Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Improvements for town hall

A SERIES of improvements is set to be carried out at Henley town hall.

The town council wants to improve the sound and lighting system in the main hall and install a loudspeaker system with wireless microphones in the council chamber, where the councillors and committees meet regularly.

It has applied to South Oxfordshire District Council for planning permission, which is required as the building is Grade II* listed.

The council plans to replace the acoustic panels on the walls of the main hall and add some above head height, mostly between the window panes. These would reduce echo, making it easier to hear speakers and performers.

Eight existing loudspeakers would be replaced with two smaller vertical speakers and two bass speakers.

The council also wants to remove two old lighting fixtures from the side walls and add two lighting bars, one above the stage and another in front of it, with removable fixtures for attaching individual lights.

Four small speakers would be mounted on the wall of the chamber and be connected to a series of removable wireless microphones around the council table.

There would also be an induction loop for hearing aid users.

Audiotek, the council's consultant, says the improvements would make the hall more attractive to hire.

English Heritage says it accepts the "strong case" for improvements but wants the speakers in the council chamber to near the corners in order to avoid damaging the wood panelling.

It also says the council should look into less obtrusive lighting for the main hall and only proceed with the current plans if nothing better is found.

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