Sunday, 13 June 2021

Your letters...

Slipway is dangerous

Sir, — On July 21 I wrote to Henley Town Council in support of the comments about the town slipway which were made in your paper by Lyndon Yorke, from Booker Common.

This is what I wrote:

“Condition of the New Street slipway,

Dear Mrs Wheeler [town clerk],

I am writing in connection with the recent letter to the Henley Standard and your response on behalf of the town council.

I am a local boat owner and I have used the slipway for very many years to launch a small open boat by means of a hand launching trolley.

I am able to confirm that the comments made in the letter are correct.

During recent years (and particularly in the last five and therefore since your last survey) the concrete has deteriorated considerably and there is now a deep and irregular drop a little way into the water.

This now presents a significant risk to anyone using the facility, particularly when recovering a small boat from the water using a proper launching trolley such as mine.

It is becoming almost impossible to use because the wheels of the launching trolley get stuck on the far side of the broken concrete.

Considerable manual effort is required and there is a real risk of the user tripping and/or falling into the water.

A facility such as this will inevitably require attention and repair from time to time and I am writing to request that the council takes the necessary action to restore the slipway.

For very many years access to this slipway was restricted by the council to local users of small boats. There used to be a chain and padlock across the access from New Street and regular users were able to buy a key from the town hall.

May I suggest that the re-introduction of this scheme, which was discontinued approximately 15 years ago, would be a simple way to avoid potential damage caused by people trying to launch unsuitably large craft or heavy-wheeled amphibious vehicles?”

I have received neither an acknowledgement nor a reply. -— Yours faithfully,

Martin Whittaker

Lambridge Wood Road, Henley

Town clerk Janet Wheeler responds: “Following this letter and others regarding the New Street slipway and the safety of the river banks, town councillors and council staff have worked hard to get the necessary professional advice to move forward.

“We have only recently received the report for the river bank following a meeting with the Environment Agency.

“We immediately asked for a quote to carry out some remedial works to the New Street slipway. This quote was received last week and we are now seeking another one.

“Once we have accepted a quote it will be actioned in terms of raising a purchase order.

“It was my intention to write to Mr Whittaker as soon as I had some professional information to offer him.

“Once the work is ordered I will write to let him know the extent of the work and when he can expect it to be carried out.”

Why no deal can’t happen

Sir, — Your correspondent Michael Emmett, from Peppard Common, believes trading under World Trade Organisation terms would not be a problem (Standard, August 31).

Fifty trading partners represent 92 per cent of our trade. Of these, 18 are EU countries in addition to Norway and Turkey which have close arrangements with the EU.

A further 18 have trading agreements with the EU or are in the process of negotiating one.

In fact, only 15 per cent of our trade is not covered by a trading agreement. When we lose the benefit of these agreements we will have to negotiate at least 24 new ones.

Countries outside a customs union cannot trade without goods being subject to customs checks. Lorries passing in or out of the UK will be subject to onerous paperwork and delays. The congestion at ports like Dover is predicted to be unprecedented.

The efficient supply of food, medicines and raw materials will be badly compromised. The cost of paperwork, delays and the recruitment of thousands of customs staff is yet to be calculated. All this without providing a solution for Northern Ireland.

Even if the UK chose not to conduct customs checks (against WTO rules) our goods would be checked in EU ports, causing delays and red tape.

No custom controls would hardly be consistent with “taking back control of our borders”.

Leading Brexiteers never envisaged a “no deal”. For them a deal was easy. They did not ask the British people to support a chaotic, costly shambles. Supporting Brexit didn’t include damaging a large proportion of our trade.

Brexiteers like Michael are so wedded to their cause that even the bleakest facts and expert opinion are overridden by a stoic optimism that convinces them not to worry. Or, worse still, that the pain will be worth it.

