Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Regatta to add sixth day for more women’s events

Henley Royal Regatta

Henley Royal Regatta

HENLEY Royal Regatta will take place over six days from 2021.

The move from five days was approved by the regatta stewards at their annual meeting in London on Tuesday.

The extra day will allow the introduction of two new events for women, one for club eights and one for junior eights. The regatta says this reflects the increased participation and success of women in the sport.

With the introduction of a new event for student women’s eights at next year’s regatta, to be named the Island Challenge Cup, there will be 10 events for women from 2021.

Sir Steve Redgrave, who chairs that regatta’s committee of management, said: “Henley Royal Regatta last added an extra day to its programme in 1985.

“The addition of a sixth day in 2021 reflects the growing popularity of our wonderful sport and the regatta itself, not least among women who are competing in greater numbers and at a higher standard than before. I am delighted that with the new events for student, junior and club women, the regatta will offer a racing programme across all levels, from junior to international.”

The regatta made a licensing application to Wokingham Borough Council which was approved despite objections by Remenham Parish Council and residents of the village.

They complained about the cumulative impact of the regatta and other events in the area, calling it “event creep” and saying they had not been consulted.

They were also concerned about traffic nuisance and travel disruptpion, saying that 600 cars per hour came past their homes during the regatta. Regatta chief executive Daniel Grist told the hearing that several meetings had been held with residents of Remenham and  a forum would be set up to engage with them.

He said that starting the event on a Tuesday would have limited impact on residents, adding:  “Tuesday will not be as busy as Wednesday. I would be surprised if Tuesday’s gate is anything like 10,000.”

He said that this year’s regatta had its largest ever entry of 660 crews, which placed even more strain on the programme.

The application was seeking permission to have live music on the Tuesday as part of the extended royal regatta between 11am and 7.30pm and the provision of alcohol sales from the existing bars and hospitality areas from 10am to 8pm.

The licensing and appeals sub-committee granted permission and said: “It was noted, and important to the decision, that none of the responsible authorities had made representations nor suggested any changes to the conditions proposed.

“This is not an application for a completely new event, more the extension of an existing one and on the evidence it is clear that all the responsible authorities are content that the operation of the existing event is being conducted to promote the licensing objectives and those authorities also are of the same view with this application.”

Great Western Railway has already said that it will try to accommodate more passengers when the regatta is extended.

Jane Jones, the company’s head of public affairs, told a meeting of the Henley Branch User Group that it would review its special trains plan, which provided extra carriages on every train during this year’s event, resulting in a total of 48,000 seats a day.

• Next year’s regatta will take place from Wednesday to Sunday, July 1 to 5.

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