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Exclusive Report - Henley Railway Station
By Parish Councillor George Matheou
The poor condition and vandalism of our local railway station has been an issue with the people of Henley for more than a decade. Numerous articles have been written in the local press and various adjectives such as ‘eyesore’ and others have been used to describe the buildings and the overall poor housekeeping.
However, I am pleased to report that recently there has been some progress in improving matters. Network Rail has replaced the panels of the doors and windows with new more substantial panels that have been painted brown to blend better with the bricks. Central Trains has informed me, and I can confirm, that the overall housekeeping at the station has also improved. The platforms, stairs and footbridge are being swept and rusty nails have been removed from the gate. Security at the station is being tightened with the British Transport Police playing a leading role. CCTV cameras are to be installed in the near future. A zero tolerance policy towards vandalism is to be adopted. It is important to emphasise that the actual operations of the station were never affected by the poor condition of the buildings and the trains still run every hour.
Our local railway station is an important economic asset for our town as well as for the Railway companies. Commuters are using it to go to work, pupils are using it to go to local schools and college, many of us use it to go to Birmingham or Stratford and tourists and others use it to come to Henley. We must also bear in mind that train travel provides a major solution to the problem of traffic congestion and environmental pollution. Congestion charges have been introduced in some cities and taxation based on the miles traveled by car is currently being discussed at Government level. We are fortunate that we have a railway station in our town.
It is an economic principle that any asset to be efficient has to be made to work to its full potential. For this to happen something more substantial needs to be done. In fact the whole station site needs to be refurbished and redeveloped. Given timely managerial decision making and goodwill by the key players involved, there is no reason why this cannot be achieved within one year.
It is important to clarify at this stage that the Joint Parish Council (JPC) has no direct responsibility and consequently no authority over the Railway station. However, JPC has a keen interest in all matters that affect the environment, safety, image and economy of the town. Since the local railway station affects the people of Henley in several of these areas we have a duty to be an active player in its future.
So what is our policy? Our policy was formulated during an in depth investigation and analysis which was carried out by Councillors George Atkinson, Gerrie Bruce and myself in the period September to November 2004. The resulting Feasibility report is in the public domain. The objectives that we are trying to achieve are specific and assuming that all parties work in harmony also attainable i.e.
We have to put life back in the abandoned buildings. This means that they need to be refurbished and redeveloped. Railtrack (now Network Rail) put the buildings for sale in November 2000 and are now in the process of negotiating the sale. The external design of the building must look like a Railway Station, be sympathetic to the railway site and in keeping with our Parish Plan requirements. (Progress to date: The sale negotiation is at an advanced stage. The potential purchaser of the railway buildings has agreed in principle with objective No.1)
The car park also needs to be redeveloped and if necessary expanded to the south to include sufficient spaces for the rail passengers in addition to the staff and visitors who may work at the redeveloped building. Note: this is not a ‘public car park’. It is a railways and private car park. (Progress to date: My understanding is that in principle there is an agreement with objective No.2. More discussions will be needed in due course.)
The bridge and canopy needs to be refurbished. (Progress to date: There is an agreement in principle. More discussions will be needed in due course.)
Security to be improved with the installation of CCTV cameras and more active presence of the British Transport Police. A zero tolerance policy towards vandalism should be adopted. (Progress to date: Objective will be achieved in the near future).
Housekeeping to be substantially improved and to be maintained to a high standard. (Achieved to some extent. Will need to be revisited when redevelopment is completed.)
To improve communications, co-ordination and co-operation by setting-up a steering-group for the Henley Station with participants from Network Rail, Central Trains, JPC, the Purchaser of the station buildings, the Manager responsible for promoting rail travel in our area and Shakespeare Line Promotion Group. It is essential that all parties work together and to have a unity of purpose. (Achieved. A Steering Group for the Henley Station has been set up. We have had one meeting and we communicate regularly by telephone and Email).
The new refurbished station to be advertised and all us should encourage its use. (Agreed in principle. Details to be discussed at a later stage).
