Friday, 12 August 2022

Christmas barbecue stays put

A BARBECUE traditionally held outside a Henley butchers during the town’s Christmas Festival will take place as normal this year despite plans to move it.

Barry Wagner, owner of Gabriel Machin’s in Market Place, has been told he can still hold it despite town councillors deciding that all the food stalls will be moved to Bell Street for this year’s festival on Friday, December 1.

Mayor Kellie Hinton had raised concerns at a meeting of the town council’s events sub-committee, saying the Machin’s barbecue created a “bottleneck” among the crowds of spectators.

She said: “What we can’t have really is food all the way down Bell Street and then have a barbecue there. No one business is more important than any other.”

But the sub-committee heard that Mr Wagner wouldn’t want to move and town clerk Janet Wheeler said the barbecue was “a bit of an institution”.

This week, Mr Wagner revealed that the Mayor had been to see him and had relaxed her view.

He said: “I spoke to Kellie Hinton and she was suggesting we have two stalls, with one in Bell Street, but we are having the stall here and it will be the only one.”

Cllr Hinton said there had been a “misunderstanding” as traders would not have to move from Market Place if they didn’t want to.

She said: “In the meeting we discussed talking to people to see how they felt about having a stall in Bell Street instead and we knew some may not want to.

“We were responding to the fact that we had several complaints last year but if they want to stay there, that’s fine. We are not in the business of telling people they can’t do things.”

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