Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Residents want nicer ‘welcome to Henley’

Residents want nicer ‘welcome to Henley’ at entrance point

RESIDENTS want to beautify an entrance to Henley so it’s more welcoming to visitors.

People living in Northfield End and Bell Street want to improve the grass and planting on the green near the mini-roundabout, relocate some of the road signs and conceal the back of a large highways sign.

This could be done by adding a “Welcome to Henley-on-Thames” sign or by planting a tree.

They have also suggested removing two existing planters and creating two new flower beds — one at either end of the green — as well as possibly installing a public sculpture plinth in the future.

In a report to Henley Town Council’s open and green spaces sub-committee, the residents say: “For a very long time, visitors to Henley arriving from two important entry points, Fair Mile and Marlow Road, have been greeted by a big, ugly, industrial back of a sign in this historic heart of the conservation area.

“In this proposal, we are exploring ways in which to improve this important town entrance for further consideration and debate.”

Residents suggest the welcome sign should be blue and should read: “Henley-on-Thames: the riverside market town home of the Henley Royal Regatta.”

Alternatively, a semi-mature tree, possibly a white beam, could be planted to conceal the back of the sign.

The planting of the beds would be seasonal and low maintenance but neat and attractive and low-level to maintain sight lines for drivers.

Residents would help with maintenance and would seek advice from Henley in Bloom about plants that help reduce pollution.

An existing bench on the green would be refurbished or replaced.

Helen Gaynor, of Bell Street, told the committee: “Residents in the immediate vicinity are very keen to improve the look of this tiny little green space. Currently, the Northfield End green is rather scruffy.

“What we have put together for you is some suggestions. Residents are prepared to look after it if we can get something going there.”

Councillor David Nimmo Smith said: “I think it’s fabulous, the whole principle of this, but you might have difficulty moving or getting rid of all the signs you want to.”

He suggested that a welcome sign should be further out along Fair Mile.

Councillor Sam Evans said: “A huge thank-you for all the thought and effort that has gone into this. Instead of whinging about something, you have come up with a solution.”

She said the area looked “incredibly sad and unloved” at the moment but added: “This looks all very pretty and full marks to you — I think it’s brilliant.”

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