Friday Street Slip Officially Reopened

The Friday Street slipway was officially reopened on Saturday with paddleboarders launching their boards from it.  They were joined by members of The River Thames and The Henley Societies and Mark Rowberry who had campaigned for 3 years to get the slipway reopened.

The saga started back in 2011 when Sorbon were given planning permission by SODC to replace old moorings with new ones, which then blocked the slipway.  In the summer of 2020 Sorbon decided to level the slipway with concrete without permission.  In April 2021 Henley Town Council reached an agreement with Sorbon that the slipway would be restored. After no action by Sorbon to remove the concrete, Henley Town Council employed contractors to remove the concrete in December 2021.  It is understood that Sorbon were billed for the work and made payment.  In April this year, two years later from the original agreement, Sorbon confirmed that they had appointed a contractor and work would start to remove the pontoons ready for the summer season.  Further delays and excuses have been made over the last 3 months for the work to start.

A chain which was padlocked across the slipway was removed on Saturday by Councillor David Eggleton as it was a health and safety hazard.

Geoff Luckett, Chair of The Henley Society said, “We are absolutely delighted it has reopened.  It’s been hard slog and a lot of hard work by a number of people including ourselves, the River Thames Society, Henley Town Council and resident Mark Rowberry.  I don’t think the EA have come out of this at all well.  They have held most of the trump cards but just haven’t used them.”

John Skuse Chairman of the Middle Thames Branch of The River Thames Society said, “It is taken 3 years. It’s been immense hard work and it probably hasn’t finished yet as there are few other bits and pieces to be tidied up.  We’re absolutely delighted to see that we have got this far especially for people like the paddleboarders using it for the purposes intended so our efforts have not been in vain.”

Mark Rowberry added, “We got there in the end.  Absolutely delighted and over the moon.  I live locally so I’m going to watch with delight people using it. The Anchor pub have offered people can use their car park if they come in for a drink before or afterwards.”



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