Tuesday, 03 August 2021

Oh well, back to river swimming then

Sir, — With all the cold weather recently, you might like to know that not everyone is happy about the snow finally disappearing

Sir, — With all the cold weather recently, you might like to know that not everyone is happy about the snow finally disappearing.

Our flatcoat retriever Algy has a magnetic attraction to both water and snow and nothing gives him greater pleasure than swimming in the river or rolling around in the snow.

But as you can see from the picture, as the snow finally disappeared, he had to resort to cuddling a large snowball kindly left by some children in a Henley park.

Hopefully, it’s large enough to keep him going for a few more days before the warmer weather finally arrives and he heads back to the river! — Yours faithfully,

Chris Chantry

Middle Assendon

Good to see holes filled

Sir, — Every now and then someone takes up a concern, be it the essential development of our local hospital, the need for a pedestrian crossing on Gravel Hill opposite Friar Park or shop closures in the town.

Once in a while a combination of someone “putting their head above the parapet” and the Standard taking it up gets things done.

So it has proved to be with the pothole saga.

It was great to read about Oxfordshire County Council increasing the budget and doubling the workforce to dealing with this problem (Standard, March 22) and even better to see it taking effect.

I’ve been monitoring the holes I identified to the council and, although there’s a long way to go, they really are working on it, so full marks to Keith Stenning, of the highways department.

To keep this going, be sure to report any serious holes you see to the council on 0845 310 1111.

The joke was on me recently when a lorry, repairing one of “my” holes, backed into it and got stuck, keeping myself and a dozen or so other drivers waiting while a tractor pulled the vehicle out. You’ve got to laugh. — Yours faithfully,

David Gobbett

Elizabeth Close, Henley

Who is held accountable?

Sir, — After reading the letter from Mark Davies (Standard, March 29), it has now been confirmed what we already knew — that potholes are not repaired correctly.

The question that needs to be addressed is: who is accountable?

Is it the company that repairs the holes or Oxfordshire County Council or county councillor David Nimmo Smith, who was going to “look into it”? With the amount of money I pay in council tax, I feel I deserve better. — Yours faithfully,

Mr G Henderson

Greys Road, Henley

Blame cuts for potholes

Sir, — Your recent correspondence about potholes emphasised the waste of money in making temporary repairs that last no more than a few hours.

The dilapidated state of our roads is symptomatic of the Tory cuts with consequences unforeseen by them but obvious in the light of experience.

The cuts in road maintenance do not save money, they merely lead to problems which will cost more to fix in the long run and a large compensation bill.

In keeping with most other cuts, it’s the less well-off who are suffering. Large four-wheel drive vehicles can sail over potholes but the older, smaller cars, motorbikes and bicycles used by the less well-off are more likely to be damaged.

It’s not just pothole damage but the swerving to avoid them that can lead to tragic consequences.

We now need an urgent review of spending on the county’s roads and the management and contracting of the process by Oxfordshire County Council.

Now that the coalition government has realised that investing in construction projects is one way to stimulate growth, a U-turn might be possible, potholes permitting. — Yours faithfully,

David Winchester

Labour and Co-op candidate for Oxfordshire County Council (Sonning Common division), Kennylands Road, Sonning Common

Vote for those who deliver

Sir, — I read with interest your article about the forthcoming Oxfordshire County Council elections (Standard, March 29).

Sometimes these local elections can descend into silly season and this often puts residents off the entire process. I do hope we can put aside playing politics and get to the core of providing for our town at all levels of elected representation.

Those of us who associate ourselves with a political party do so because we share values and not because we share orders.

I’m proud to belong to the party that stands for individual freedoms, reducing tax and delivering value for money.

I would urge all residents in the elections to vote for the candidate who has the experience and the record to deliver for our town. Silly season aside, for me the answer is clear. — Yours faithfully,

Councillor William Hall

South Oxfordshire District Council (Henley South ward), New Street, Henley

Turmoil at the town hall

Sir, — What is happening inside Henley town hall?

First, we have one of the Conservative councillors resigning and joining UKIP.

