Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Call for hanging baskets on the river front

HENLEY in Bloom is demanding that it be allowed to return hanging baskets to the river front.

HENLEY in Bloom is demanding that it be allowed to return hanging baskets to the river front.

Eight hanging baskets were removed from lampposts in Thames Side on the instructions of Oxfordshire County Council so the posts could be checked for structural damage.

Testing is scheduled to take place later this year but Henley in Bloom says this should be brought forward in order not to damage the town?s chances in the Britain in Bloom competition.

Councillor Kellie Hinton, who chairs Henley in Bloom, said: ?The baskets are an important part of our display because they are along the riverfront.

?They?re important not just for the judging but because a lot of people see Henley from the river during the regatta or the festival.

?That frontage is like the face of Henley ? it is what we are known for. ?It looks really quite bleak down there now when we are doing our best to make the town bright and lovely.?

The judging for the regional In Bloom competition is due to take place in mid-July and the national judging will take place in late July or early August.

Cllr Hinton said: ?There is not a lot we can do about something if it is unsafe but if the county council could bring the testing forward and show it supports Henley in Bloom then that would be great.? Councillor Elizabeth Hodgkin, a member of the Henley in Bloom committee, said the area looked ?bare? without the hanging baskets.

?I would ask the county council to do this as urgently as possible as there are no baskets, which we pay for, on the riverside,? she said. ?It is very upsetting and disappointing.

?We will try to find other places to put them but it makes it quite difficult as the baskets are a vital part of our summer display. It is something we will have to have an explanation for, especially as we are making big efforts elsewhere.?

Cllr Hodgkin said that if the lampposts were deemed to be unsafe then they might need parts ordering, which could take a long time. She added: ?These things happen and if they are unsafe they are unsafe but if the county council got its finger out we would have a chance of putting things back to normal.?

David Nimmo Smith, county councillor for Henley, said he would speak to the council?s highways area steward Keith Stenning.

?At least eight lampposts will need to be tested for safety and I don?t know how much that will cost but I shall see what I can do,? he added.

An Oxfordshire County Council spokesman said: ?We are aware of structural issues of the columns at ground level and recommend that no items be placed on them until an assessment has taken place to ensure that pedestrians or properties are not put at risk.?

* YELLOW and blue flowers have been planted in the celebration beds in Mill Meadows, Henley.

Members of Henley in Bloom?s Gardening Buddies planted the flowers with help from offenders as part of the community payback team.

Marigolds have been arranged to spell ?Henley? and ?Blooms? across the two beds to celebrate the town?s success in achieving gold in the regional round of last year?s Britain In Bloom competition.

Blue ageratums have been planted around the lettering in each bed and geraniums have been planted in the raised bed surrounding the obelisk.

Councillor Kellie Hinton, who chairs Henley in Bloom, said: ?We wanted to celebrate our massive achievement in getting gold last year and going through to the national final and show the judges what it means to us. The beds look absolutely amazing and the writing really stands out.

?Yellow and blue are not only the Henley in Bloom colours, they are the town?s colours.?

An information board explaining the significance of the beds will be erected.

The plants were provided by Toad Hall garden centre at cost price.

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