The public gallery was surprisingly full at the first Full Council Meeting of the new Mayoral year this week with residents raising concerns about the crime and anti-social behaviour, rubbish and lack of female-only toilets.
Eva Rickett raised the issue of street cleanliness. She said, “Walking from our home in Kings Road to our shop (Henley Scan) on Southside gives me pleasure irrelevant of the weather. We walk around town most days and I’m currently not proud of what I see. Lately, our footpaths and roads are getting dirtier and dirtier. The difference is not twice as bad since we started walking 2 years ago to the shop, it’s much more. It is not a pretty sight. There’s rubbish, sand or building rubble, food bits, dog poo and more. On market days, there is frequently lose rubbish flying around the square when we walk home, which I am sure I never saw to the same extent 2 years ago. When it is bin day, many leave their clear or pink bags outside the night before, which is sensible if the binmen are early, but foxes and other wild animals are having a feast, and not very good at tidying up after themselves. The bags get opened, ruffled through and then the rubbish goes everywhere.” The Council agreed to note and take actions on these points with SODC.
Will Hall raised the increase in crime and anti-social behaviour. He said, “In my mind crime and anti-social behaviour is getting worse every year. You see people walking around the streets at midday drunk out of their minds and Regatta is just around the corner and it’s a time when a lot of people in Henley are afraid to go outside their front door. I wondered if Henley Town Council would write to the Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police requesting an urgent review of community policing in Henley to make sure we keep Henley as a safe place.”
Anne-Marie Scanlon asked why there was not a dedicated female toilet in the Kings Road car park. All of them are either unisex or a male urinal. Councillor Hinton confirmed that the decision for this was made by South Oxfordshire District Council prior to herself or Councillors Gawrysiak and Arlett being District Councillors. She confirmed that they when the Greys Road car park ones were refurbished a couple of years ago they made it clear that there should be a female only toilet. Councillor Hinton said, “I am right behind you and will be addressing this and if it is not resolved I will be kicking off.”