Tuesday, 03 August 2021

Your letters...

Litter louts spoiling the countryside



Litter louts spoiling the countryside

Sir, — I thought you might like this picture of a pile of rubbish collected on the morning of Saturday, April 27 by a dozen or so volunteer residents in Binfield Heath.

We filled 27 bags of mixed rubbish from the village roadsides. By far and away the biggest culprits are beer/lager drinkers who throw their cans from their vehicles — there were far more beer cans than sweet wrappers.

We also collected half a television set, an exhaust pipe and a broken scooter. We had to leave a three-piece suite for the council to collect.

The litter-pick is an annual event organised by Binfield Heath Parish Council. Clearing the roadsides in our village is very rewarding — until the next day when the cans start dropping on the verges again, which makes us all very angry.

The worst thing is that litter louts don’t care who picks up their rubbish, or even whether anyone does it at all.

Many thanks to all the volunteers who did the work. — Yours faithfully,

Lis Ransom

Vice-chairman, Binfield Heath Parish Council, Dunsden Way, Binfield Heath




Sir, — With reference to your story headlined “We need to educate people about litter” (Standard, April 27), here are some words of encouragement for Susan Young.

I also pick up litter and organise litter-picks here in central Scotland.

Don’t get disheartened — I do think that the less litter there is the less likely some people are to drop it.

Wishing Susan a continued recovery from her accident. — Yours faithfully,

Helen Bang

Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire




Sir, — We were most impressed by Susan Young’s dedication and tenacity.

She might like to know we’re the only organisation in the UK dedicated to eliminating litter rather than just picking it up.

Education seems to have failed, so we’re working on a bunch of other tactics to bring about the necessary change.

Do visit our website, www.zilch.org.uk — Yours faithfully,

Zilch UK



Incredible atmosphere

Sir, - No doubt the Standard will have plenty of coverage elsewhere on the magnificent events of last Saturday afternoon at Dry Leas and, given that there were in excess of 3,000 people there to witness the Hawks victory and promotion to National 1, many of your readers must have witnessed the great day first hand!

On behalf of those of us who are down there week in week out, I would like to thank the town for the incredible turnout and atmosphere that you all helped create.

We knew it would be busy but not in our wildest dreams did we anticipate the huge throng that descended on our delightful little ground - we have never had two queues of 50 yards at the ticket office, which was the case for about 45 minutes. The first tickets were sold at 10.30am to six Worthing supporters!

On the subject of Worthing, they also contributed massively to the day. We don?t know exactly how many came, but it must have been near to 1,000, including the 20-plus Vikings in full Raiders kit.

Obviously it was not the result they would have wanted but we hope you enjoyed Dry Leas and the town itself... one Henley regular described the market place as "a sea of blue and yellow" before the game and we know that the town?s landlords were delighted to see you all as well.

Good luck this weekend for the play-off game against Stourbridge.

Finally, thanks to you all again and please come and see us in National 1 next year. Before Saturday, we were averaging around 400 people per game this season. If that turned into 800 next year, then it would make a massive difference both to the players on the field and the club overall.

As you will have realised if you were there on Saturday, you are likely to see some pretty exciting action as well next season. - Yours faithfully,

Rob Heginbotham

Henley Hawks




Thanks for great support

Sir, - A sincere thanks to all those who came to Dry Leas on Saturday to support the Hawks in their crucial match against league leaders Worthing - certainly the largest crowd in many years - and congratulations to the players and coaches of the team on their well-deserved promotion.

I am sure that all who attended thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon, were royally entertained and were impressed by the commitment, skill, organisation, fitness and entertainment provided.

Mike Poulson, the director of rugby, thanked the supporters on behalf of the players at the presentation at the end of the match and many of the players reiterated those comments to me later in the day, saying it was a crucial part of their success.

The promotion will see the Hawks playing in the third tier of English rugby, in the top 40 clubs in the country.

We will be playing some of the great names of English club rugby, Coventry, Richmond, Rosslyn Park, Blackheath, Fylde and Loughborough Students so we can anticipate some exciting and entertaining rugby.

The fixture list should be out in the next few weeks so please take note of our home games.

I can assure you that the club will continue to play the entertaining, high-paced rugby that has been on display all year, so well worth watching.

The challenge will be greater next year, with a number of the clubs full-time, so your continued support would be most welcome.

