Henley Town Council have voted this week not to charge residents of Rod Eyot island to moor at Mill and Marsh Meadows after residents complained.
The proposal to charge £290 per annum was put forward at the Recreation & Amenities Committee on 31 August. At that meeting three residents of Rod Eyot, spoke separately about the proposed mooring permits for residents of the island. One resident expressed general dissatisfaction at the way the Council runs its moorings and deals with issues on the river, including the introduction of the new temporary moorings payment system operated by District Enforcement which started on 3 August 2021. Councillor Kellie Hinton responded that offers had been made on two occasions to meet with residents to discuss their concerns. Another resident was unhappy at having to pay to use the moorings for short visits, when for environmental as well as practical reasons, they felt that using a boat was preferable to driving into the town. The third resident raised concerns that users of the river who moor at the Meadows during the day, had to register using smartphones which may exclude some from the access they need.
The Town Clerk responded that the mooring enforcement system had been introduced partly in response to residents’ complaints about boats overstaying their moorings. Boats could be registered by making a phone call as well as on-line and whilst there had been a few teething problems in the initial weeks following the introduction of the new payment system, these were being addressed and included the proposed permit system for Rod Eyot residents.
The Committee considered a proposal to offer permits to Rod Eyot residents to moor at Mill and Marsh Meadows during the charging period, for a reduced fee. Some members questioned whether the £290 per annum charge was appropriate and suggested a nominal fee to cover the administrative cost was more reasonable. The Town Clerk clarified that although not previously enforced, residents had always been expected to pay the overnight fee of £10 if mooring outside of the hours of 10am to 3pm. What was being offered was a reduced rate for Rod Eyot residents. It was further proposed that the recommendation be amended to specify “one small open boat per residence, for a minimum permit period of 3-months.”
A vote was taken on the proposal but was not agreed by a two thirds majority of those present at the Recreations & Amenities Committee. The proposal was then referred to Full Council.
At the Full Council this week the Rod Eyot residents got the result they wanted. The Council agreed that could apply for boat identification in the form of either a card in a plastic wallet or a sticker to be displayed clearly on their boat when mooring along the tow path at Mill Meadows. Each residence would be able to apply for up to two boat IDs. To obtain a boat ID, residents would have to show proof of residence and proof of boat license. The boat ID system would be reviewed after one
year. The scheme would be at no cost to the residents of Rod Eyot.