Friday, 28 February 2020

Your letters...

We must sort out parking

Sir, — In response to your article about South Oxfordshire District Council rejecting the idea of a second level at the King’s Road car park in Henley (Standard, December 27), I cannot believe how naive and short-sighted it is being.

If you ask any high street business in the town or the public for that matter, what they feel is the biggest problem in Henley they will probably respond by saying “footfall”.

Why is footfall down? Because of insufficient parking spaces.

Our high street will only survive long term if we do something about this now.

The district council stated that more spaces would mean more cars, which means more pollution.

I disagree — more spaces means less idling and driving around, which is in fact a greater contributor to pollution. Plus more cars means more people putting money into the economy of Henley.

We are building more houses in the area. This in itself will bring more people into town but if the parking problem is not sorted out then these people will just go elsewhere.

Whether it is the King’s Road or Greys Road car park that has the additional level is down to looking at which is the more practical. The simple fact is that if something is not done the town will suffer.

It’s about time we started to look five, 10 and 20 years into the future rather than the present. Cars will become much more eco-friendly — what will the council say then when we have no pollution from cars? What will their excuse be?

As for their comments on using the station and the rugby club car parks, these are used mostly for long-term parking.

When people come into town they want to park as close to the centre as possible and no amount of additional signage will change this.

With regards to spending £68,000 on electric signs to warn drivers when car parks are full, this has to rate as one of the most ridiculous ideas ever — drivers will just decide not to come into town at all once they see the word “full”.

What kind of study does the district council feel is needed? We have spent so much money on all sorts of studies over the years and ended up doing nothing.

Why won’t people listen to those who actually work in the town and ask their opinions?

It’s time for Henley Town Council to start fighting back and putting more pressure on the district council to bring our town into the 21st century — it shouldn’t be about the costs, it should be about how we make our town more accessible.

We cannot afford to sit still. The high street cannot survive on a regatta and a few festivals each year. — Yours faithfully,

Laurence Morris

Owner, Laurence Menswear, Duke Street, Henley

Parking as bad as ever

Sir, — I deduce that South Oxfordshire District Council’s officers have never tried to park in Henley.

Over the past week, I have failed to find a car parking space in King’s Road car park on three separate occasions.

Twice I drove to Tesco at the other end of town instead and I drove to Waitrose in Twyford.

Neither the Henley Rugby Club nor the station car parks are practicable for a family shop in Waitrose or other town centre retailers.

Apart from my personal frustration, the traders in the centre of town must be suffering.

Please let sense dawn so that additional car parking can be created.

The mere 60 extra spaces proposed by the town council would only scratch the surface of the problem.

I have lived in the area for more than 50 years and the current situation is as bad as I have ever known it. — Yours faithfully,

Anthony West

Remenham

Village with a motorway

Sir, — I am driven to write about the extreme quantity of speeding cars, vans and heavy goods vehicles that thunder through the village of Rotherfield Greys.

What was once a quiet village lane now resembles a major “A” road, especially during school term times.

Not only do we have parents belting to deliver children to school and teenagers careering to college, we now appear to be the main cut through into Henley for lorries, heavy goods vehicles and heavy plant deliveries plus general commuter traffic.

If the constant flow of vehicles adhered to the 30mph speed limit it would be perhaps less of a problem, but they do not.

As a resident with a dog, I find trying to cross the road in the morning by the church downright frightening.

It is the same for hikers, those with children, the elderly who visit the church or those attending a wedding or funeral.

Two-way traffic hurtles along, seemingly oblivious to pedestrians and certainly not able to stop should anyone be crossing the road.

The old well head has been demolished in the past by a speeding car and more than one vehicle has crashed into the pub.

Please, people, think if this were your village, your relatives, children or pets at risk and slow down. The speed limit is 30mph, not 60mph, for a reason.

As the highways authority, Oxfordshire County Council should introduce traffic-calming measures before there really is a nasty accident. — Yours faithfully,

C Howlett

Rotherfield Greys

Hope riding on Boris

Sir, — Well done, Boris. What an achievement to spare us from Mr Misery and generate a feeling of optimism. One only had to see the picture of the victor and vanquished walking together at the opening of Parliament to see what we avoided.

Now the ersatz dictator, like others before him, does not have the grace to resign.