Once again thank you for your support, enjoy your summer and I look forward to seeing you all, and many others, at Dry Leas throughout next season. - Yours faithfully,

Graham Horner

President, Henley Rugby Club, Dry Leas, Henley




See you all next season

Sir, - More than 3,000 people turned up at Henley Rugby Club on Saturday to witness a truly momentous occasion with the Hawks gaining promotion to the third tier of English rugby.

This was a record crowd for a league game at Dry Leas and the whole playing squad would like to thank all those folk who made it such a memorable day.

The atmosphere was electrifying and several players commented on the emotion they felt when taking the pitch. It was an occasion for the whole club with hoards of mini and junior lads supporting their heroes and the scenes at the end of the game were truly amazing.

To all those who made it to Dry Leas for the first time please return next year to witness rugby from one of the top 40 clubs in the country.

In addition, several spectators spoke of the buzz in the town before kick-off with restaurants and pubs full of visiting supporters soaking up the sunshine - what a day.

See you all next season and once again thank you from all of us at Henley Rugby Club. - Yours faithfully,

Nigel Dudding

Coach, Henley Hawks




Difficulties for disabled

Sir, - Both my husband and I are unfortunate enough to need disabled badges.

It is only with the loss of mobility that one realises how a quick 10-minute walk for the able resembles the climbing of a mountain, with each step becoming slower and more exhausting, for the disabled.

You will appreciate therefore that my feelings are very strong when it comes to a discussion/non-discussion about parking in Henley.

The perception that disabled bays in the local car parks are sometimes under-used shows a distinct ignorance as to how difficult and painful every unnecessary step becomes, even when using a walking aid.

Indeed, we need more places to be designated "disabled" in the area of the crossroads to enable easier access to the shops in all directions.

I would also like to draw the attention of our town council to the mistaken belief that the weekly market is in some way beneficial to the town.

Yes, it draws people into the centre to buy their good but the traders take all the money collected out of the town.

Having enquired of several local retailers whether their businesses are in any way affected, their reply is usually that they have had either very few customers or none at all. "Think Local" does not apply apparently.

Surely this is extremely unfair to those who pay heavy rates and rents and does not help to encourage people to fill the empty shops which are a blemish on the town.

It also raises the subject of hygiene when food is on display. Every local establishment serving food has to undergo stringent tests by the relevant authorities in order to carry out their services. Seemingly this does not apply to the market traders.

Again, the subject of parking enters the scene. The remark made by Councillor Will Hamilton that "they can park anywhere" (presuming disabled badges are displayed) just does not apply during Thursday?s market day.

Not only do the market traders block one side of the road with their vans and lorries, they also have the audacity to place crates in the gutter along the whole opposite length of Market Place, thus denying parking to others.

Is there a hidden agenda of which we are ignorant? Thursday is the day of the week that is strictly off-limits to us and I wonder to how many others. It takes a huge effort to get oneself and any walking aid out of the car and to consider also removing a crate to make space is unthinkable and massively insulting to all taxpayers.

I look forward to receiving any observations the entire council may make. - Yours faithfully,

Name and address

supplied




Dedicated bay is vital

Sir, - I was appalled to read that Henley town councillors are trying to get rid of the disabled parking bay outside the Catherine Wheel in Hart Street.

Councillor Kellie Hinton must be blind if when she walks past she sees it under-used. I haven?t found that to be the case at all.

These bays are invaluable to me as I have a disabled husband who walks with great difficulty and not very far. There is no way he could walk from New Street or Greys Road bays when he attends his eye appointments at Frost Borneo or his dental appointments in Hart Street or we go to some of the shops in the town centre or we visit the Catherine Wheel and other restaurants in the

evenings.

That is the important thing about the Hart Street bays - they are in the town centre.

It is a pity some of these councillors aren?t disabled as then they might have an idea of how essential these bays are.

Why do the "few" always have to lose out? Please fight to save them. - Yours

faithfully,

Sylvia Thomson

Phyllis Court Drive, Henley




Bring back roundabout

Sir, - I believe that the time is right for us to return our beautiful town back to a peaceful place to live.

Since living in the centre we have witnessed that the one-way system, with its plethora of traffic lights, has turned our town into a race track.

Frustrated drivers, having waited ages to enter the town, put their foot down when they see a green traffic light and it is a miracle that no one has been killed.

Surely it is about time that we readdress this situation.

When we had the roundabout at the top of Station Road and no reduction of the road outside Regatta Court, the then two-lane traffic flowed freely.

