Oxfordshire County Council have now confirmed that they have plans in place to repair the stonework on Henley bridge, replace the missing pavement stones and remove the graffiti next year.
The stonework has not been repaired for many years. A boat crashed into the bridge in 2018 and took a large piece out from one of the arch covings. The H graffiti was sprayed on the bridge in May 2022 and the pavement was tarmacked after the stones were cracked caused by the removal by an internet installation company in July 2021. The tarmac was laid as an Health & Safety matter. The company was fined periodically by OCC for their tardiness but have now gone out of business.
An Oxfordshire spokesperson said, “The stonework repairs to the bridge are intended to be carried out in late autumn 2024 to comply with the Environment Agency imposed navigation restrictions on the River Thames. The graffiti removal could, however, be carried out before this, once Listed Building Consent is obtained from the respective Planning Authorities, which may be early summer next year.
“Funding has not been an issue in scheduling the removal of the graffiti, but rather the delay is due to the need to engage with heritage specialists in confirming a suitable method of sensitively removing the graffiti given the listed status of the bridge to avoid any unintended damage being caused.
“Additionally, further works to replace damaged / missing paving stones on the footway over the bridge are also being prepared.”