Wednesday, 04 August 2021

Councillors agree with path closure for festival

PLANS to close the Thames Path for the 2014 Henley Festival have been supported by town councillors.

PLANS to close the Thames Path for the 2014 Henley Festival have been supported by town councillors.

Part of the towpath on the Remenham side of the river is closed each year before, during and after the festival in order for the “floating” stage to be built.

For next year’s festival, organisers have applied for an 80m stretch of the path to be closed from midnight on July 7 to 5.45pm on July 9, while the stage is built, and again between 6am on July 14 and midnight on July 15 while it is taken down again.

A short diversion would be in place during these times, taking walkers about 10m away from the path along the boundary fence.

A full closure of the path would take place from 5.45pm on show nights, lasting until midnight on July 9 and 10, 1am on July 11 and 2am on July 12. The whole site would also be closed from 11.15am to 3.30pm and 6.15pm to 11.30pm on July 13. The Open Spaces Society, which is based in Bell Street, has objected.

General secretary Kate Ashbrook said: “We are opposed to the closure, we don’t think it’s necessary. For the first 15 years of the festival the Thames Path wasn’t closed and we think the festival should rearrange itself because the path is of international importance.

“There are other ways of laying out the stage which wouldn’t result in the path’s closure. The council always seem to ignore our argument, they don’t recognise the path’s importance. The Thames Path is a national trail and people come from all over the world to walk it.”

Members of the town council’s town and community committee unanimously recommended the application is approved by Wokingham Borough Council.

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