Thankfully, the electorate could see through him and his cohorts with their plans to nationalise everything and distribute billions like confetti.

Well done again, Boris. Our hopes ride with you to become a great leader. — Yours faithfully,

William Fitzhugh

Overton Drive, Caversham

First-rate local service

I have worked and lived in and around Henley for close to 40 years since I joined the senior staff of the then Administrative Staff College. I retired from my full-time academic employment in London this past July and moved back to Henley.

Sadly, I have suffered from a number of difficult medical conditions over the last year that caused me to retire a year earlier than originally planned.

People so frequently criticise the National Health Service. Perhaps on some occasions this is justified but I do not feel that I received adequate or appropriate support while living in London and I attribute the problems which I suffered in the first half of last year to NHS management failures and inadequate resources.

This may be an example of the “postcode lottery” phenomenon.

However, I wish to praise the support and care that I have received from every aspect of the health system here in South Oxfordshire.

All the staff at my GP practice, the Bell Surgery — medical, nursing, and administrative — have been exemplary in providing help.

The district nurse service based at Townlands Memorial Hospital is staffed by first rate, highly qualified nurses and managed effectively. Communications between the professionals is excellent and effective.

The other medical services maintain effective monitoring of all aspects of care.

My recovery since moving back to Henley has been exceptional and I cannot praise them all sufficiently.

Without their integrated care, enthusiasm and commitment, I am sure that I would still be suffering from my past health problems or even have deteriorated. My thanks to them all. — Yours faithfully,

Professor Aldwyn Cooper BSc PhD FRSA HSFReg

Prof and vice chancellor emeritus, Regent’s University London, Western Avenue, Henley

Reform and fund NHS

Sir, — I worked as a temporary storesman in the area central stores. The waste was incredible.

The NHS needs reform as well as money. — Yours faithfully,

Toby Greenwood

Peppard

Real honesty appreciated

Sir, — I find myself writing to you for the first time after living in Henley for almost 36 years and being an avid reader of the Henley Standard.

My subject is honesty and (after the election bravado, where huge promises with inaccurate mathematics were made, over the top pledges promised and just plain ridiculous statistics), it is nice to meet a person who is just plain honest of character and method of professional care.

Of whom do I speak? I have been attending one professional since 1986 and had to say goodbye when he retired last year. I was faced with waiting for the promise he made of a new professional to set up and open their doors.

Finally that day came and I went to the opening of the Rozsa Dental Clinic in Market Place and was not disappointed.

I was welcomed by friendly smiles and a very approachable dentist.

Her story is not for the faint-hearted as she has had to overcome many challenges before she could start practising in this country.

So, in this time of constant negative press or fake news, I would like to thank my past dentist for all his work, comment, laughter and honesty on the path his profession had taken.

It may be a year late in being said, but his vision of the future has come true and for me I know I have found a new dental surgeon to see me to the end of my days.

So, if you’re reading this, Chris, thank you, as you have made an aged army captain renewed in person by your honesty and my future dental care regimented into caring hands. — Yours faithfully,

Capt J Tuttle

Greys Road, Henley

The future of theatre

Editor, — I was disappointed to read another inaccurate letter about the Kenton Theatre from someone who should really know better.

Derek Gilbert must know that Henley Children’s Theatre’s average audience capacity of more than 70 per cent is well above the average set during his many years as a trustee.

It’s true that the two years since he stepped down have been the most successful in the theatre’s long history but that took a lot of work and the audience should never be taken for granted, as the figures for the new year show.

With a lot of effort by the previous general manager and Immersion, there was a fantastic 10 per cent rise in attendance for the Kenton panto in 2018.

But with them both having moved on and no audience increase this year, the plan to put on another 11 shows and push out Henley Children’s Theatre just makes no sense on a community or business level and once again puts the future of the theatre in question, which is such a shame after a couple of really busy years. — Yours faithfully,

Tom Ryan

River Terrace, Henley

Bridge lights are pointless

Sir, — I see that the vanity project by “artist” Clive Hemsley is being revived (Standard, December 27).

I hope Mr Hemsley proposes to finance this invasive example of light pollution himself and meet the running costs at this time of increasing food banks and destroyed youth services.

I think there are very many better uses for our council tax. — Yours faithfully,

Kaye McArthur

Ancastle Green. Henley

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