Steps into the river to allow swimmers to safely enter have been been proposed by Councillor Kellie Hinton, Chair of the Town Council’s Recreation & Amenities Committee.
The Town Council are currently obtaining costs for independent, expert advice on repairing the river bank along Mill and Marsh Meadows and part of this proposal was for a ladder or steps to to be provided to enable a person to climb out of the river if required. A location close to the River and Rowing Museum landing stage was originally suggested.
In a report to the R&A Committee Councillor Hinton proposed that the steps could be located at the far end of Marsh Meadows (see images above), close to the small wooden footbridge that leads to Mill Lane where there are currently overhanging trees and shallow water so boats are unable to moor there.
The Henley Mermaids who regularly swim in the River Thames have supported the proposal and have also suggested that they would like to see a buoyed off area for swimmers to swim safely in the river.
At the R&A meeting this week, Councillors agreed that Town Council officers should investigate this further to include costings, legal standing with regard to inviting people to swim in the river and their liability and insurance cover. To seek advice from the Environment Agency on how to progress the project and the permissions required.