Disgusting Rubbish Left All Over Meadows

Hundreds of people enjoyed picnicking on Mill and Marsh Meadows on Saturday in the sunshine, unfortunately though they left most of their rubbish strewn all over the meadows.

Angry local residents aired their views on Facebook and posted these photos showing the rubbish.

Oliver Miles who posted the first photos said, “I’ve never see such a complete mess as this morning down on Mill Meadows. I gave up taking photos as the total mess of plastic, bags, food, bones, plastic drifting into the river was so annoying that I couldn’t take any more than this. To the complete and utter prats who thought having hundreds of people having a BBQ in a public place without permission, thank you for leaving our normally beautiful meadows in tact. THIS HAS TO STOP BEFORE IT GETS WORSE. I have two dogs and we cannot walk them down the river in the summer because of the this and the abuse we receive from those having the BBQs. I’m not alone and I’m fed up. Henley Town Council had better sort this out before further incidents and pollution happen. Well done those who’ve had the BBQs, you’ve ruined it for the rest.”

Many of the people picnicking and barbecuing were celebrating the Sikh Vaisakhi festival.

Councillor Will Hamilton posted, “So tonight I have been down to the Mill Meadows and I have explained the problems of last night. I spoke with six separate groups all barbecuing who were all responsible, friendly, and apologetic. They would like to come again next year on the same date.  They realise they need better planning and to contribute to the cost of the bins and collection. Tonight’s crowd will take all their rubbish home and they have refuse bags to do so. The way forward is to have a proper dialogue with every group. And I will call on the Mayor to have a Special Full Council or an agenda item for such a discussion. So we all do care, and despite the hiatus of the last year, we want to make our parks great again.”

Henley Mayor, Councillor Kellie Hinton said, “Like everybody who has commented on social media or visited the area yesterday or the day before, I am disgusted by the reported incidents on Saturday 14th at Mill and Marsh Meadows. This is not something new and is something that has been discussed and dealt with several times by the relevant council committees. We have tried numerous things such as extra staff on duty, communicating with certain community groups we have known to be responsible previously, banned bbqs, allowed bbqs but with designated areas/bbq stumps, installed signage. Like all councillors, I’d like to resolve this and we are open to suggestions. There have been some great ideas already from residents which Cllr Sarah Miller has already put forward to be discussed as she chairs the Recreation and Amenities Committee. However, despite whatever we come up with to help when these problems arise, there will always be some people who disrespect the area when they visit. It is at those times we also need to be able to rely on our local police to assist, although I am aware they can only do something if there is illegal activity going on. Catching people in the act of doing something is hard. As usual, the Park Services team is there to make things right and particular thanks should go to Alex Bell, who had to deal with the enormous mess when he turned up for work the next day!”




  1. BB says:

    This has happened before and they keep doing it. They should not be allow to do it again. It is not a family/friends pick-nick. It is a proper celebration/festival with hundreds of people, they should hired a venue like other people will do. That way they can do whatever they want but they will be financially punish if they misbehave.

  2. The Lazy Politician says:

    Mayor Hinton says it’s not something new….so why wasn’t her next sentence simply a grovelling apology for failing to deal with it? Think it through, please, Kellie and Council, you need to drive our town forward but instead you seem to be in react mode. If all these picnickers bring everything from home, what we have here is a situation that contributes zero to our local economy while costing ratepayers a cleanup!!

    • Cllr Ian Reissmann says:

      We have tried to deal with the issues arising from lots of visitors coming to Henley and having BBQ’s at Mill/Marsh Meadows. We could just ban them, but how would we do that without banning Henley residents too ? We want to see people enjoying themselves in our meadows. We also have to spend money clearing up the town after Regatta. Should we ban that too ?

      Council staff went in and bagged and cleared up the mess. I know that’s reactive. That doesn’t make it bad.

      Another poster has made some more helpful suggestions. We’ll look at these, but there’s no perfect answer. We’ll continue to do our best. Let us know if you have any suggestions.

      • Mrs McNamars says:

        Why can there not be an enclosed bbq area, while banning them elsewhere?
        What is going to be done about the continuous use of the trees and bushes as a public convenience? I was unfortunately privy to this behaviour last weekend and on numerous occasions last summer. This is a health and safety issue.

  3. james says:

    Why not put up some signage advising that there are BBq ‘stumps’ are available and a map! Might be a start! Also, more waste bins which can cope. It’s not rocket science!

  4. Eva says:

    There were plenty of full black rubbish bags and litter today (Monday) when I was walking my dog at the meadows this morning. It’s not an “us vs them” situation, as we all have responsibilities. Ideas are:
    – The Council starts a “leave no trace” campaign with a coherent strategy ASAP to keep henley litter and dog poo free like Poole has done on the past.
    – Start charging for mill meadows car park at weekends and spring/summer evenings to minimise free large gatherings and to generate income for the extra patrols needed to encourage people to take their litter home.
    – change the bins to ones with lids so that scavenging birds don’t remove food litter from the bins and scatter it across the meadows. I’ve seen this happen.
    – Provide suitable litter services for moored boat owners. funded by the mooring charges the council collects.
    I love our town and if everyone takes responsibility to “leave no trace” led by our Council as part of a coherent strategy for littter, then I believe we can make progress on this issue.

  5. Tracy Trimmings says:

    Do people not have their own bins at home. If you plan to stay for the day or good part of it and you have a picnic why don’t you just bag it up and put in your own bins, those bin are surly meant for the odd empty can the lolly pop stick, not a full black bag full of rubbish, I feel sorry for the park keepers trying to keep up with the lazy people not taking their own rubbish, even when the park keepers empty the bin some thoughtless lazy person comes along and puts a full sack in the bin which means the bin is full straight away. Thoughtless lazy visitors and praise to the park keepers.


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