Since the traffic lights were put there, angry drivers who have waited ages on White Hill not only race from the river side to catch the green light but take the risk of driving on the wrong side of the central reservation to join right-turning traffic.

The Northfield End roundabout works perfectly well, with motorists respecting this traffic system. Traffic lights stop the traffic, roundabouts keep it flowing.

I understand that the thinking now is to return to roundabouts, thus keeping the traffic flowing and achieving an enormous saving in electricity, so let?s do it.

If, like many places, we had the speed limit in the town reduced to 20mph and zebra crossings a little way away from the roundabouts we would have no traffic idling causing pollution and no angry motorists.

If the road which runs past the station was extended to join Reading Road through the trading estate then a great deal of our worries could be alleviated. - Your faithfully,

Valerie A Stoner

Wyndale Close, Henley




Why didn?t people vote?

Sir, - I would like to congratulate David Nimmo Smith on his victory in the Oxfordshire County council elections (Henley division) and also Stefan Gawrysiak for coming second.

At the count in Abingdon it looked as if the result could have gone either way and even myself, the UKIP candidate, looked likely to win at one stage but it was not to be.

My main reason for writing is because of the very poor turnout of only 30 per cent. Two questions arise which I hope those members of the public who did not vote will respond to.

Firstly, there were 1,394 postal votes sent out yet only 926 were returned - that is 67 per cent. Why would someone request a postal vote yet not return it?

Secondly, UKIP offered a different approach to what the other political groups had on offer and 28 per cent of voters supported this. The Henley Residents? Group candidate offered local issues and 28 per cent of voters supported that. The big question is why did 70 per cent of the residents not bother to come out and vote?

After 22 years of canvassing at different elections, and serving as both a town and district councillor, this was meant to have been my farewell but - and there is always a but - after meeting some other UKIP candidates at Abingdon who did not fall into any of David Cameron?s three categories, I have decided to carry on for a while in local politics, so if anyone wishes to join UKIP in the future please contact me.

Finally, could I thank everyone who did come out to vote. - Yours faithfully,

Ken Arlett

Elizabeth Road, Henley




Grounds for concern

Sir, - The spread of commercial coffee shops has bean the grounds for many a heated discussion, getting me hot under the collar for some time, and I fear if allowed to brew for any longer there will be not a street corner left without. I can appreciate the convenience of quickly nipping into one of these places when time in the daily grind allows.

However, when compared with the smaller charming artisanal cafés we are so lucky to have in Henley they appear to be all froth and no

substance.

Taking time to appreciate a skinny caffé macchiato or a long latte appears to be lost in our hectic lifestyle.

I like nothing more than chilling my beans in one of our smaller cafés where my little dog is made as welcome as I by the friendly baristas.

Fellow customers often teas Rocky, my white and mocha Jack Russell, as unfortunately he has no tail. Nonetheless, how we laugh!

Dear readers, I implore you to take the time to enjoy your hot beverage at one of our charming outlets. - Yours faithfully,

Peter Plaisted

South Moreton (formerly of Singers Lane, Henley)




Invaluable service

Sir, - After reading your letter pages in recent weeks, I felt I had to respond to the comments made by some of your readers.

Windowflowers, the company supplying and maintaining the hanging baskets in our joint campaign with the Henley Standard, is indeed based near Slough.

However, the company owner Miles Watson-Smyth is a local man who still lives in the area and the service that Windowflowers provides is not provided by other local companies.

Henley in Bloom is supported by a number of businesses, residents and community groups in the town and we also have a very good working relationship with Toad Hall garden centre, with whom we have many joint projects.

We value each of our partnerships and nobody can fault Miles or Windowflowers for the tremendous work they do making Henley beautiful as they have done for a number of years now, as well as their invaluable input and advice to the committee. - Yours faithfully,

Councillor Kellie Hinton

Chairwoman, Henley in Bloom




All behind Buy a Basket

Sir, - With reference to your Buy a Basket campaign, I believe that if you really want local support, you should print the forms and drop them through letterboxes along the major routes in the town.

Relying on word-of-mouth or shop owners reading the Henley Standard is not going to be successful. Maybe this is something Marisa Francini can organise? - Yours

faithfully,

Jason Lock

Director, Screaming Frog, Market Place, Henley




Now path stays open

Sir, - I was delighted to read that the Henley Festival is to move from the regatta site (Standard, May 3) and, by inference, desist from obstructing the Thames Path and towpath for seven days a year. I have opposed this since 1998 when the path was first closed by Wokingham District Council at the festival?s request, a decision which has always been very questionable.

