Friday, 27 November 2020

Extra staff needed to clear up after Sikh festival

EXTRA council staff will be drafted in to clear up after Sikh celebrations in Henley.

EXTRA council staff will be drafted in to clear up after Sikh celebrations in Henley.

The festival of Vaisakhi brings people to Mill Meadows every April to follow the tradition of marking the first harvesting of the crops for the year.

In preparation for this year’s celebrations on April 13 and 14, Henley Town Council’s park services team has requested that additional staff are on duty.

Speaking at a meeting of the council’s Mill Meadows and river sub-committee, Mayor Elizabeth Hodgkin said that in previous years there had been problems with revellers’ rubbish which the council had to clear up.

She said: “I like the idea that we are progressive but they bring staging and barbecues. I am a bit surprised that we are paying for something that we have absolutely no control over.”

Town clerk Mike Kennedy said: “It is a festival just like Christians celebrate Christmas.”

Councillor Jeni Wood said: “I feel we ought to be in touch with whoever runs it but there is no harm in saying to them, ‘it’s lovely to have you but this is going to cost us money’. We cannot blame them for doing something that we know is wrong but they do not, but if it is pointed out first, we have a comeback. We have to give people parameters.

“This is a tradition in India but if at Easter we had a church group going somewhere we would speak to the minister.”

Councillor Sam Evans said the Sikhs left less litter than most other visitors.

Parks services manager Gareth Bartle said more staff were needed because of the amount of rubbish created. “For the past three years the guy who has been there on his own has been swamped,” he said.

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