Sir, — Since the field above the Thames inspired so many this year, here’s a shot to end it all! — Yours faithfully,
No need to destroy trees
Sir, - It is interesting to note the highly moral, informed and strict stance taken by the Henley Town Council in insisting on the type, size and spacing of trees to replace those lost to disease at the River and Rowing Museum.
How does this stance compare with its offer of land both directly to developers and for access to potential development sites under the joint Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan?
All the sites offered by the council have tree preservation orders protecting the trees thereon and, should any development be granted, would necessitate the removal and destruction of a great number of prtected trees -trees that were placed in the safe keeping of this council.
Any development of land at the spinney behind the Reading Road allotments would require removal of swathes of trees currently protected by a TPO.
Access to Blandy Road over Henley Town Council land from the Gillotts School and Lucy?s Farm potential developments would require the removal of all those trees on that tree-protected area.
The access on to Fair Mile would require the removal of trees alongside this beautiful and historic entrance to Henley (with maybe more to go when the highways deceleration lanes are constructed).
On the site itself trees seemingly protected by being located in a conservation area would need to be felled, altering its nature forever.
Could it be that Henley Town Council will be incentivised for abandoning its high moral ground taken at the River and Rowing Museum and setting the scene for this environmental vandalism under the neighbourhood plan?
The council, as lead authority in the plan, has a duty to protect our environment (and, presumably, its green manifesto).
My understanding is that conservation areas and areas of outstanding natural beauty are established by independent bodies to protect our environment and national treasures for future generations.
We must exhaust all other possibilities before going down this irreversible path.
The council must also consider the following:
Has it sought the view of the South Oxfordshire District Council tree officer?
Is it consistent in its application on matters involving our trees?
What is to be the financial reward involved?
Is the council conflicted?
Is it worth it?
Finally, Oxfordshire County Council also has ransom strips over access to Lucy?s Farm, Gillotts School and Fair Mile. What is its position on these matters?
From the various sites put forward to the neighbourhood plan there seems to be sufficient brownfield sites in and around Henley and currently already generating traffic to provide the 400 houses required without going into our green and playing fields and destroying our trees and environment. - Yours
Fair Mile, Henley
Preserve this giant beauty
Sir, - That big and beautiful tree that your correspondent John Goldsmith wants removed from his property at Dunsden Green (Standard, November 29) is always on the horizon as I cycle by on my way to and from Henley. It?s a stand-out tree.
But, like Mr Goldsmith, I do feel a certain amount of concern. Such tall trees can be a menace in high winds. I feel an urge to look more closely and am concerned at the cables covered by the tree tops.
In the long term I feel this beauty needs a haircut, which would help all round. No one wants a danger to befall a neighbour or a passing
I hope common sense prevails and that this fine and attractive giant is pruned and saved for our future pleasure.
For every tree lost we should plant three more. - Yours faithfully,
Ramshill, Petersfield, Hants
Help improve our theatre
Sir, - I would like to bring to the attention of your readers the opportunity for those who vote in Henley to have their say in the use of funds to be paid by the chosen developers for the 400 new houses.
These funds, known as the Community Infrastructure Levy, are to be paid by the developers for the benefit of the community.
The council has provided for local residents to have their say on the back page of the plan questionnaire, which can be downloaded at www.surveymonkey.com/s/jhhp
The council has given a list of certain priorities which, given our history, unsurprisingly does not include the Kenton Theatre.
However, there is a section marked "other priorities" where you can specify your own priority and I urge all friends and lovers of the Kenton to please take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and choose the Kenton as a recipient of some of these funds.
It is estimated that the CIL could generate upwards of £10?million and a small part of these funds would be invaluable for the Kenton to further develop and improve its facilities for the benefit of all its customers.
The forms have to be submitted by the January 13, so please don?t delay and make your voice count. - Yours faithfully,
Chairman, Kenton Theatre, New Street, Henley
Yes, you can ban HGVs
Sir, - the recent incident of the Asda lorry breaking down in New Street vividly illustrates the continuing problem of heavy goods vehicles using Henley as a rat-run.
In this regard, the introduction of a traffic regulation order banning vehicles with an operating weight exceeding 7.5 tonnes has frequently been raised in Henley Town Council meetings, most recently with the traffic advisory committee in July.
Unfortunately, the minutes of council meetings show that councillors often believe that a 7.5 tonne limit cannot be introduced under current law since Henley Bridge is structurally able to cope with HGVs.
Such statements show a lack of understanding of the Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984 that governs traffic regulation orders.
Under the Act and its amendments, a weight restriction order can be imposed for both structural and environmental reasons.
Environmental reasons include air quality (of which Henley has a documented problem), noise, vibration, congestion or even improving the general amenities of an area.
Further, from Brighton to Perth, local authorities across the country have introduced weight restrictions for non-structural reasons.
Finally, there is no need for HGVs to pass through Henley. The online lorry logistics company ukhaulier.co.uk provides an HGV route planner that shows no recommended routes through Henley.
In summary, the vast majority of residents don?t want HGVs passing through Henley, UK Haulier shows there is no need for them to do so and the legal framework exists to stop it.
So why don?t our elected representatives get behind a ban on HGVs? - Yours faithfully,
St Mark?s Road, Henley
Vile lorries not welcome
Sir, - I was appalled to learn that Oxfordshire County Council has given permission to Lafarge Aggregates to increase its gravel and sand excavations at Sonning (Standard, December 6).
This will mean an increase in the number of dreadful juggernauts rumbling through the streets of Henley, spewing out fumes and causing air and noise pollution as well as desperate damage to roads and pavements alike (adding to an already out-of-control air pollution problem and increasing road and pavement maintenance costs).