Henley station has been problematic and an embarrassment to us for a long time. We now have a somewhat structured approach to make progress and all parties despite their different interests work together. Richard Bowker, the Chairman and Chief Executive of Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) in support of the notion of Community Rail stated in February 2004 that ‘branch lines are important for social and economic reasons’. I agree with his vision. At present we are focusing on the economic aspect. We shall not forget the ‘social’ part of the equation which we shall visit in due course.
Standard declaration I am a Councillor of the Beaudesert and Henley-in-Arden Joint Parish Council. The above represents my personal opinion and not the Council’s and should not be taken as the Council’s policy, decision or view.
Annual Schools Music Festival
The Rotary Club of Henley-in-Arden will be organising their long-running ANNUAL MUSIC FESTIVAL for local school children, including student from:
Henley High School
Henley Junior and Infants
St Mary's RC Junior and Infants
Claverdon Junior and Infants
Tanworth Junior and Infants
Wootton Wawen Junior & Infants
Rotarian Alan James, who is chairman of the organising committee, has told Henley NEWS on-line that this popular event brings together students from around the district for a celebration of their talent and dedication.
Alan said "The Henley-in-Arden Rotary Club has organised this event for many years and it is typical of our support for the next generation. We invite all the residents of Henley to enjoy a fabulous evening at Henley High School on Wednesday 22nd June at 7 pm."
For further information, please contact Alan James on 01564 778831
Parking "Never on Sunday" - a success
Alan Robson whose article appeared in Henley NEWS on-line last week about the over zealous parking wardens who ticketed his car on a Sunday, has advised us of the outcome.
"The council has now admitted their mistake and cancelled the fine."
Remember, "Jamais le dimanche" for parking tickets in Henley.
Arden Tandoori reopens
The High Bailiff of Henley-in-Arden Mr. Brian Jacks on together with Town Crier Mr. Gordon Trinder, and proprietor Mr. Nanu Miah officially opened the refurbished Arden Tandoori Restaurant in Henley's High Street.
The Arden Tandoori has been in Henley over 21 years and the restaurant has been internally refurbished to the highest standard, yet the original features of the 400 year old building have been care fully retained. The official opening was attended by over 400 guests including members of the Court Leet who enjoyed the splendid Indian cuisine and fine wines on a very enjoyable afternoon.
In the past, the restaurant as attracted celebrities such as Sir Cliff Richard, Simon and Yasmin Le-bon, Roy Wood, Jasper Carrot, and Prince Moussin Ali Khan of Hydrabad.
The owner Mr. Nanu Miah said he was extremely pleased with the new facilities especially the modern kitchens, and with a capacity of 120 covers he will not be turning people away through lack of space. Alan Robson Henley Court Leet
Guild Hall Garden
There are plans to improve the Guild Hall Garden and the land between it and the river, which is open to Beaudesert Lane. The present state and usage of this land leaves much to be desired. It is proposed to wall off the existing open space and turn it into an attractive garden, part of which could be used as a venue for such entertainment as open air plays and concerts. This would be accessed from the present Guild Hall Garden, which it is intended to restore as a knot and physic garden.
It is hoped to obtain planning permission in the next few months and fund raising events are being arranged to contribute to the significant costs that will be incurred. Two entries for your diary for 2006 are a 1940s evening, with entertainment, to be held in the Memorial Hall on Saturday, 4 February and an Open Gardens Day on Sunday, 18 June 2006. If you are willing for your garden to be included in the latter event, please contact either Sue Bridgewater on 793633 or Marijana Bainbridge on 794987. The organisers are keen to have a good range of gardens for people to visit and you will be contributing to a worthwhile cause.
If you would be interested in organising a fund raising event for the Garden or have other fund raising ideas, please contact Sue Bridgewater. A Garden Committee has been set up by the Court Leet, the chairman is Douglas Bridgewater.
