Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Councillors upset over vanishing slipway

Councillors upset over vanishing slipway

COUNCILLORS want to meet officials of a company that tarmacked an historic slipway in Henley.

Sorbon Estates removed the access to the River Thames at the bottom of Friday Street to create space for parking.

The company carried out the work without planning permission and enforcement officers from South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, are investigating.

The company has said the work was necessary for aesthetic and safety reasons as it was part of ongoing improvements and maintenance but admitted its planning consultants had failed to seek consent.

Town clerk Sheridan Jacklin-Edward told a town council meeting that Sorbon has also failed to obtain a flood risk activity permit and an accommodation licence from the Environment Agency, which is responsible for the river.

Councillor Laurence Plant said that when he spoke to people at the riverside, most were under the impression the council was responsible for the work.

Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak said the council should meet with Sorbon to express its “displeasure” and ask for the slipway to be reinstated and threaten to “send the diggers in”.

He added: “I’m extremely concerned that this might drag on and on and on.”

The council passed a motion saying it had “serious concerns” about the unlawful work and the loss of amenity.

The motion also said: “Henley Town Council offers to meet with Sorbon to share views and express these concerns directly and to consider future steps necessary as a result of further investigations.”

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