Make Henley Shine – Questions & Answers

Make Henley Shine is a 10 year capital Arts project spanning arts, education and the formation of a charity to illuminate Henley Bridge sustainably. We have a wide range of support from people living in and around Henley, to businesses, schools and community organisations.

The project will reinvigorate a large, dark area of Henley and highlight the beautiful architecture of our Grade l-listed Bridge. Also, it will celebrate the rich history of the river and the trade it brought to the town.

Make Henley Shine plans to provide educational opportunities through an annual competition for young people to design a unique lighting display for one week in the year which will foster creativity and digital skills. In addition, we plan to partner with specialists in renewable energy to work with schools to design a renewable electricity solution using the river flow. In so doing, it will contribute towards Henley Town Council’s net zero target.

The charity will offer annual grants to young people who are excelling in the Arts to help support and develop their interest and/or study.

Whilst we respect there are always differing views, we feel duty bound to correct some inaccurate information that has been shared. So we have provided an easy to read Question and Answer section below.

Why should we illuminate Henley bridge?

The aim of this project is to celebrate the Bridge, by bringing it into its rightful place as the centre piece of the nocturnal townscape setting and highlighting the bridge’s beautiful architectural qualities.

The project will not only have economic benefits by increasing footfall from residents living in and around the town as well as our many visitors, but will also provide increased safety to boats navigating the bridge in the dark hours.

Will the lights be sustainable?

The Bridge will have the world’s most sustainable LED lighting with 456 individual LED nodes that follow the line of each arch and balustrade and so echo the iconic Grade I listed Bridge that will greet visitors to the town.

It is also the first part in the project jigsaw; leading to the review and further improvements to the rest of the town’s lighting, acting as a catalyst to support Henley’s Net Zero sustainability targets.

Who is behind the Make Henley Shine initiative?

A team who have been working on the project for 3 years, headed up by Daniel Bausor who worked on the London Illuminated River project and includes local architect and recently elected Town Councillor, Gavin Jackson.  They are joined by Oliver Mahony, Emma Levy and Michaela Clarke (Herald Editor).

Who will provide the lights and install them?

Signify (formerly Phillips Lighting) the world’s leading sustainable lighting manufacturer will provide the lights. Their products light millions of buildings worldwide including Grade 1 listed buildings and iconic bridges. The light source would come from flat, mini ultra low energy LED nodes. This would comprise points of light laid over the arches and linked to each other with a single cable.

When will the LED lights be on?

From dusk until midnight therefore shorter in summer months and longer in winter.

Will the lights be flashing on and off?

No – the lights are programmable so that they can be switched on at dusk and turned off at midnight.

What colour will the lights be?

The lights will be a warm white colour for most of the year – equivalent to moonlight on the river.

It is proposed that the lights could be different colours for up to 5 weeks a year for the lighting design competition for young people as well as to celebrate events like Henley Royal Regatta, Henley Literary Festival etc.

How will the lights be fixed to the bridge?

The lights will be installed from the river so there will be no closure to the road across Henley Bridge.

In terms of the fixings themselves we have consulted with Historic England, South Oxfordshire District Council Planning & Conservation teams, Oxfordshire County Council (the team responsible for repair and maintenance of the Bridge). The conclusion was that the most appropriate methodology is to fix each line of LED lights with marine grade stainless steel button head screws into the mortar joints, thereby protecting the stonework.

How will the lights show off the architecture of the bridge when they are fixed to it?

The lights sit on the 5 arches and along the base of the balustrade, highlighting the form of the radial  arches, which are key to the special architectural character of the bridge. Additionally, they uplight, the stonework with their 140 degree spread of light, showcasing the details of the key stones, cornicing, dentil courses and buttress caps.

Why isn’t the proposal to project light onto the bridge rather than add lights to the structure?

The principle of flood lighting was rejected as they would require substantial mechanical fixings and need such high light levels to be able to light to the centre of the bridge. This would cause glare to drivers on the bridge as light would pass through the balustrading and cast long shadows.

Shining light directly facing down on to the river would also affect the fish population and aquatic species so this was another reason to discount this idea.

What will the impact will be on the bats and other wildlife living around the bridge?

No bats, or evidence of bats were found during the inspection of the bridge. The Henley Bridge was assessed to have negligible potential to support roosting bats. The proposed development is unlikely to have negative impacts on nearby animal habitat sites due to sufficient distance from the site and the small scale of the proposed works.

The sensitive lighting scheme proposed is to minimise any potential adverse effect on wildlife. The sensitive lighting scheme for bats has been taken into account the guidelines found in the Bat Conservation Trust’s ‘Recommendations to help minimise the impact of artificial lighting’.

How will project mitigate against the lights attracting insects?

Our mission is to create a biodiversity net gain by lowering the light levels around the bridge. We are already working with Brakspear to look at the lighting at The Angel on the Bridge pub. By reducing the level of white light and lowering the intensity of the surrounding lights, a better environment for invertebrates would be created.

Will there be any impact on the fish and other aquatic species?

No – there will no impact because the lights will be not directed on to the water.

How are the lights sustainable?

Signify (formerly Phillips Lighting), the world leader in lighting, has created the Green Switch programme. LED and connected lighting offer one of the simplest and most often overlooked paths to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Signify’s sustainability program Brighter Lives, Better World 2025 includes commitments in the areas of climate action, circular economy and social impact.  In 2020 they were carbon neutral in their operations, 29% of revenues came from circular products, systems or services and they had zero waste to landfill.

How much will the bridge lights cost to install?

The budget cost to purchase the lights and install them is around £200K.

How is the project going to be financed?

The project so far has been financed through a number of local organisations and individuals who have pledged money.  Further pledges from organisations and private donors have been made subject to planning being approved.  Once planning has been approved we will also be launching a crowdfunding campaign with a series of prizes including the opportunity to purchase one of 460 nodes and have your name on a plaque.

How much will the lights cost to run?

The power requirement is 2,787 Kwhrs per year, which equates to around £1.15 per night or nominally £420 per year compared to an outdoor 2kw electric outdoor heater that many pubs and restaurants use which costs 40p per hour or over £1,100 for just one heater!

Who will have ownership of the lights once they are installed?

Henley Town Council will be given full control of the lights and the light levels.

Here are just some of the statements of support we have received:

Mark Dunlop from the Angel on the Bridge

As the landlord of the Angel on the Bridge for the last 17 years, I’d love to see the lights on the bridge. It’s a welcome addition to the town (when done in a sensitive way so as to not damage the bridge). It will greatly enhance the riverside location of the town and positively promote Henley.

Jonathan Hobbs, Hobbs of Henley

We would support the Bridge light planning application as an illuminated Bridge would improve safer navigation on the river at night and encourage more night time boat trips which would enhance the night time economy of Henley.

The Make Henley Shine project team has worked diligently over the last three years to come up with a sensitive, sustainable and ecologically-aware proposal and have taken advice from organisations and stakeholders at every stage. We would really welcome your support by adding positive statements to the planning applications at

We would really welcome your support by adding positive statements to the planning applications at

South Oxfordshire District Council

Wokingham Borough Council

Daniel Bausor & the Make Henley Shine Team


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