Douglas Bridgewater Low Bailiff
Photo Alan Robson
Vandals attack Somerfields
In the week following the successful reopening of the Somerfield supermarket in the High Street, vandals climbed on the roof at the rear of the premises and switched off all the refrigeration units for the chilled cabinets.
The supermarket had to withdraw immediately from sale around £11,000 of meat and diary items, which were then later scraped.
Open Evening at the Warks College
On Thursday 30th June 2005 from 5-8pm, Warwickshire College's Henley-in-Arden Centre will be holding an Open Evening aimed at young people interested in full-time further study or training.
The Henley-in-Arden Centre houses Warwickshire College's sports courses, as well as hair, beauty, holistic therapy and textiles courses. Visitors will be able to gain advice and information on courses offered at the Centre, find out about new courses on offer, meet tutors, discuss options with a Connexions Personal Adviser and source information on Warwickshire College's free transport policy.
The Centre's facilities include a state-of-the-art lecture theatre for teaching, conference and community use, outdoor pitches for football, rugby, netball and tennis, a floodlit full-size all weather pitch, a sports hall for indoor activities, a fitness training suite and a fully equipped gym. Information on Education Maintenance Allowances (EMAs), launched in Warwickshire in September 2004, will also be on offer as well. This new Government initiative makes grants of up to £30 per week available to many young people on further education courses, depending on their household income.
Jessica Bird, School Liaison and Events Officer at Warwickshire College said, "This event is aimed at Year 10 pupils who are beginning to consider what they would like to do when they leave school, as well as Year 11 pupils who have yet to decide on their next step. No matter what stage of the decision making process these pupils are at, I would encourage them to come along and find out about the fantastic range of courses on offer at Warwickshire College."
Visitors are also encouraged to take the opportunity to visit one or more College Centres. The Leamington and Rugby Centres will be providing information on the majority of courses offered by Warwickshire College, with Leamington providing information on the International Baccalaureate Diploma. For land based courses, visitors should go to the College's Moreton Morrell Centre and for Leamington-based engineering, motor vehicle and accounting courses, visitors should go to the Trident Technology and Business Centre, based in Whitnash. Engineering courses are also offered at the college's Rugby Centre.
There was a big fuss made in the media generally earlier this month, about the introduction of new provisions to control Vehicle Immobilers under the Private Security Industry Act 2001. According to the press, in general the menace of wheel clampers operating on private premises and demanding huge sums to release vehicles, sometimes with harassment, was at an end.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Wheel clampers are alive and well and operating happily across the UK and little has changed since the new rules came into force on 3rd May.
So what, then, is the reality? Mostly, the change is that to operate as a clamper a licence is now required. The licence costs £190, which can be offset against income tax, meaning the cost is pretty much recovered by a single clamping. A criminal record can make it more difficult, but not impossible to become licenced. Every new licencee has to undergo and pass a five-day training course to show they have reached set levels of training and professional standards.
Anyone clamped must receive a receipt for their payment and this must show the name, signature and licence number of the clamper. The only real protection for drivers introduced was an embargo against clamping or towing emergency vehicles or those displaying disabled parking badges.
It was claimed in the media that a 'code of conduct' was being introduced for clampers with these new rules. We have been assured by the SIA that there is no such code. The SIA, the Security Industry Authority, was set up under earlier parts of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. It is not a watchdog, more of a representative organisation for the industry. It licences bouncers etc as well as clampers.
It says of itself 'We're here to help improve the security industry's image so that the general public – and the wider business world - have a much clearer understanding of how the industry is regulated and who is entitled to work in it.'
The Henley-in-Arden Notice Board
Henley-in-Arden Drama Society (HADS)
“Wind in the Willows”
Wednesday 22nd June to Saturday 25th
with a matinee on Sunday 26th.
in the Guild Hall Gardens (Bring a picnic)
Evenings 7.15pm. Matinee 2.30pm.
Tickets Adults £10 Children £5 available from The Vanity Box.
