Thursday, 05 August 2021

Your letters

Let?s not be too parochial

Let?s not be too parochial

Sir, ? How good is the state of our nation and region? Sometimes it is worth looking back and taking stock, being thankful for the good things and learning from the less good. Both nationally and locally, that is wise practice, never more so than over the last year, immediately preceding an election. There have been many good things. Nationally, the budget deficit is coming down, employment is up and unemployment down and Britain has many new businesses. But is the economy all that matters? If the Church of England archbishops are to be believed, it is not. There is the social dimension, with more people than ever dependent on food banks, which operate even in Henley. Moreover there is the socio-economic divide between the South-East and the rest of the UK. However, in a lecture to the London Swinton Circle, a right-wing debating group, in March last year I also majored on the foreign policy and the threat we face from other countries, including Islamic states, Russia and others. Since then these concerns have been amply borne out by facts. For instance, I have read that in the last year there have been 400 incursions into NATO air space by Russian military aircraft, many of them into British airspace. This has been at the end of a period when the British fighter squadrons have plunged from 26 to just seven and Air Marshall Sir Michael Graydon, former head of the RAF, now says that Britain cannot defend itself against the military threat posed by Russia. There have been intrusions off Bournemouth and Cornwall by Tupolev nuclear bombers in the last two weeks and there have been nuclear submarine intrusions around Britain as well. Putin has shown his contempt for the West and particularly the UK (which he now regards as a political nonentity), by invading Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Moreover the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are clearly now considered at risk ? Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has not only said as much but now states that NATO is getting ready to fight back. Even David Cameron has admitted that Russia is a graver threat to us than ISIS. Doubtless it is no coincidence that Russia is planning to sell 12 of the latest Sukhoi SU-24 supersonic jets to Argentina at a time when we are sending 1,000 more troops to the Falklands. If this is not enough, there has arisen the barbaric Muslim ISIS organisation, which has conquered huge swathes of Iraq and Syria and cruelly murders any ?infidel? by which it means anyone disagreeing with itself, especially Christians and Westerners. Moreover, ISIS has spread its tentacles to Libya, a nation whose condition already makes a mockery of Mr Cameron?s triumphalist claims of a few years back. Oxfordshire has had its own local disappointments. The relentless financial cuts by the county council have continued right up to this week and we have had our share of sad events too. There was the phenomenal M40 crash involving 35 to 45 vehicles with one death and many injured. Earlier Banbury Cricket and Conference Centre was burnt to the ground and South Oxfordshire District Council?s offices at Crowmarsh Gifford were likewise incinerated ? not long after we had suffered the sad and premature death of the council?s leader, the popular Ann Ducker MBE. Following the Dutch elm disease disaster, the Sunday Telegraph tells us that ash dieback is now out of control and may spread to every wood in the country. Whatever would Morgan cars do for their ash frames then? Which leads me to conclude that we should not be so pre-occupied with parochial matters that we lose sight of the national and regional pictures, which affect us every bit as much, if not more. And I trust that we will all hope and pray for happier circumstances in the important election year ahead. ?

Yours faithfully, Councillor David  Silvester Henley Town Council, Luker Avenue, Henley

