Thursday, 21 October 2021

Dogs blamed as lampposts ruled unsafe for baskets

HENLEY’S rusting riverside lampposts have been blamed on... dogs.

HENLEY’S rusting riverside lampposts have been blamed on... dogs.

Council officials have banned hanging baskets from being hung from the cast-iron ornate posts in Thames Side due to structural damage.

They have suggested that the cause may be dogs urinating on them as they are taken on riverside walks by their owners.

Road salt and floodwater may also have contributed to the problem.

Hanging baskets put up as part of Henley’s Britain in Bloom bid were removed from six lampposts last month after rust was found at the bases in a safety check by officials from Oxfordshire County Council.

They cannot be put back until the lampposts have been replaced, which will not be in time for the visit by the Britain in Bloom judges later this month.

In a report to the town council, Henley’s county councillor David Nimmo Smith said: “A lamppost on the riverside, to which hanging baskets were attached, developed a list, brought about by rusting at the base.

“The county officers have suggested that the rusting is because this was a favoured stopping-off point for dogs, although I have no evidence to substantiate this.

“The remaining lampposts have also been tested for structural problems.” Cllr Nimmo Smith told the Henley Standard: “It is just not safe enough for the baskets to return.

“It is annoying that this has happened at this particular moment, with the Britain in Bloom judging coming up. It does look naked without the baskets there.”

He has asked his council to supply like-for-like replacement lampposts rather than cheaper, less ornate alternatives, which should be in place by end of the year.

Town councillor Kellie Hinton, who chairs Henley in Bloom, said: “The replacements will not arrive in time for the Britain in Bloom judging, which is a shame but there is nothing we can do about it — health and safety comes first.

“I am sure dogs do their business along there — it’s a very popular area for walking dogs — but we can’t just blame them.”

The hanging baskets will now be placed elsewhere.

Cllr Hinton said: “Perhaps we will be able to brighten up the lampposts with some bunting.”

A spokesman from the county council said: “An assessment was carried out on June 7 and we received the results on June 18.

“This found corrosion at the base caused by moisture which has made the columns structurally unsafe.

“We are currently talking with the manufacturers to arrange for them to be replaced as soon as possible. Until they are replaced, we recommend that no objects be placed on the posts.”

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