Monday, 22 April 2019

Unlawful bridge lights to come off

Unlawful bridge lights to come off

LIGHTS attached to Henley Bridge without permission are to be removed.

Artist Clive Hemsley attached two strings of 800 white LED lights to the Grade I listed structure in March. They are powered by a socket at the Angel on the Bridge pub in Thames Side.

He was praised by many people and more than 2,400 people signed an online petition to keep the lights.

But now Oxfordshire County Council, which is responsible for the bridge, says it will remove them during an inspection.

A spokesman said: “Henley Bridge has its next routine principal inspection programmed for the next financial year so we intend to take that opportunity to remove them while we have access.” Mr Hemsley, who lives in Hart Street, said: “There’s a limit to how much I’m going to fight the council.

“If they want to take them off then so be it but I personally think they should stay.

“I’ll put up another set but do it through the proper channels, although that could take two or three years.

“From a visual perspective point of view we all need the lights for the winter months. Colour and light stimulate the brain and that makes us more happy.”

Both the county council and South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, ordered him to remove the lights in the spring.

The councils said they weren’t against them in principle but he should have obtained planning permission first.

Councillor Stefan Gawysiak, Henley’s representative on the county council and a town and district councillor, said it was “good news” that the lights would be in place a little longer.

He said: “I personally like the lights and think they have actually added to the bridge. 

“I would have preferred they were put up  in a proper manner but they are there and not causing any damage, so why not keep them up for another winter so people can see them?

“If we can come  up with something better let’s discuss it.”

Cllr Gawrysiak said he favoured the bridge being illuminated at certain times, for example during Christmas, Easter and during the town’s festivals.

He suggested projecting different images on to the structure, such as rowers during Henley Royal Regatta or literary figures during Henley Literary Festival.

Mayor Glen Lambert said: “I’ll miss the lights at night because it is quite cute, I suppose, but I won’t miss them during the day because the way they were put on it looks quite messy. There’s bits of tape and bits of tack.”

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