No monopoly on martyrdom

Sir, ? As a lifelong atheist whose equally atheist parents brought me up to respect and admire people of all faiths (or none), I should like to take this opportunity to express my disappointment at the tone and content of Rev David R Jackson?s ?Thought for the week? (Standard, February 20), ostensibly on the origins of St Valentine and the concept of martyrdom.Rev Jackson?s column must be challenged from two angles: on the socio-political level, there are undertones of Islamophobia and immigrant-bashing and on the historical and ideological level, for his implied assertion that only certain Christians who ?follow their Master, Jesus, God the Son? are ?martyrs? in the true sense of the word. I?m sure the Reverend is aware that there have been and there are many, including sects of Christianity, who maintain their belief in God but do not necessarily believe that Jesus was/is the son of God.Although he does not name immigrants, Islam or Muslims, I wonder what Rev Jackson had in mind (even subconsciously) when he wrote: ?In contrast to the barbaric view of life that gives the title ?martyr? to suicidal murderers, it?s worth stressing that it?s totally foreign to the nature of a Christian martyr to inflict harm on anyone else.? This is unacceptable to the nature of all human beings ? be they men, women, foreign, Christian, Muslim, Jewish or even me, an atheist. Why highlight and differentiate between a ?Christian martyr? and others?Does the Reverend realise that he is in a position of respect and authority (albeit in a very limited way nowadays)? The use of such tone and language has obvious connotations which he should be aware of.As a non-believer, I prefer to listen to, and learn about, humanity and the nature of Christianity from the likes of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Why is it that he does not use loaded words which, even unintentionally, lead to misunderstanding and separating people based on an accident of birth?History has shown many non-Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Bahais, Jews and others such as myself who have no concept of an afterlife or reincarnation (that is, no reward) have indeed sacrificed their lives without harming anyone else for the greater good or for a belief. Rev Jackson?s type of Christians have no monopoly on martyrdom. Indeed, ?Christian? martyrs, like their Muslim counterparts and unlike atheists, have looked forward to some form of reward for their sacrifice.Religion has historically been both a source for good and evil, whether Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or any other.Perhaps Rev Jackson can explain which ?Christianity? he is advocating: I hope it?s the church that accepts gay marriage, women bishops, the poor and downtrodden and which struggles to bring people of all faiths (or none) together. I?m sure it?s not the ?Christianity? that justified apartheid in South Africa. ? Yours faithfully,Abadass TehraniGrosvenor Road, CavershamMake your vote countSir, ? Does Henley have the dubious honour of having the worst councillors in England? If, like me, you believe so then please think very carefully about how you vote in the upcoming elections. This is our chance to start afresh. If you are in doubt, please consider the following shining examples:l A councillor who believes that flooding in the Thames was caused by gay marriage legislation. l A councillor who is under a restraining order after bombarding a former girlfriend with calls and texts.l A Mayor who changes party halfway through his tenure but doesn?t feel the need to inform the hapless electorate why. The unedifying sight of these councillors tearing chunks out of each other in the Henley Standard every week is surely the last straw. Please bear all this in mind when you go to the ballot box in May. It is our chance to let them know how we feel. ?

Yours faithfully, Tim Dickson Greys Hill, Henley

Imaginative criticism

Sir, ? In response to your correspondent James Davidson (Standard, February 27), who for some reason does not appear on any electoral register but suggested that he had voted for Mayor Martin Akehurst, I would like to correct some of the misinformation that someone has passed on to him (that is if there really is a James Davidson). Likewise Michelle Twyman, who wrote in very similar style from Friar Street in Reading!I did indeed start with Henley Residents? Group back in 1991 and only resigned in 2005 due to a dispute with another member who was later thrown out of the group and is now chairman of Peppard Parish Council. From then on I stood as an Independent until the Oxfordshire County Council elections in 2013 when I stood under the banner of UKIP. I have never ?flirted? with the Liberals but I must accept that at one time I was asked to stand as a Conservative candidate, which for personal reasons I had to decline.Mr Davidson suggests there was an abortive attempt by me to get another HRG member to defect to UKIP. Produce the evidence, sir, as this is your imagination running wild. He goes on to suggest my questions at town council meetings are a waste of councillors? time but all questions are asked from council minutes and agenda items, as per the council?s standing orders, and hopefully are asked to make Henley an even better place to live. The question that does need to be asked is who is James Davidson since he seems to even less known than Herman van Rompuy!Councillor Dieter Hinke asks who I will be standing for in May. At district level, UKIP will be putting forward candidates of which, if selected, I could be one. At town council level if any of our members wish to stand they will do so as Independents as we do not see this as political as the Conservatives do in their naked lust for power. ?

