Friday, 12 August 2022

Drivers suffer two days of delays due to sewer repairs

DRIVERS faced long delays coming through Henley this week due to emergency sewer repairs.

DRIVERS faced long delays coming through Henley this week due to emergency sewer repairs.

Hart Steet was closed eastbound between its junction with Duke Street and Thames Side on Monday and Tuesday while Thames Water contractors carried out the work.

The roadworks could last until the end of next week but on Tuesday evening Hart Street was opened in both directions on a give-way basis with the agreement of Oxfordshire County Council and Thames Water.

On Monday and Tuesday, traffic built up on the town’s one-way system, causing long delays for drivers coming into Henley via Reading Road, White Hill, Wargrave Road and Fair Mile. The congestion was made worse by roadworks in Wargrave Road.

On Tuesday morning, tailbacks stretched back past the turning to Middle Assendon.

Some town centre businesses complained that they had lost trade as a result of the disruption. Gillian Nahum, who owns Boatique in Hart Street, said: “The footfall in the town fell right down. I think a lot of people couldn’t get in.

“People who were intending to visit the town just weren’t getting anywhere. Lots of people were turning round on Remenham Hill and going the other way.”

Ms Nahum, who is also director of Henley Sales and Charter, said some visiting clients were up to an hour late for appointments due to the traffic.

Georgie Court, manager of Foam in Hart Street, said the shop’s takings were down by half on Monday and Tuesday.

She said: “People go up into the town to park and if it takes them a long time they don’t then walk down to us because they are rushing about.”

Lawrence Morris, owner of Lawrence Menswear in Duke Street, said it took him twice as long as normal to drive to Henley from his home in Twyford.

He said: “I know work needs to be done but there must be ways to do it while keeping the traffic moving.

“Does it affect business? Inevitably, yes, it will but I do not know by how much. If people come in and say what a pain it has been to get into the town they might not come in again.”

Richard Cross, managing director of the Dashwood Boat Company in Hart Street, said that one day the journey from the Hobbs of Henley boatyard in Wargrave Road to the junction of Station Road and Reading Road took him 50 minutes.

The Argyll pub in Market Place had to wait an extra hour-and-a-half for a beer delivery to arrive on Monday morning.

Town centre manager Peter McConnell said people had to accept there wasn’t an ideal time for roadworks.

“I think we would all rather it wasn’t happening but unfortunately it is an issue we can’t do very much about,” he said.

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