Then we have the Conservatives in dispute between themselves on who is going to stand for Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

Now we have a Henley Residents’ Group councillor resigning and becoming an independent due to “internal political differences” (Standard, March 29). Rumour has it more will follow.

Is it not time that councillors from both political parties who were elected to serve their town do just that, as I am sure the vast majority of residents who voted them into office are getting fed up with their antics.

When I wrote last wrote about the shambolic way the Conservatives acted at the last full council meeting, they failed to respond.

Perhaps Henley Residents’ Group would respond to this one and explain the “internal political differences” between members of the group and give names of other councillors who have threatened to resign. — Yours faithfully,

Ken Arlett

UKIP candidate for Oxfordshire County Council, Elizabeth Road, Henley

Keep politics out of music

Sir, — With reference to the letter from Councillor David Nimmo Smith about the Music of the Meadows festival (Standard, March 29), I would like to point out that Councillor Lorraine Hillier has had no part in the organisation or planning of the event and has not attended any of the group’s meetings.

We are hugely disappointed that Cllr Nimmo Smith has sought to bring politics into this wonderful community event. Politics has no part in this event.

Music on the Meadows (Saturday, June 1 from 2pm to 10pm) has been organised by the young and community -minded people of Henley.

It will be a fantastic showcase for the young talent in Henley — music, drama, dance, Henley Youth Festival and arts groups. All the talent of Henley.

Everyone is welcome to this family community day. If you wish to help or sponsor the event, then please email musiconthemeadows@live.com — Yours faithfully,

Sophie Taylor

Mill Meadows Nursery

We welcome country lovers

Sir, — I write in reply to the article about pubs in the area not catering for walkers, riders and cyclists (Standard, March 29).

Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, commented that “too many pubs have gone upmarket with gourmet menus” and “they should serve a simple sandwich for a lunchtime snack for those on a walk”.

I own and run the Bird in Hand in Sonning Common and three years ago, when my partner Kay Thomas and I bought this place, we recognised immediately that the location was indeed blessed with an abundance of lovely walks and cycle routes.

So much so that when we were refurbishing the pub, after it had been closed, boarded up and derelict for two years, we purposely put down hard floors instead of carpets to recognise and make welcome and comfortable walkers, cyclists and dog walkers.

We are open seven days a week and serve food every day.

We have a special menu that offers home-made pies, hotpot, fish cakes and pan-fried lamb’s liver, to name but a few, at what we think is a very reasonable price of £8 plus a variety of starters and/or desserts at just £3.50. We also offer sandwiches, baguettes and wraps.

We have a large, easy accessible car park and a large banner outside stating “walkers and dogs welcomed”.

We have spent a small fortune advertising in various magazines and yet we are going through one of the toughest times that I have ever experienced in my 25 years in the licensed trade.

Kate Ashbrook may well think that pubs have gone “too upmarket” but if by doing that they can survive then I can but applaud them.

Here at the Bird in Hand, we go out of our way to make “countryside users” very welcome but a few sandwiches washed down with glasses of tap water is not going to keep us in business. — Yours faithfully,

Roger Cox

Landlord, Bird in Hand, Peppard Road, Sonning Common

Perfect pubs for walkers

Sir, — I would definitely recommend the Flower Pot in Aston, the Dew Drop in Hurley, Six Bells in Warborough and the Chequers in Berrick Salome as being great pubs for walkers. — Yours faithfully,

Emma Sweet

Marketing manager, Brakspear pub company, Henley

Locals never used the pub

Sir, — I used to live in Binfield Heath and my mother still does, so I consider it home.

I worked at the Bottle and Glass on and off for about 10 years between the Seventies and Nineties.

When Tim and Glen Allen ran it in the Eighties, it was one of the first gastro-pubs and was hugely busy.

Tim was an excellent cook, who would make weekly trips to Smithfield Market in London for his meat, and everything was home-made.

The pub regularly featured in food guides and it was always packed. In the summer, it would be full of people from the royal regatta.

When Tim and Glen moved on it was not because of a lack of trade but because they wanted their own pub.

My point is it was never busy with villagers. A few would go for last orders, after the crowds had gone, but the pub’s trade came from far and wide.