Yours faithfully, Ken Arlett Chairman, UKIP Henley constituency, Elizabeth Road, Henley

Please back our sale plan

Sir, ? As many of your readers will know, another round of consultation on the joint Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan is under way. As some of them will also know, Gillotts School has offered a part of the school?s land to the plan. It is widely recognised that the school?s sports and teaching and learning facilities would benefit from investment. However, spending in real terms on education has declined during this parliament and the prospects for the next parliament are no better. There has been much talk of fund-raising to finance rejuvenation of the school but nobody has shown a shred of evidence that it is possible to raise millions of pounds in this way. Selling a part of the school?s land looks like the only realistic way of giving Henley and its young people the school they deserve and the neighbourhood plan looks like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do it. Against this background, I think it makes excellent sense for people in Henley to respond to the consultation on the draft plan in support of the plan and in support of Gillotts? inclusion in it. ?

Yours faithfully, David Gorsuch Chairman of governors, Gillotts School, Henley

Arguing is irresponsible

Sir, ?I read John Dixon?s letter headlined ?Blame forces of nature? with interest (Standard, February 20). I had to read it more than once because I?m not a scientist and wanted to understand the point. But I cannot agree that as human beings we have not had an influence on the levels of CO2 and other gases in our atmosphere. From the moment simian became sapiens and picked up the first tool, shaped his first weapon, man has been shaping the planet and not been shaped by it. Moreover, the planet has been reacting to that. But not until the industrial revolution did the damage become so excessive that planet could not fully  compensate.The planet is a complex ecosystem that attempts to keep the balance in one way or another, whatever is thrown at it.There are both natural and man-made triggers, volcanoes and factories, earthquakes and automobiles, meteorites and motorways, forest fires and deforestation. We harken to an age of ?this green and pleasant land?, thinking it was natural. Nothing of the sort. The natural state of the British Isles is a swathe of forest from tip to toe. It was farming that created the pre-automobile idyll we yearn for.The planet has lost millions of acres of forest and foliage, which collected carbon, locking it away and producing oxygen in autumn or death, decomposition producing a fertile soil. But now the ?lungs? of the planet have been cut down to make way for two CO2 producing activities ? beef and building. Very soon after 9/11 several studies were reported on to do with a significant temperature rise during the week or so that a blanket ?no fly? policy had been in place. It showed that the drop in particulates from aircraft, which caused the light to scatter, resulted directly in the sudden rise in temperature around the globe.This is not as good a thing for sun worshippers as it might seem for such a rise melts ice more quickly. To appreciate the problem that causes you have to look to the Atlantic Conveyor. This is the flow of seawater around the oceans. The movement follows a circuitous route, being warmed and cooled throughout its journey. We have the Gulf Stream keeping us ?warm? because of it. The problem is that the salinity (salt content) of the water is important. Add billions of litres of fresh ice water (from the North or South Pole) and it gives this moving body of water a ?stomach ache?.It slows down and stops spreading the warmth it picked up in the Gulf of Mexico towards Europe. Result: colder weather, even ice ages as with the ?outburst flood? of the St Lawrence River area some 8,000 years ago into the North Atlantic.To claim human activity does not contribute or exacerbate these phenomena is plain wrong. Deforestation in the central United States for farming created the ?dust bowl? and ?tornado alley? that storm chasers and photographers are so enamoured with. In Indonesia, Thailand and the Congo it has caused irreparable damage to the fertile soil substructure, making it not only useless but dangerous with regularly reported washouts and mud floods.Fighting to somehow repair and redress the balance in nature is neither bad nor wrong.What is wrong is the fact that the whole science community is at loggerheads to prove or disprove any evidence, preventing anything being done ? just like two firemen arguing over which one uses a bucket and which one the hose while the building in front of them burns down regardless.There are so many important small points in the jigsaw of climate change argument that it becomes a huge debate but to claim the human race is not part of the problem and does not need to find solutions, however many and varied, is like claiming we are just visiting. It?s irresponsible. ?