If the county council insists that this is a way of recouping some of the Conservative-led Government?s savage cuts, at least it could insist that these vile lorries take some route other than straight across one of Oxfordshire?s most historic market towns. - Yours
Henley Town Council, Luker Avenue, Henley
Noise concern was ignored
Sir, - Opinion in Stonor has been divided over a planning application by the Quince Tree for additional late night opening.
It is surprising, therefore, that the parish council, rather than try to find a way of healing this rift, has come out unequivocally in support of the application without making any attempt to try to help or reassure neighbours concerned about late night noise.
The Quince Tree is widely, and quite rightly, supported in the village but it is natural that neighbours should have concerns over such an
It is regrettable that the parish council should have totally ignored them. - Yours faithfully,
Keep Tesco out of village
Sir, - I am writing to protest in the strongest possible way against the plans that are now coming to light about Tesco in Goring.
While most of us would agree that there is a place for supermarkets in today?s society, we do not need a takeover bid in small villages which will inevitably kill local business and the community spirit.
I will not only never use the store if it comes to Goring but I will also withdraw my support from Tesco in any shape of form going forward. - Yours faithfully,
Fiona Thatcher and family
Wantage Road, Streatley
Sir, - I am concerned that Eurocrats in Brussels are attempting to extend their influence further into matters which must remain with nation states. Last month, the so-called "social scoreboard", as proposed by a socialist member of the European Parliament, could give license to the EU to meddle in matters such as healthcare, benefits and housing policy.
Conservative MEPs are fighting against these plans, which would score member states on measures such as child-poverty levels, access to healthcare, homelessness and on a decent work index. Labour and Liberal Democrat MEPs, however, voted in support of the EU
Despite the fact that the report is presented in the context of the single currency, there is no clause exempting countries outside the Eurozone, such as the United Kingdom.
This is an attempt by socialist members of the European Parliament to create a role for the EU as Europe?s social conscience.
Worse than that, they want to appropriate powers to supervise and intervene in the manner in which member states deal with social problems. They want to set up an EU social police.
Nobody would oppose attempts to eradicate poverty, ill health and homelessness, but I firmly believe this is a matter for individual nation states to tackle, not Brussels-based EU institutions. - Yours faithfully,
Conservative MEP for South-East England, Brussels
Grant money available
Sir, - Henley is renowned as a wonderful place for community festivals and we are blessed with many local organisations volunteering to keep the vibrancy of our town alive.
Volunteer groups and community assets often require a helping hand with their funding which is why South Oxfordshire District Council sets aside £1?million a year to invest in these wonderful schemes.
The Community Investment Fund is possible thanks to the continued sound financial management of the council, a feat especially impressive given we have continually reduced council tax for our residents.
Any community group in South Oxfordshire can apply for capital grants of up to £15,000 throughout the year and up to £100,000 annually.
I would strongly urge community groups to apply for this funding by contacting the council or visiting our website, www.southoxon.gov.uk - Yours faithfully,
Councillor Will Hall
South Oxfordshire District Council (Henley South), New Street, Henley
Remembering speedway club
Sir, - I am investigating the history of Henley Hawks Cycle Speedway Club 1955-1958, which was founded by myself and Nick Simmons.
It represents a very small part of Henley?s sporting history but I feel it should not be forgotten. It was notable for the fact that it was operated by a group of 50 youngsters, mainly teenagers, with minimal adult help.
The club staged more than 50 race meetings in its four-year existence.
I have spent some considerable time obtaining information about the club?s activities, in particular examining the reports submitted by me to your newspaper in 1957 and 1958. Reports were not submitted in the first two years.
As well as my compiling A Racing History, a commemorative website has been set up (www.cyclespeedwayhistory.org.uk/1993.shtml), part of a nationwide task undertaken by Dave Hunting.
It is recorded under Berkshire as the tracks were both on the other side of the bridge. There is more to be added to the website, including the names of the riders.
There are still a number of gaps in the history and very few photographs have surfaced.
May I, through this letter, ask if any residents in the Henley area can help me to fill these?
If anyone has any information, photographs or artefacts which would help me to complete my task, please send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
It goes without saying that any items loaned will be returned in the condition received. - Yours faithfully,
Cavendish Gardens, Winnersh
Educating the poor
Sir, - The recent exhibition, African Dream, held at the Old Fire Station Gallery in Henley, attracted many visitors.
We would like to thank everyone for the wonderful compliments and generosity given in support of the charity Serian UK.
The success of the event will further the development and progress at Noonkodin Secondary School in Tanzania.
There is no state secondary education in Tanzania and therefore for many rural Maasai families, who live at subsistence level, a place at secondary school remains a dream.
The Maasai believe in the "power of the pen" and every penny really does help in realising the dream.
No expenses are deducted by Serian UK and the costs of staging the exhibition, including all the artwork and craft, were donated.
Thank you so much and a wonderful 2014 to all. - Yours faithfully,
Janine FitzGerald, Dave McEwen and Bob Webzell
Trustees, Serian UK
Sir, - Our members held a collection for the Philippines on Saturday, December 14 in the Waitrose car park when we raised £746.55.
On behalf of Henley Rotary Club, I would like to sincerely thank all of those who gave so generously for this cause.
Please may also I give the assurance that every penny of these funds collected will be used directly to support the Filipino people and the survivors of the recent devastating typhoon. - Yours faithfully,
Henley Rotary Club
Poem from 18th century
Sir, - I thought you might be interested in this poem because of its title, Written In An Inn At Henley, by William Shenstone, the 18th century English poet. - Yours