Positive Discussions Taking Place to Reopen Slipway to Give Access for Small Crafts

Canoeists, paddle boarders and small boat owners will hopefully be able to use the Friday Street public slipway from next Spring after discussions have been taking place with the owners of the moorings blocking the slipway (Sorbon Estates) and the Environmental Agency (EA).

The Henley Society, Henley Town Council and The River Thames Society have been putting increasing pressure on the EA to get the obstructing moorings removed that were installed in 2011 after planning permission was granted to replace the old moorings and increase the number of moorings from 14 to 16.  At the time the EA made no objections to the planning application.

In the summer of 2020 Sorbon Estates levelled and concreted the slipway without planning permission and used it for car parking.  Despite repeated reassurances that the concrete would be removed by Sorbon, Henley Town Council eventually contracted the work to remove the concrete themselves in December 2021 and billed Sorbon for the cost which has now been paid.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said, “Environment Agency staff have met the owners of the pontoon adjacent to the slipway on Friday Street, Henley. They have discussed measures that need to be taken to enhance river access for members of the public. No timescales have been advised at this stage and discussions are ongoing.”

Town Clerk, Sheridan Jacklin-Edward said, “The Town Council is delighted to hear that the slipway will soon be available to use once more, especially following the Town Council’s work last year to restore the slipway. We’d like to thank the River Thames Society and all those who have joined the Council in championing the cause, and especially to the Environment Agency for bringing this issue to a satisfactory conclusion. We’d also like to thank Sorbon Estates for their cooperation and recognition of this important local amenity.”