Thursday, 24 June 2021

Your letters...

No case for third bridge

Sir, — Currently, there is no convincing evidence that a third Reading bridge over the rowing lake at Caversham, joining the A329(M) to Caversham Park Road and the A4155, would substantially reduce traffic on Sonning Bridge.

In fact, the opposite could be true, so your correspondent Pat Doyle (Standard, April 7 and June 2) should be careful what he wishes for.

Remember, proponents of the bridge say they want to take 55,000 cars a day out of the centre of Reading.

Even if traffic on Sonning Bridge was reduced, this would be of no consolation to residents of Sonning Common, Rotherfield Peppard, Highmoor, Nettlebed and Watlington if the B481 became the default connection between the M4 and M40 for cars and heavy goods vehicles.

Furthermore, Bell Street, Duke Street and Reading Road in Henley are already choked without any more traffic coming from a new bridge.

Reading Borough Council has jumped the gun by including a reference to the third bridge in its draft local plan (p90) prior to the evaluation of the recent traffic modelling study and development of a business case.

The results of the traffic modelling study can only now be scrutinised by the steering group as the latest meeting had been put on hold pending the general election (two MPs sit on the steering group).

Unless new evidence emerges to allay my concerns, my position remains that the case for a new bridge cannot be justified if the benefits to Berkshire residents come at the expense of the quality of life of those living in Henley and the rural South Oxfordshire villages that surround it. —Yours faithfully,

Councillor David

Sonning Common division, Oxfordshire County Council

We need lots more homes

Sir, — We need more homes, a lot more homes (Standard, May 26). Henley must take its share and cannot be treated as a special case.

It has the schools, shops and businesses to cope with an increase in population at least as effectively as any other South-East Oxfordshire location.

Henley’s traffic problem needs work, more homes or not. Do not use this as an excuse.

There is a severe shortage of homes. The cost of buying or renting is distorting our population.

This is an opportunity to redress the polarisation of Henley’s population towards the elderly.

Build affordable homes for families and younger people to buy and rent.

How many homes does the South-East need? There will only be enough when a family on an average income can afford an average home. — Yours faithfully,

Malcolm Adamson

Brook Street, Benson

Take a look at yourselves

Sir, — Having read recent letters in the Henley Standard, I believe the town is clearly divided over the mayor-making ceremony.

There is dignity on one side and what seems to be pure hatred on the other but I wish to comment on some of the more personal and spiteful comments.

Councillor Lorraine Hillier has gifted the town hall to a socialist administration by which she gained.

Is this really what the people of Henley voted for her to do? Is this really the way our town councillors are supposed to behave?

Your correspondent Barry Wood stated “a deal was done” and, no surprise, in return for abstaining in defiance of her Conservative colleagues, Cllr Hillier was given the deputy mayor berth.

It gets worse. On the Tuesday after mayor-making, she was elected chairwoman of a prestigious committee without even attending the meeting.

The Henley Residents’ Group councillors and the so-called Independent Conservative councillor need to read the town council’s code of conduct where it states:

Clause 3 Selflessness. You must serve only the public interest and must never improperly confer an advantage or disadvantage on any person, including yourself.

Clause 7 Honesty and integrity. You must not place yourself in a situation where your honesty and integrity may be questioned and must not behave improperly and must on all occasions avoid the appearance of such behaviour.

These councillors need a take a erious look at themselves and I leave the people of Henley to make up their own minds on the democracy we live in. — Yours faithfully,

Steve Hind


School deal not done yet

Sir, — Thank you for your coverage of our spring fete at Mapledurham playing fields (Standard, June 2).

However, it was incorrect to state that 2.4 acres of our playing fields have been sold by Reading Borough Council for a new school.

Ironically, the fete was part of ongoing fund-raising for the restoration of the playing fields pavilion so that land does not have to be sold!

The true situation is that the Education Funding Agency and the council are trying to force through the sale of recreational trust land for the school.

However, a large number of local residents is still actively fighting to make them use other local sites which will not involving breaking trust rules and disrupting a very well-used local recreational area.

The users include Trent Football Club with more than 450 local boys and girls learning to play football every week.