Yours faithfully, Edward Sierpowski Crisp Road, Henley

Different climate data

Sir, ? I refer to Andrew Hawkins? letter in which he takes credit for spawning my letter as well as those of Philip Collings and Richard Jones (Standard, February 13).This can only be described as delusional, when it is obvious that the letters were overwhelmingly in response to other correspondence. The Met Office data he quoted is for the UK only. His inability to grasp the difference between this local data and the mean global temperature tells us more about his logic disconnect than about world climate.He then displays a further logic disconnect by saying that I had ignored his data. Far from ignoring it, I wrote a paragraph specifically addressing his letter. As I said, the hours of sunshine data and the industrial air pollution hypothesis both came from the Met Office and were specific to the UK, i.e. with no scientific basis for extrapolating UK climate to the rest of the globe, as is clear even from published Met Office global mean temperature data. I most certainly did not say that the small amount of ?global? warming was due to pollution reduction. ?

Yours faithfully, M Reid New Road, Shiplake

Sadly, I won?t be back

Sir, ? As a committed real ale drinker, I have been following the correspondence in your paper about the pub scene in and around Henley with interest and would like to add my own thoughts on what has been written so far.Roger Clayson draws comparisons between Brakspear and Adnams but there is one important difference: Adnams has invested heavily over the years in new brewing plant and new technology, ensuring that the quality of its core range of beers is maintained, while at the same time allowing it to add exciting new beers to its portfolio. All the other brewers he mentions have similarly continued to brew their own beer. Meanwhile, the [then] major shareholders of Brakspear instead preferred to make a fast buck by selling their heritage down the river and abandoning brewing. For me, the day the New Street brewery closed the heart and soul was ripped out of Henley ? to say nothing of the consequential job losses. So much for the community spirit referred to by a few of the letter writers.Brakspear may argue that the beer is still brewed to the same recipe using some of the original equipment and so nothing has changed. I?m sorry, but my taste buds tell me differently. Judging by the paucity of Brakspear-tied pubs currently featured in CAMRA?s Good Beer Guide, it seems I am not alone in this view. To paraphrase the postscript to Jude Bishop?s letter: When I last looked at who won awards in the champion beers of Britain competition, I did not see Brakspear listed!Ms Bishop makes another fatuous comment when she says that it?s not Brakspear?s responsibility to entice customers through their pubs? doors but it is dictating which beers can and cannot be sold in these pubs.No matter what ambience is created by the tenants, or the excellence of the food on offer, it is the range and quality of the real ales that will have me returning to any given pub on a frequent basis.The landlord of the Station House takes James Lambert, the author of the original letter, to task for referring to the pub as an ?abject failure?. Personally, I have no idea of how commercially viable the current business is. All I can say is that, in its previous incarnation, it not only brewed a range of beers on the premises but also showcased an ever-changing variety of beers from several local breweries. Whenever I was passing I would call in to find out and sample what exciting new flavours were available. Since Brakspear acquired the site, and immediately shut down the brewing operation (another Brakspear brewery closure!) and ended the guest beer policy, it hardly seems worth my while to venture in.I acknowledge that Brakspear does allow some of its tied pubs (those with sufficient turnover of real ales) to offer some additional ales but these are all equally bland offerings from yet more breweries that have been acquired by the Marston?s conglomerate. In short, there is little to entice me to frequent Brakspear pubs these days, which is a sad state of affairs. ?

