River canoe launch platform rejected as ’terrible idea’
PLANS to build a launching platform for canoeists at a riverside beauty spot in Goring have
PLANS to build a launching platform for canoeists at a riverside beauty spot in Goring have been dubbed "a terrible idea".
The parish council, which owns the land in Ferry Lane, had agreed to seek quotes for the work from several Â contractors.
Councillor Emrhys Barrell, who came up with the idea, obtained two estimates.
However, at a council meeting on Monday, his colleagues rejected the idea, saying the site was not suitable and an alternative location should be sought.
Launching boats at Ferry Lane is banned but many people ignore this, causing damage to the river bank. The council spent £34,000 on repairs in 2013. Cllr Barrell argued that a platform would solve this problem while providing a new leisure facility.
The first estimate was from a local landscaping company which said it could install larch decking and wooden piles for about £2,000.
The second came from a specialist marine engineering company which suggested installing steel piles and a hardwood structure with decking at a cost of between £5,500 and £6,000.
Neither solution would be suitable for disabled people as the site is too steep for a wheelchair ramp.
Cllr Barrell said the cheaper option would last about 25 years while the other one would survive about 35 years. He said a resident had written a letter of support and pledged £500 towards the cost while the Goring and Streatley Amenity Association was also in favour.
But council chairman Kevin Bulmer said timber piling would not survive if it was hit by a large barge.
"I’m quite happy to go on the record as saying it’s a terrible idea," he said. "A proper launching platform for a canoe should be at river level, not off a pontoon, so that it works with the rising and falling levels. That would cost at least £12,000 to £15,000.
"It would also involve us damaging a bank we spent an awful lot of money putting in and designing. I don’t think there’s enough room as it woud encroach on the Thames Path. "I would want to see much more evidence of demand before considering something like this. No one seems prepared to support it in this Â location."
Councillor John Wills said: "Before I became a councillor that bank was totally washed away. We spent a lot of money restoring it in an environmentally sensitive manner."
Councillor Catherine Hall said: "It’s a nice suggestion but I really don’t think it’s viable."
Cllr Barrell said the platform would protect the bank and give Goring and Streatley residents access to the river, "something they’ve been trying to achieve for the past 20 years".
He added: "It would benefit everyone, particularly young people who presently have no public access to the beautiful river."