Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Residents oppose plan for fourth regatta day

THE organisers of Henley Women’s Regatta have been criticised after suggesting that the event could expand.

THE organisers of Henley Women’s Regatta have been criticised after suggesting that the event could expand.

The three-day event, which takes place on the Henley Royal Regatta course in June, is considering adding an extra day and has asked Henley Town Council for a £10,000 grant to fund this.

But Remenham Farm Residents’ Association says a fourth day would add to the disruption already experienced on the narrow lanes around Remenham and Aston.

In a letter to this week’s Henley Standard, the residents claim that regatta chairwoman Miriam Luke gave assurances several years ago that the event would not expand as it was run by volunteers who could not spare any more time.

They also say Mrs Luke did not consult the community before seeking funding.

Association chairman Nigel Gray said members opposed the extra day “in the strongest possible terms”.

He said homeowners on the Berkshire bank endured problems every summer because of Henley’s various rowing and arts events, including the royal regatta and the Rewind festival.

He said there was a “huge amount of disruptive activity” before and after the events because large lorries were needed to set them up and dismantle the facilities. He said the vehicles were too big for the roads approaching the village and often blocked access for several hours.

Mr Gray said: “Five days of the royal regatta effectively involves 28 days of disruption for Remenham. On its own [it] is entirely accepted and fully supported by us.

“But the cumulative effect of similar disruption associated with [other events] means that virtually the entire summer seasonâ?¦ is significantly adversely affected.”

Mr Gray suggested the women’s regatta should move to Dorney Lake because of its growing popularity.

He said: “At no time has Ms Luke taken the trouble to consult local residents, which seems to confirm the organisers neither understands nor cares about the problems these events cause.”

John Halsall, who is chairman of Remenham Parish Council, said: “The regatta relies on a lot of good will and is quite disruptive so I wouldn’t welcome expansion.

“I’m a little surprised that it is considering expanding as the organisers have previously said, albeit informally, that it would not.”

He said if the expansion went ahead Workingham Borough Council could propose ways of mitigating the impact.

A regatta spokeswoman said the idea was only being considered and a final decision had not been taken.

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