Public Meeting to Discuss New Proposal for Bridge Lights

Photo: Russell Cleaver

A public meeting to discuss a new proposal for permanent lights to be fitted on Henley Bridge has been organised by Clive Hemsley on Wednesday 29 January between 6.30-8.00pm at Henley Town Hall.

Clive is inviting all interested parties to attend including residents, representatives from all stakeholder Councils (Henley, Wokingham, South Oxfordshire and Oxfordshire) along with Historic England and members of Henley Society and Henley Archaeological and Historical Group.

Temporary lights were fitted by Clive without planning permission in February 2018 and were turned off in October last year after Wokingham District Council (WDC) rejected the first planning application for the permanent lights. The notice of refusal by WDC said, “The proposal includes insufficient information for the Local Planning Authority to properly assess the potential harm to the significance of designated heritage assets. There is no clear and convincing justification for any potential harm and it is not clear that the proposal would conserve or enhance the character and special architectural interest of the Grade 1 Listed Bridge and surrounding Conservation Area.”  A petition started by the Henley Herald  in February 2018 saw 2400+ people sign to keep the lights.

Clive said, “To the residents of Henley – thank you for your continued support. It would be good for all Henley residents to have an update on the continuing saga of ON/OFF lights of Henley bridge and would urge people to come to the meeting.  We know that Wokingham District Council have refused the first application but since that application different fixings have been sourced which will ensure (no screws or nails) and we have new samples for everybody to see including the new LED modules.”

Tim Shickle from Highway Asset Management at Oxfordshire County Council is supporting the application providing the fixings are approved by all parties including historic agencies and the sample LED modules are approved by all agencies and are safety approved including being low voltage. The general census of actual mood lights on the bridge is approved by the majority of agencies and residents.”

Henley Mayor, Councillor Ken Arlett will be chairing the meeting and a presentation will be made by Clive followed by a Q&A session.

Tim Shickle said, “Work is being done to establish the feasibility of re-applying for planning permission to install a permanent set of LED lights on the Henley Bridge. This work will be done in conjunction with multiple agencies/stakeholders.”

It is not the first time the bridge has been festooned with lights, the 1902 photo below shows this.

  1. Jo says:

    I think the bridge is a key part of Henleys beauty and the lights are an enhancement. The lights contribute greatly in the winter evenings( a time of year that small towns can seem drab, and need added vibrancy). The lights lift the mood for residents and visitors alike.

  2. Pat says:

    I love our bridge in Henley. But NOT festooned with tacky fairy lights. We keep hearing about the 2,400 people who have signed a petition supporting Clive Helmsley, who seems determined to inflict these lights on the community. The population of Henley is actually over 11,000 people, who have not been offered a petition to sign against this scheme. Why will Clive not take no for an answer?


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