Yours faithfully, Keith Brown St Mark?s Road, Henley

New solution to congestion

Sir, ? Since the commencement of the roadworks at the junction of Greys Road/ Reading Road, it must be obvious to most people that the traffic flow through the eastern end of Henley has improved even with the traffic light phasing unchanged. Although not completely uncongested at rush hour, it?s a lot better than it was and sometimes can be eerily quiet. Also, traffic on Station Road moves better. People used to exiting the Greys Road car park and turning left or traffic coming down Greys Road aren?t deliriously happy about having to do a circuit of Henley to achieve their travel goals. What do the police do if called to a emergency in, say, Shiplake? Perhaps it?s time for the highways authority (Oxfordshire County Council) to think of different ideas to alleviate Henley?s congestion.For example, redesign Greys Road car park by making a proper road through it between the two entries/exits. Keep the junction of Greys Road/Reading Road closed but allow a left filter into Greys Road. Heavy goods vehicles coming down Greys Road would use Deanfield Avenue instead of the car park.Obviously these proposals are not to everybody?s satisfaction and pundits will come out of nowhere to rubbish them technically and aesthetically but it?s food for thought and maybe its time to think outside the box. ?

Yours faithfully, John Whiting Orchard Close, Henley

20mph limit is daft idea

Sir, ? Regarding the Shiplake 20mph speed zone proposal, I?d like to raise a few points to make my objection.Oh dear, oh dear, once again those sad prohibitionists who can?t sleep at night thinking about us normal happy people zooming about in Shiplake at 30mph. What?s the body count over the last few years? Zero, I believe!Give them 20mph and they?ll be clamouring for 15mph, then 10mph, then 5mph. These people are never happy unless they are interfering in other people?s lives. Let?s hear no more of this daft idea.Well done, local resident Robert Pehrson, for alerting us to this nonsensical scheme. ? Yours faithfully,Jim CowanLower ShiplakeDefend NHS from profitSir, ? Despite giving assurances that the national health service would not be re-organised, this Government is dedicated to dismantling it. Its intentions became clear almost immediately with campaigns focused on NHS problems. Private companies do not face these levels of scrutiny, ?commercial sensitivity? being their get-out-of-jail free card. This was followed by the introduction of internal competition and privatisation costing more than any savings. No major enterprise of any size is problem-free but none is dealing with problems as complex as the NHS, whether medical, logistical or organisational. Adding private profit to this will destroy a magnificent attempt to provide the humane solution of free healthcare for all. Yes, I know we pay for it through taxes and in doing so we prove ourselves to be a magnificent country. We now need to take action to defend the NHS to prove we are worthy of living in this magnificent country. ?

Yours faithfully, James Parker Elliott?s Way, Caversham

Difficult to see your GP

Sir, ? It used to be that one could see one?s own GP without waiting two weeks to be able to do so. These days one has to just pick any available GP. Naturally this means the GP-patient relationship which has always been so important no longer really exists. Perhaps if GPs spent less time at the hospital their surgery patients could enjoy more of their time. Surely Townlands can hire its own GPs? ?

Yours faithfully, Soren Nielsen Belle Vue Road, Henley

Site should come first

Sir, ? Your correspondent Roger Bale is quite right that there has been, and continues to be, misleading information circulating about the sites to be considered in the planned consultation for the Heights School in Caversham (Standard, February 27). He is, however, quite wrong in suggesting that the Mapledurham Playing Fields Charitable Trust ?has been breached on more than one occasion?. This has not been the case so far due to the regulations set by the Charity Commission. The development of the tennis courts and the pavilion, which he may be referring to, were modifications to the trust scheme with the knowledge and approval of the commission because these facilities satisfied the requirement that they be open for recreational purposes for all.To this end, the tennis courts and the pavilion, designed as a badminton hall with changing facilities, are available to all. The commission?s regulations are quite clear and no development would be allowed unless it is for the purposes of recreation for the beneficiaries or the improvement of such.Rather than spreading yet more misleading information, Mr Bale should be asking the question why anyone in their right mind would start a school without first obtaining a suitable site that could accommodate such an establishment. ?