Tel: 01564 792773
Tricia's Henley Diary Dates
The following diary dates have been notified to Tricia Hammond at 132 High Street or electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org. All diary dates for the next Tricia's Henley Diary Dates should be sent to Tricia. Articles and news stories for Henley NEWS on-line should be sent to the email@example.com at any time.
Henley Wildlife Society Our first outdoor meeting on Tuesday 21st June is a guided tour around the Brandon Marsh reserve. Meet at the Market Cross at 6.30pm
The Rotary Club of Henley-in-Arden will be organising their long-running ANNUAL MUSIC FESTIVAL for local school children at Henley High School on Wednesday 22nd June at 7 pm.
Church Fete - Saturday 26th June in and around the Church Hall, Beaudesert Lane from 2.00pm All the usual activities. Come and enjoy all the delights of a traditional village fete.
“Trial by Jury” & “H.M.S. Pinafore” in Tanworth Village Hall, tickets for the Gilbert & Sullivan concerts on July 14th 15th & 16th will be on sale £7.50 each in the Bell Post Office on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday mornings June 20th 21st & 22nd between 10am & 12noon . Any tickets remaining will be available from Grooming on the Green.
Henley-in-Arden Drama Society (HADS) are performing “Wind in the Willows” from Wednesday 22nd June to Saturday 25th with a matinee on Sunday 26th. The performances will take place in the Guild Hall Gardens (Bring a picnic - tables available) Evenings 7.15pm. Matinee 2.30pm - gates open earlier. Tickets Adults £10 Children £5 available from The Vanity Box. Tel: 01564 792773
We shall be holding the Jazz in the Garden on Saturday 2nd July. As usual we have the AD HOC Jazz Band and there will be strawberries and fizzie. Tickets £10.00 in aid of Memorial Hall Funds. We are kindly sponsored again this year by John Earle & Son and Lodders. For more information please phone Duncan on 793539 or Marijana on 794987
Warwickshire Fire & Rescue Service If you think that you could serve your community, are over 18 years old and you live within 5 minutes of the Fire Station, have you considered becoming a part-time fire fighter? For more information contact Richard Butler 07974408977
There are still vacancies in some areas of Henley-in-Arden for NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH Co-ordinators. If you are aware that you are not covered in your area or are willing to be a co-ordinator. Please contact Annette Walker on 792837
Rural Housebound Service This is a partnership between Warwickshire County Council & Age Concern and is a free library service to housebound residents in rural areas of the county who *Do not have access to transport. *Do not have family or friends who can regularly exchange library books. *Are unable to visit their local or mobile library.
Two volunteers visit homes once a month, bringing a selection of books, talking books, music cassettes or jigsaws. If you are eligible or know of someone who might benefit, please contact Debbie Sly on 01926 851031
Bell ringing!! Who would like to ‘have a go’ at ringing a Church Bell? ‘Have a Go’ on any Thursday evening at 7.45pm in St. John’s Church, for £1.00 donation to the High Bailiff’s Flood Relief Fund.
Henley ringers will match all contributions.
THE WARWICKSHIRE BUSINESS CLUB holds their monthly lunchtime meeting on third Thursday of each month from 11.30am to 2.15pm at the Henley Golf Club. There is a one hour networking session followed by a quality lunch and a informative speaker on a business topic.
THE ROTARY CLUB of Henley-in-Arden meets at the Golf Club on Monday evenings at 7pm.
New members are always welcome. Please call: Robin Freeman on 01789 765411 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Henley-in-Arden Bridge Club plays Duplicate Bridge of intermediate standard on Tuesday evenings at the the White Swan Hotel and usually find time for a tipple, which may or may not improve our play!!. Play commences at 7.15 promptly. There are normally 5 - 8 tables and the club does not issue master points.
For further information please contact the Secretary - Christine Whitehouse on 01564 792993.
Events for future Tricia's Henley Diary Datesshould be sent to Tricia Hammond by email or by post to 132 High St marked ‘Tricia’s Diary’. Please tell all your friends about Tricia's Diary.
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Henley-in-Arden Roll of Honour
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