Michael, please find out the facts and then convince yourself that this shameful exercise in self-harm is worth it. — Yours faithfully,

Stuart Fox

Berkshire Road, Henley

How to solve the problem

Sir, — I wonder if, immediately prior to Brexit, all the ardent and vociferous remoaners were given the opportunity to emigrate to a European country of their choice whether it would contribute in some small way to solving the UK’s overpopulation crisis? — Yours faithfully,

Roy T Welch

Makins Road, Henley

Politics? Bah! humbug!

Sir, — It is quite distressing to see the way in which national ambitions for a reasonable Brexit are being destroyed by political in-fighting in Westminster.

The country will be the worse for it.

Fortunately, none of this affects the way Henley is run. With the town prospering under the prudent care of the Henley Residents Group for 27 of the last 30 years, national political concerns have proved to be irrelevant.

HRG is just a union of individuals dedicated solely to the wellbeing and prosperity of Henley.

Not so, it seems, with Henley Conservatives. They are based in Watlington and are currently led by the former leader of Wokingham Borough Council.

What do these external allegiances bring to the table other than potential internal disharmony — are you a Browne-ite, a Brexiteer, a Trump supporter or a submariner? Perhaps it is time for individual Conservatives who live in Henley to suppress their national political ambitions and join forces with the individuals in HRG who express no national political persuasion.

Everyone claims to be working for the good of Henley and each person could then be elected on her or his perceived personal merits. — Yours faithfully,

Dick Fletcher

Mill End, Hambleden

Providing dual service

Sir, —We read with concern the letter from Leslie Maynerd (Standard, August 31) which included several misconceptions regarding Sue Ryder’s plans to expand our palliative care provision across South Oxfordshire.

Our hospice at home service was launched in April and is providing palliative care for members of the South Oxfordshire community who have chosen to be cared for in their own homes. However. let us reassure your readers that this service is being provided by Sue Ryder in addition to our inpatient beds, not instead of.

Sue Ryder remains committed to providing inpatient beds in a palliative care setting in South Oxfordshire, both now and in the future.

We will not move out of Nettlebed Hospice until the new beds in the new location are fully operational and it is our absolute hope and intention to take every one of our fantastic nursing team with us.

To determine the most suitable location for our new inpatient beds, we are exploring every possible opportunity with due diligence and a resolute focus on our patients’ needs.

We will continue to update all our stakeholders as and when we have any news to share.

I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank the members of the local community who have been supportive of our plans to extend the outstanding care that Sue Ryder is so well known for to more people in South Oxfordshire. — Yours faithfully,

Holly Spiers

Director of hospices and fund-raising, Sue Ryder

Questions on hospice sale

Sir, — In the current concern about the possible sale of the Sue Ryder hospice in Nettlebed, I have seen no reference to certain relevant questions.

These are:

How much is the property valued at?

Who owns the freehold?

What will happen to the funds if and when it is sold?

Who will be responsible for these? — Yours faithfully,

William Fitzhugh


Expertise and kindness

Sir, — Last week we took my husband to Townlands Memorial Hospital after he’d injured his head in a fall.

The staff there discovered a very serious health problem and he was rushed straight to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.

He is now recovering at home but we can’t thank our dedicated NHS staff at Townlands, the paramedics and the Royal Berks enough for their expertise and kindness to both my husband and his family. — Yours faithfully,

Name and address supplied

Disgusting donation

Sir, — Cyclists are not the only dumpers in our area (Standard, August 31).

A certain dog walker has dumped his/her dog litter over the fence into our garden. Six bags in one heap.

Apparently this nuisance thinks notices to “Take your rubbish home” means our home, not their own. Watch out — you might be next to receive this disgusting donation. — Yours faithfully,

Ruth Norman


Columbarium is good idea

Sir, — The proposal to convert a chapel at Fairmile Cemetery into a columbarium (Standard, August 24) is a good idea provided that it can be properly funded and not, after a few years, be allowed to fall into disrepair due to a shortage of cash.

Over the last 70 years the choice of cremation rather than burial has significantly increased with current statistics showing an increase from about five per cent in the mid-Forties to in excess of 50 per cent today.