Yours faithfully, Councillor Rev Keith Knee-Robinson Mapledurham Parish Council

Fantastic donations

Sir, ? Please pass on our gratitude and thanks to your young journalist Helen Patchett who wrote the article about the Wear It Beat event at my house (Standard, February 13).We held a coffee morning, silent auction and raffle and raised a phenomenal amount, which is why I am writing to you.Please could I thank all of the following local businesses and retailers as without their fantastic free donations I would not have been able to reach such a great total, which currently stands at £1,202 and still counting.Thanks go to: Mary Berry, via Felicity Bryan Agency, Oxford; Kidmore End School staff and parents; Ruby Pepper, Goring; Erica at Brambles Florist, Sonning Common; Wendy Morgan at the Wendy House, Caversham; Bespoke Nails, Caversham; Quattro Pizzeria, Caversham; Waitrose; House of Cards, Caversham; Camilla Skinner at Dege & Skinner, Savile Row; the Herb Farm, Sonning Common; Val Solman, for providing cups, saucers and tea plates; Leeanne Herbert, the Cakepop Company, Gallowstree Common; Janet Hartrup, Kidmore End, for her coffee and coffee machine; and all my friends, family and Kidmore End mums for providing cakes and support on the day. ?

Yours faithfully, Jane Topham Mill Lane, Kidmore End

Thank you for support

Sir, ? A big thank-you from all of us at the Regatta for the Disabled to Clare and her team at Precious Love for raising a fabulous £250 towards the costs of this year?s event (Standard, February 27). Canelle Beauty, the Kenton Theatre, the Chocolate Café, Upstairs & Downstairs, Henley Nails and Brows, Elements Cut & Style, Laurence Menswear and Maison Blanc provided Valentine?s Day draw prizes. An extra thank-you must go to those businesses for supporting Precious Love, so please support all these guys on your next shopping trip.The Regatta for the Disabled will take place on September 5 at Phyllis Court Club, offering accessible boating and riverside attractions, where the less able can enjoy a day out with friends enjoying the same activities together.Precious Love?s donation enables us to keep our entry charge to £5 with no further charges for boat trips.Thanks again from the many smiling faces who enjoy a day on the river! ?

