Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Water sports centre plans to carry out improvements

A WATER sports centre in Henley is planning a series of improvements.

The Eyot Centre, off Wargrave Road, has applied to Wokingham Borough Council for permission to refurbish the river frontage, including rebuilding the slipway and creating a second landing stage.

It has been an outdoor water sports centre for 60 years and is used by schools and community organisations such as the Henley sea cadets as well as being home to the Henley Canoe Club, Henley Dragon Boat Club and the Henley Duke of Edinburgh activity centre.

Project manager Keith Walker said: “Water-based activities require appropriate river access that is safe for users for a range of craft.

“The success of the centre has meant that increasing numbers of people are using it year on year. This increase in use and the damage and wear being incurred has been reviewed.

“The management committee has decided to take action now to improve the access points, preserve the natural river bank and improve the durability of the ecology of the remainder of the site.”

The centre wants to:

l Replace the sea cadets’ redundant winched launch points and rollers with a shared launch point for both the cadets and the centre.

l Rebuild the slipway that has suffered subsidence and erosion.

l Create an access point for people with limited mobility.

l Replace the upper launch and landing stage and stabilise the dragon boat and bell boat slip area.

l Replace the finger pontoon and scaffolding downstream landing stage with a permanent launching/landing stage with steps for safe river entry.

l Provide water permeable paths, tree root protection and soft bank protection and create a site planting management plan.

Mr Walker said: “The existing facilities are long overdue this maintenance and repair to the river bank. The proposals represent part of a long-term plan to improve both the durability and usability of the existing site while enabling the natural features to thrive rather than compete with that use.”

The centre was rebuilt less than 10 years ago after members and supporters raised more than £100,000 and obtained grants from Sport England, South Oxfordshire District Council and Henley Town Council. The new building was opened by the Duke of Kent in May 2008.

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