One hears of ashes being stored “on top of the wardrobe” or “in the loft” but, in my view, with a local columbarium available, friends and family can visit the columbarium where loved ones’ ashes are suitably stored “at rest”. — Yours faithfully,

Monty Taylor

Shepherds Green

Unfriendly barriers

Sir, — Tables and chairs are friendly to eat at but putting barriers round is unfriendly and uncultured.

There is only one café in Henley that passes this test. — Yours faithfully,

Neil Parsley

Mount View Court, Henley

Service is excellent

Sir, — The letter from Rose Murray about her experience at what she calls the Shell petrol station on Remenham Hill was a real mistake (Standard, August 31).

This was one personal unsatisfactory service incident but how many of those do we all get from various organisations today?

Rather than sort it out with a manager or owner of the business directly, she writes to this newspaper. Worse, she tells all her friends not to go there.

For the record, I have used both the garage and petrol station of Whitehill Service Station for more than 10 years.

The whole operation is a beacon of hope for excellent and personal service, fast disappearing in the UK.

The staff are attentive, accommodating, flexible, helpful, experienced, knowledgeable and charming people with a sense of humour who do anything to help a customer.

Hey, they even respond to messages left and call you back every time. And the premises are so well maintained, which isimportant in such a prominent position.

It takes years and hard work to build a solid good business reputation. This outburst from Rose Murray was totally unjustified. — Yours faithfully,

Richard Cuthbertson


Should you be driving?

Sir, — If your correspondent Rose Murray was incapable of lifting a fuel hose, what on earth was she doing behind the wheel of a car? — Yours faithfully,

Kevin James

Luker Avenue, Henley

You save, we’re delayed

Sir, — For the second time in seven days we were held up in Henley for five minutes at just after midday on Tuesday, this time by a woman driver of a who preferred to waste our time rather than her money by parking illegally.

I invite her to donate £10 anonymously to Henley Town Council funds. — Yours faithfully,

Name and address supplied

You saved our holiday

Sir, — I would like to offer my sincere and grateful thanks to the person who picked up the Euros that my husband dropped in Duke Street, Henley, and took them back to the post office.

It saved our holiday (and our marriage!).

It’s heartwarming to know there are still good people in the world. I hope to be able to pay the kindness forward at some point. — Yours faithfully,

Name and address supplied

Great day, great cause

Sir, — I would like to congratulate the organisers of the Henley Regatta for the Disabled, which was held at Phyllis Court on Saturday.

This was the second time I’d entered a team in the bell boat competition and everyone had a great day. There was lots to do between the races with plenty of activities for the kids.

I’d also like to thank everyone from the Eyot Centre who organised the racing with great efficiency and humour. A great day out and all for a great cause. — Yours faithfully,

Tim Dickson

Greys Hill, Henley

Thank you for support

Sir, — As chairman of the Henley Regatta for the Disabled, I would like to publicly thank our excellent committee for organising another marvellous, fun-filled and interactive day for disabled people and their families.

Thank you, John Howell MP, who has opened the event for all of our nine years and the Mayor of Henley Glen Lambert and the chairman of the Phyllis Court Club Barry Jackson who presented the prizes.

Also Phyllis Court Club for the use of the paddock, the Rivertime Boat Trust and Hobbs of Henley for use of their boats, the volunteer marshals on the day from Henley Lions Club, Rotarians and friends and family.

Thanks, too, to the crews of the 10 bell boats who raced all afternoon.

The event could not happen without our main sponsor, the Shanly Foundation, and generous donations from Invesco Perpetual, Henley Lions Club, the Rotary Club of Henley Bridge, Henley Royal Regatta’s Stewards’ Charitable Trust and many others. We were very fortunate to enjoy performances from the Sam Brown Fabulous Ukulele Club and 50 members of Henley Rock Choir.

So many big-hearted organisations and people involved to deliver a worthwhile fun day for disabled people and their families.

We have already set the date for next year’s regatta Saturday, August 31, and are researching ways to develop interactive attractions. Let’s hope the sun shines on this event, which is not to be missed. — Yours faithfully,

Mike Pooley

Chairman, Henley Regatta for the Disabled

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