I am sure the former Berkshire County Council must also certainly have been asked and had not done so for the preceding 16 years.

I suggested this move to Greenlands to the festival management about seven years ago. At that time they said it was out of the question. I am sure it will be a great success, with the easy parking, the beautiful lawns, buildings and riverside landscape, including an enormous fireworks field opposite.

Let?s hope a rival event does not bid for the regatta facilities.

For the millennium, the festival relented and the towpath remained open during the event. Perhaps they might think of doing the same for this year?s festival (apart from the closure for the heavy engineering required to moor the "floating" stage).

I might even go myself for the first time - Yours

faithfully,

David Parry

Greys Road, Henley




Festival move is good news

Sir, - What good news that the Henley Festival will, from next year, move two miles downstream and away from the public footpath.

Each year, the Open Spaces Society, along with other organisations and individuals, has opposed the festival?s temporary closure of the Thames Path National Trail, which we consider to be unnecessary and therefore not in compliance with the legislation.

Each year Wokingham Council has approved the closure in the face of the opposition.

At last this will no longer be an issue and the Thames Path will remain open for all. - Yours faithfully,

Kate Ashbrook

General secretary, the Open Spaces Society, Bell Street, Henley




Objective eye required

Sir, - I would like to respond to Philip Collings? long-winded attack on climate science (Standard, May 3).

The majority of his comments were not about climate science at all but focused on various side issues.

However, the one fact he did quote was, at best, misleading. He asserted that the increase in the extent of Arctic sea ice between the summer minimum and winter maximum indicates that the ice cover is very healthy.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. Sea ice cover is about volume as well as extent. As the ice has got thinner, the variation in extent has got larger. The summer minimum in 2012 was the lowest on record and the 2013 winter maximum was the sixth lowest.

Climate science is complex and I am always wary of individuals who are absolutely certain on either side of the argument but we should at least look at the data objectively and not skew it to fit a preconceived view. - Yours faithfully,

Tim Dickson

Greys Hill, Henley




The legacy of our inaction

Sir, - Unlike Philip Collings? reply to John Pears? letter of the previous week, it is not a "challenge" for me to respond to the issues he raised.

Actually, the above sentence is misleading. Mr Collings wrote that it was a challenge to respond briefly to the letter. So, by omitting one word, I changed the context of what he wrote.

That example of bias by omission is analogous to Mr Collings? failure to include a relevant piece of information in his reply, when he did not give the reason why there was a record increase in Arctic sea ice this winter.

The ice, of course, returns every winter and experts are indeed agreed that last season?s growth was the most they had seen.

However, this was caused by the previous summer?s melt back being so extensive that it left much more open water to later freeze over.

Mr Collings declined to mention this rather important "factoid", no doubt because it did not suit his argument or support his view that the ice cover is "very healthy".

Last summer?s minimum ice cover in the Arctic was the lowest on record and the 10 lowest have all occurred in the past decade. This is an important indicator that the planet is warming under the influence of heat trapping greenhouse gases.

That the Arctic is getting warmer is due to the "greenhouse effect" triggering an imbalance to the previously stable interaction that occurs between ice, ocean and

sunlight.

When the sea is covered by bright, reflective ice, incoming sunlight bounces back into space.

When the darker water underneath is exposed, some of the sun?s energy is absorbed, heating the sea water. This in turn warms the air above, increasing the melting and exposing ever more dark sea water to the incoming sunlight and so the cycle is repeated.

Another important "factoid" is that the thickness of the ice is diminishing rapidly and so far there is no evidence that it will return any time soon.

How appropriate therefore for Mr Collings to quote a writer of science fiction to further his case, deflecting the debate from what is the real problem here, not one of "consensus" science by concerned environmentalists but bad science by the climate change deniers.

Studies are beginning to show that changes in the far North are having a ripple effect on areas to the South. For example, this spring has been unusually cold across wide swathes of Europe and North America.

This may sound like a contradiction to global warming but it is not. The low temperatures were caused by a slow-moving, sprawling area of high pressure above Greenland. While surface air temperatures were well above average in Greenland and north-eastern Canada, the cold Arctic air was pushed into the mid-latitudes.

This helps to explain why rapid Arctic warming is paradoxically causing colder winters further south.

