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Thursday, 25 April 2019
AN artist has caused a stir in Henley by lighting up the town's historic bridge.
Last night Clive Hemsley, who lives at Longlands House in Hart Street, illuminated the grade I listed 18th-century crossing on both its northern and southern faces with two strings of 8,000 LED lights.
They were strung along the outline of its five arches and its balustrade and switched on at about 8pm.
Installation began on Thursday last week, when a team of six workmen including Mr Hemsley began attaching them to the structure from a barge in the middle of the river.
They used duct tape and a soft adhesive putty, which can easily be removed, to fix them in place.
The lights, which use about the same power as a single incandescent bulb, are attached to the mains supply that powers the halogen lamps on Red Lion Lawn, off Thames Side.
But while many have praised it on social media, Mr Hemsley has been criticised for failing to secure planning permission, which he says he does not need as the fixtures are temporary.
South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, has already confirmed it is investigating while Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, says it will seek to have them removed as soon as possible.
Mr Hemsley said: "I've always thought that Chelsea and Westminster bridges look terrific at night and we would benefit from a relatively low-profile lighting scheme.
"It's certainly been a nightmare being out on that muddy barge and with harnesses and the like - needless to say, if anyone was going to get hurt it was going to be me. This is a young man's business and I think I'm too old for it as I'm absolutely knackered!
"I've had five attempts at this with various people but they couldn't see it through and I'm grateful to Hobbs of Henley for their help. They're warm white lights so they won't be cold and sterile.
"If this doesn't attract more business to the town I will eat my hat because the whole idea is to create a focal point as people stroll past. There should be an upturn of at least 10 per cent."
For the full story, see Friday's Henley Standard.
Photo: Jessica Sinclair
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