Make Henley Shine Present Their Proposal to Town Council

The Make Henley Shine team to light up Henley bridge made a presentation to the Town Council’s Town & Community committee meeting last night.

The presentation to Councillors included the proposed sustainable lighting system including how it would be fitted, timing of the installation, financial and fundraising targets and initiatives and the status of the planning application.

Daniel Bausor, Chair of Make Henley Shine said, “We have listened to the town’s feedback which was they obviously didn’t want Blackpool illuminations and we don’t want that either. We want something that really fits with Henley.  We believe that this gives Henley the opportunity to be the first town outside of London to have a sustainably lit bridge which we think will help revitalise the town especially as we come out of Covid.”

The Henley Society recently polled their members about the new proposal to which they had 147 responses (25% membership) with 83% respondents saying yes and 14% saying no.

The sustainable lighting system will be 470 individual LED bulbs laid over the arches of the bridge on both sides supplied by Signify who have supplied sustainable lighting for the London’s Illuminated River project.  People wishing to support the fundraising of project will have the opportunity to pledge £150 for a bulb and have their name/family name on a plaque.  This will form part of the crowdfunding initiative to raise £140K for the project which will be launched in the Spring, along with other special rewards that can be pledged for.

The campaign has raised £30,000 to date through individual and corporate donations.  The team have spent £7,500 towards ecology and heritage reports which will support the SODC planning application which was originally submitted in February 2020.  Architect, Gavin Jackson, a member of the team, will also be updating the application with the new sustainable lighting system details.  Gavin said at the meeting, “The lights will shine on the surfaces of the stone.  The product is a world leading system and Signify has experience of lighting bridges all over the world.  The lights are manufactured in a sustainable factory powered by 100% renewable energy.

They have a 25 year life span and have super low energy requirements.  We have taken advice from the heritage and ecology reports on the fittings and working with Oxfordshire County Council (who own the bridge).  Once we gain approval from SODC, we will submit and mirror the application to Wokingham Borough Council.”

Stephen Rouatt, CEO, UK and Ireland, Signify said, “Light is one of the most powerful means of breathing new life into cities and towns, heralding a new era of urban design and beautification. We’ve lit bridges around the world and seen first-hand the positive impact that dynamic architectural lighting has on transforming local communities and economies. Color Kinetics, a scalable and innovative technology, is a perfect solution as it can help achieve a unique vision for the bridge. We are excited with the opportunity to be a part of the project and it would be great to be able to give residents and visitors of Henley a stunningly-lit up iconic bridge.”

Daniel added, “This is a real opportunity to celebrate the river and the town.  We are in the early stages of forming a charity which will have an annual schools competition to create a unique lighting design and other initiatives around the history and river.  We hope that the project goes live in 2022 as it’s the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year and it would be a great celebration of this.”

Once the light installation is in place, the proposal is that the Town Council adopt the lights and take control of the lighting and times they are on (early evening to midnight) depending on the time of year.

Councillors recommended to note the presentation and look forward to receiving further updates on the project.  Town Clerk, Sheridan Jacklin-Edward informed the group about the Town Council’s grant application to apply for funding for the project.

If you would like to get involved in the project or interested about sponsorship opportunities, please email