The evidence for global warming is irrefutable. To deny that humanity is responsible leaves the deniers able to support pumping ever more pollutants into the atmosphere with Germany, for example, announcing (according to MrCollings) that it is to build 12 coal-fired power stations.

Mr Collings glibly concludes that we here in the UK will initially benefit in various ways from an increase in temperature. But for how long?

As with economic migration, so those people experiencing the worst consequences of global warming will seek sanctuary in countries like the UK that are temporarily benefiting from the warmer climate.

These immigrants will add to our already overcrowded island - soon to be reduced in size by rising sea levels - and no doubt cause considerable social unrest.

Those of us that are concerned about the implications of climate change cannot but be alarmed at the lack of international political will to implement the changes necessary for the wellbeing of all life on earth.

By the time we wise up, when the evidence is incontrovertible, it will be too late.

In the decades to come future generations (have our leaders ever cared about them?) will suffer the dreadful consequences of our inaction over climate change. - Yours faithfully,

Richard Rule

Ravenscroft Road, Henley




Plagued by aircraft noise

Sir, - The residents of Mapledurham suffering helicopter noise (Standard, May 3) have my every sympathy.

As residents of Woodcote, we have suffered for years from aeroplane noise almost every weekend, from planes flying from an airstrip at Icknield Farm nearby.

This used to be just microlites that go round and round over our house but now we also have to tolerate the noise from gyrocopters, model planes, small aircraft and, worst of all, passenger-carrying planes taking up

parachutists.

There is not a moment of peace in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Much of this flying is outside planning approval. An enforcement notice was issued by South Oxfordshire District Council on May 12, 2010 to regularise matters but this has been ignored. While that council struggles to resolve the situation, Woodcote Parish Council is not the slightest bit interested.

I have spoken to a number of councillors about this matter to no effect. They seem much too busy trying to stop local residents and landowners putting forward possible future building sites for the village.

My understanding of the Woodcote neighbourhood plan is that all suitable sites available in the village should be put to villagers for consideration should the landowners wish to offer them.

The parish council and its committee of volunteers seem to be using the plan to prevent suitable sites being made available, despite the fact that any development in the future will be at the behest of the village and the planners at the time.

Meanwhile, we have just suffered another Sunday of constant aeroplane noise at the weekend.

Once Michael O?Leary starts regular Ryan Air commuter flights from here to London City Airport it will be too late! - Yours faithfully,

Mark P Hatt

South Stoke Road,

Woodcote




Police should know better

Sir, - It concerns me greatly that our local police appear to have no idea what cannabis looks like or about its effects (Standard, May 3).

How can our children be correctly educated as to the risk and impact of the use of illegal drugs when representatives of our police force are unclear?

The Lancet has reported that no deaths have ever been recorded from cannabis

poisoning.

While there would be no long-term medical effects if a child/pet ate a cannabis "wrap" (some interesting terminology there), should they have attempted to eat one of what have been reported as "fun snaps", the explosive material contained within could well have caused serious injury.

Not such a "fun" story after all. - Yours faithfully,

Emma Marlow

Henley




Thanks for old glasses

Sir, - Henley Lions Club members took part again this year in a gathering-up of used spectacles to be refurbished and distributed to severely needy people in developing countries.

Members collected 1,200 pairs for this year?s SpekTrek. The boxes we regularly empty are at the Nettlebed and Bell (Henley) surgeries and at Tesco.

We would like to thank them for displaying the collection boxes together with our own Henley opticians for their help.

We received the following email from our district

co-ordinator: "Many thanks for your contributions. We collected 123,572 pairs of spectacles plus quite a few hearing aids. Thank you for all your efforts. The running total now stands at about 2,563,572 over the last 31 years of SpecTrek."

This is a commendable effort to help others in need and to be able to use a resource that may well otherwise go to landfill.

Thank you to all who have donated to the collection. If anyone has any specs they would like to donate, please get in touch with us or take them to one of the above. - Yours faithfully,

John Moore

Henley Lions Club




Want an old phone box?

Sir, - We read with interest your Diary item about the old red telephone box in Highmoor (Standard, March 29).

We are a local firm selling red telephone boxes and post boxes and advertise in Country Life and we are regular exhibitors at the Henley Show.

Our restored ex-BT K6 red telephone boxes are currently available at £1,895.00 plus VAT and we also sell old post boxes ranging from Queen Victoria to ERII.

We thought that this would be of interest to your readers. - Yours faithfully,

David Wicks

Heritage Trading, Marlow




More News:

POLL: Have your say