Friday, 22 February 2019

Never mind my fairy lights, is our bridge going to stay up?

Never mind my fairy lights, is our bridge going to stay up?

Sir, — I would like to add my final comment on the Henley Bridge lights saga (Standard, November 2).

As you have reported several times, Henley Town Council was going to have a meeting about the lights after the various festivals had finished and then decide whether to recommend a retrospective planning application should be made or that there should be another form of lighting or perhaps none at all.

Either way, this seems to have been forgotten by our politicians.

Comments by Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak and other town councillors saying that they personally like the lights don’t help. It’s the council decision we want, not individuals’ opinions.

Mayor Glen Lambert says the lights look “quite cute” but he doesn’t like them during the day because the way they were put on “looks quite messy”.

Get real! These are 8,000 lightweight LED fairy lights.

What our mayor and the rest of the town council should be worrying about is the structure of the bridge and the damage that the barges have done over the years running into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Oxfordshire County Council stated that the bridge will be inspected and the lights removed in the new financial year (i.e. in April at the earliest) but we all know the bridge will not take priority so it’s likely to be more than a year before a damage report is published.

I am focused on making sure we all get a proper report and that the bridge is repaired and protected. So I ask that when the town council does decide to put the bridge lights on the agenda as promised that it also commissions an engineer’s report into the health of the bridge and, if necessary, to consider recommending a weight limit.

May I also inform the person who reported my “living wall” to South Oxfordshire District Council (because apparently it needs planning permission) that the officers have been most helpful and I have now made a retrospective application.

However, the problem is with the listed building officials so the 1,000 pollution-busting plants on the wall may have to come down. If so, I will replace them with 50ft x 50ft 3D mural of the bridge lit up, just as it was in 1903.

At least we all will have the fairy lights on the bridge for this Christmas. — Yours (very disappointed) faithfully,

Clive “Fairy Godfather”

Hart Street, Henley

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