Before the new school can finally get approval it has to put in a planning application which will be strongly opposed by residents. The EFA also needs the Charities Commission to approve its plans and it should only do so if the sale results in improved recreational facilities.

We think this cannot be proven as the school itself will be built on top of existing five-a-side football pitches and one of the three main pitches which are already overused is wanted for school use only. — Yours faithfully,

David Maynerd

Chairman, Mapledurham Lawn Tennis Club and a member of Mapledurham Playing Fields Action Group

In breach of trust’s aims

Sir, — Thank you for your article on Mapledurham fete.

However, there was an error. You state that “part of the fields will become the site of the Heights Free School”. This is incorrect. No consultation has yet taken place and no go-ahead has been given by the Charities Commission.

The land was given in trust for recreation only and the actions of Reading Borough Council and the Education Funding Agency are against the trust objectives.

I would be grateful if you could publish a correction. — Yours faithfully,

Andrew Morris


What became of cygnets?

Sir, — The pair of swans which nested just below Marsh Lock produced nine cygnets this year.

A couple of days later there were eight and a few days after that only six. But these six survived for two weeks, growing rapidly, and had even learnt how to bottoms up like their parents in order to forage below the surface of the water.

On Thursday last week they were all seen early in the morning near to the nest.

At 10am the cob came angrily flying low and beating his wings upstream into the mill pool, followed at a distance by a bemused and solitary pen. And no longer any cygnets.

What had happened? It is doubtful that a fox would be around mid-morning and unlikely that the usual culprits, pikes and red kites, could have killed all six at once.

Did anyone see anything while walking along the towpath that morning? — Yours faithfully,

Enid Light

Wargrave Road, Henley

Credit to the cadets too

Sir, — Your otherwise excellent report on the presentation of Brian Hughes’s British Empire Medal (Standard, June 2) stated that he was given a guard of honour by “standard bearers from across Oxfordshire”.

This failed to acknowledge that the town’s army and air cadets also formed part of that guard, acted as car door openers and were present in a considerable and very smart contingent overall.

I therefore ask that they be given due credit for being there too. — Yours faithfully,

Alex Manning

Cadet liaison officer, Henley and Peppard Branch, Royal British Legion

Successful tractor run

Sir, — May I say thank-you to everybody that supported this year’s Chiltern Tractor Run, whether it was providing cakes or raffle prizes or just taking part.

Sixty-seven tractors of all types with trailers took part. The theme this year was “Hawaiian” and most drivers and passengers dressed up accordingly and the weather was ideal. Another big thank- you to those who raised additional funds through sponsorship.

All monies raised go to the Thames Valley air ambulance and so far the event has raised more than £34,500 but we are still waiting for the final sponsorship monies to come in.

I have been asked to organise the vintage tractor section at this year’s Henley Show on Saturday, September 9, so I am looking for anyone who may be interested in bringing a vintage tractor along, possibly with an appropriate implement.

Please do let me know of your interest and I will forward you an entry form. — Yours faithfully,

Gary Anderson

Bucks, Berks and Oxon area representative, Ferguson Club

Dealing with dementia

Sir, — I would like to take this opportunity to thank your readers who helped us “unite against dementia” during Dementia Awareness Week.

There were lots of information events across Oxfordshire which we had many people attend to seek further advice.

There are more than 8,400 people living with dementia in Oxfordshire and, on average, one person in the UK develops the condition every three minutes.

That is why now more than ever we need to unite together as every action brings us closer to finding a cure and gives everyone the support they need.

The Alzheimer’s Society is here for anyone affected by dementia and provides a national helpline — 0300 222 1122.

If any of your readers missed our events and want to find out how they can show their support and unite with us against dementia, please visit — Yours faithfully,

Linda Goddard

Operations manager for Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire, Alzheimer’s Society,

Potholes are unbelievable

Sir, — I can’t get over the potholes in Harpsden Road, Henley.

I guess I’ll just have to keep steering round them. — Yours faithfully,

Jane Burtt


l The photograph of a bee on a flower published in last week’s letters pages was taken by Katie Freebody and not her friend Selina Avent, from Wargrave, who merely sent it to us. We are happy to make this clear.

More News:

POLL: Have your say