River Bank Collapses After Long Overdue Repairs Needed

A large length of river bank (around 2-3 boats) on Marsh Meadows has collapsed and has been barriered off to make it safe by Henley Town Council who own the land.

The river bank and moorings along both Mill Meadows and Marsh Meadows have been in a long decline over many years with no work done on them since 2014 when some sheet piling was installed on Marsh Meadows at a cost of £10K.

In September 2017 Henley Town Council’s Recreations & Amenities Committee received and considered a draft brief with regards to repairs to the riverbank and moorings at Mill and Marsh Meadows. The Town Clerk advised at the time, that as this project will exceed £25k there is a requirement to place the brief on the Government website – Contracts Finder.

Councillors acknowledged the need for this structural work to be undertaken as a holistic project rather than repairing small sections at a time and this would also provide the opportunity to vastly improve the visual appearance of this hugely important riverside reach and enhance the beauty of the river and the Meadows, and therefore the importance of the aesthetic value should be highlighted in the brief.  Councillors noted this project would require considerable investment and the Town Clerk confirmed the Accountant is including a line in the budget for next year and grant opportunities would be investigated.

Three years later, in October 2020, a survey was presented to the R&A Committee again which stated that on Marsh Meadows, “A 10.8 metre section of river bank is lower with no steel angle iron. At each end of this the high sections have a section of angle iron which could be a hazard. We would recommend installing new steel piling in front of the existing piling to the same level as the adjacent piling and the land behind levelled to suit the adjacent land along with a further 7.8 metre section and a 4.1 m + 2.2 m section either side of a tree.”

In January 2021 a specification was added to the government’s Contract Finder for the repairs and 7 bids were received by the Council. In April 2021 the R&A agenda progress report stated that a further cost for independent advice was being sought.  In May 2021 the item on the report said that the project will be led by the Town Clerk, time permitting.  There has been no further update since and it was removed from the agenda in June 2022.

In the HTC accounts there is a budget line for river bank repairs for £98,090.

A spokesperson Henley Town Council this week said, “The safety and well-being of our community are our utmost priority and we are actively working to address the situation. Upon receiving notice of the collapse, our Parks Team promptly took action to cordon off the affected area, ensuring public safety and preventing any potential hazards.

“A survey has been initiated to assess the extent of the damage and determine the most effective course of action for repairs. We await the recommendations from this survey to proceed with necessary measures. In fact, a comprehensive survey of all riverbank land owned by the Town Council had already been commissioned. This proactive approach will allow us to identify and address any potential vulnerabilities promptly.”





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