Greater vigilance with drink-driving won’t have helped the Bottle and Glass, but it is unfair and incorrect to blame the village for a lack of trade. — Yours faithfully,

Lesley Tate

Skipton, North Yorkshire

Deplorable behaviour

Sir, — Pishill with Stonor Parish Council has received a report from two local residents who walk daily on Maidensgrove Common and who have recently returned from a two-week holiday.

They frequently collect bags containing dog excrement, which they remove and dispose of, but imagine their dismay when 32 bags containing dog excrement were collected on the first day after returning from holiday! The next day there were a further three.

The dog faeces are contained in small pink or blue plastic bags, similar to those used for nappy disposal and are frequently to be found hanging on the branches of bushes. This is not only unsightly but totally mad.

If dog walkers can be bothered to collect and bag their dog faeces, why can they not take them to their own homes for disposal?

This sad disregard for the environment and beauty of Maidensgrove Common is to be deplored.

Please could all those lovely people, with their charming pets, endeavour to keep this area free of the excrement so tastefully contained in their fluttering pink and blue plastic containers?

Their change of behaviour would be so much appreciated by everyone who enjoys the special nature of the common. — Yours faithfully,

Mrs P A Pearce

Clerk, Pishill with Stonor Parish Council

Extortionate shop rents

Sir, — With reference to your story about cake-maker Confetti & Spice moving to Cornwall (Standard, March 29), well done, Henley, another shop is closing down due to the extortionate rents.

In 10 years’ time Henley will be a ghost town if it carries on this way. — Yours faithfully,

Angie Wood


Let’s keep to planning law

Sir, — I am always concerned when I see national Conservative politicians getting involved in local planning issues, particularly where conservation and protection are concerned.

It seems that John Howell has joined the ranks of other Conservatives who believe that planning laws should be torn up and a free-for-all put in place.

What next — developments in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, as many of his colleagues seem to want?

His comments regarding South Oxfordshire District Council planning officers (Standard, March 29) are totally unfounded and inaccurate. The officers have always shown a willingness to speak to all applicants regarding their plans and the case of the Kenton Theatre was no different.

I would add that little knowledge of planning laws can sometimes cause the opposite effect to that intended.

Suzanne Malcolm, the district council’s economic development manager, stated that “the locality of the theatre is among a primarily residential area”.

That is exactly a strong reason why the permission for a large internally illuminated sign cannot be approved. It is a residential street in a conservation area!

I would like a compromise to be reached but due to the publicity this has generated it will, I think, be left to the district council’s planning committee to reach a decision on the original application.

I hope that these councillors continue to protect the buildings, history and ambiance of our beautiful town and their decision should reinforce the need to go forward and arrive at an amended application. — Yours faithfully,

Councillor Dieter Hinke

Chairman, planning committee, Henley Town Council, Elizabeth Road, Henley

Site is mostly green field

Sir, — Your article last week correctly identified Highlands Farm as a site of 83 acres but did not explain why the owner “couldn’t envisage” the whole allocation of 400 homes being built there.

In fact, only 11 of the 83 acres are “brown field”, the remainder being green field and in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty while there are other questions, including access, that must also be considered in the neighbourhood plan. — Yours faithfully,

Sarah Tipple

Clerk, Harpsden Parish Council

Thanks for good turn

Sir, — Many thanks to the person who found the letter I lost and sent it on to Jersey Plants. — Yours faithfully,

J Hewett

Grange Road, Henley

Hat is to hide yoru long hair, Paul

Sir, — The photograph on page 2 last week showed Henley Mayor Elizabeth Hodgkin with others, including chef Paul Clerehugh with unruly hair below shoulder length.

If Mr Clerehugh is a qualified chef then he should know the chef’s hat he was wearing is designed to retain his hair.

If the hat cannot retain his hair, then he is obliged to wear a net that can. I am surprised that the Mayor didn’t admonish him and insist that he wear appropriate headgear for his profession before he commenced his duties, irrespective of whether they were paid or voluntary.

Certainly he should not have been allowed to appear as he did in the photograph. — Yours faithfully,

Keith Wilson

St Andrew’s Road, Henley

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