Yours faithfully, Ian Tritton Chairman, Regatta for the Disabled

Bullying girls at cinema

Sir, ? My young son and I attended the 5.40pm 3D screening of Big Hero 6 at the Henley Regal cinema on  February 19.We arrived to an empty auditorium (screen 3) and sat in row D seats 1 and 2. A party of about seven girls aged about nine to 12 came in shortly after us, shouting, yelling and running around.They sat in row E right behind us in seats 1-7. The cinema will no doubt be able to trace these children by the booking details. My son and I chose to ignore this bad behaviour through the pre-film advertising, hoping that the girls would settle once the film started.Incidentally, there was either no 3D image or a great deal of visual disturbance on screen for the first 10 minutes of the film and I eventually left the auditorium to ask for help. An attendant then apologised and restarted the film, so we sat through the first few minutes a second time. I believe that his explanation was that a 2D reel had been run in a 3D projector or vice-versa. I hoped that the newly corrected 3D would enable the group of girls to settle but the whooping and screeching and showing off to each other continued as did the thumping on the backs of our chairs with feet and hands as they ran back and forth.One of the girls twice asked her friends to calm down, telling them repeatedly that they were not alone in the auditorium. This did not work. My son and I took refuge by moving to row B seats 1 and 2. I felt peculiarly powerless as an adult faced with a gang of out-of-control children as I imagined that any attempt to ask for a reasonable degree of quiet or good behaviour would have been met with derision and would have caused the situation to escalate and, being the only adult in the auditorium, I believe I would have been held responsible for any problems arising. If I had approached a member of staff to help me in asking for some calm it would have made my son and I feel very uncomfortable and awkward for the rest of the film. Our only option would have been to leave the film but we had travelled a good distance to reach the cinema and very much wanted to see the film.After we had moved seats, I heard the bullying girls comment that we had moved to get away from their noise but, possibly attracted by the 3D or simply to annoy us further, they all gradually moved to sit in row A seats 1-7 (in front of us) and continued to shout and scream, bray and giggle. I had put my clean shoes through the gap between the seats in front to rest my legs (I do not do this habitually) when one of the girls started hammering on my resting feet with her fists. I asked her to stop and withdrew them. At the end of the film, when the lights came up two of these little girls actually tried to stare me out, which was extraordinarily unsettling. I went to the front desk and complained to one of the staff that these girls had ruined our experience of the film and the staff consulted each other as to the certification of the film. I think the film is rated PG. The staff said they thought that a parent might be attending a different film at another screen within the building but finally simply shrugged at me as if powerless to address the matter further. Firstly, as you can probably tell, I am very annoyed and tremendously upset by this experience, which I related to my husband who says he has experienced this same bullying by groups of children at the Henley Regal. It seems that larger, better attended auditoriums are self-policing in that the bullies find themselves in the minority and so behave better. Secondly, I would like to know what steps Picturehouse Cinemas is going to put in place to stop this horrible experience destroying the enjoyment of other patrons of its cinemas. Might I suggest a second public information film at every films outset to add to the ?Switch off your phone?? This could clearly show the audience how to handle this type of situation, for example, a cartoon indicating noisy unacceptable behaviour and actually showing that a harassed member of the audience can consult a member of staff and where to find them during a screening.This in itself might have lessened the girls? inclination to be rowdy, noisy and  uncontrolled. Thirdly, I am so upset by this terrible experience that I would very much appreciate a full refund.I will not be visiting this cinema again to see any children?s film with my son unless the management can assure me that it has put in place real steps to control this frightening, obnoxious behaviour.The fact that there were only nine people at that showing of that film (bullies included) may support my contention that you the cinemas has a very real problem to solve. ?

Yours faithfully, Name and address supplied

A Regal Picturehouse spokeswoman responds: ?We have received a customer complaint which we are dealing with.?

Save this great cafe

Sir, ? The HOT frog café... outstanding cakes and coffee, warm welcome and brilliant training/work experience. We cannot let it go. Surely a venue can be found so that Carolyn Neighbour and her team can continue with this inspiring enterprise. ?

Yours faithfully, Elizabeth Henderson, Jo Desmond, Anne  Zigmond, Jackie Fortey, Louise Stewart Bennett, Carolyn Luff, Jenny  Stanier, Renuka Logan, Ruth Luckett, Susanna Allen and Carol Kelly

Encourage entrepreneur

Sir, ? My husband and I read your article about the bid for the Boathouse restaurant in Henley to use the outdoor terrace until 9pm (Standard, February 27). We endorse totally this application and believe it would be to the benefit of locals and visitors to this lovely town. Those of us who are lucky enough to live here, with the river providing such a focal point, should do all we can to share our good fortune. If the time limit is only to 9pm we cannot believe that the neighbours nearby will suffer from noise and, in any case, if one chooses to live within a town then we have to expect some movement and chatter.Shaun Dickens is to be applauded for making such a success of his business and should be given every encouragement. Entrepreneurs like him are the ones who make Henley interesting and bring in clients for many Henley businesses. ?

Yours faithfully, M Fuller Henley

I?d like to see Squeeze too

Sir, ? In last week?s Take Five, where local residents share their views and thoughts, you asked the question, ?Who would you like the ?biggest band ever? at the Henley Festival to be??Sue Noble, of Friday Street, suggested Squeeze would be good. I notice Squeeze are playing at the Crooked Billet, Stoke Row, on May 7. Goodness knows how the pub has managed to arrange this. I agree with Sue Noble, they would be brilliant at the festival. We really enjoyed eating at the Crooked Billet tent at the Henley Festival last year and hope they return this year... with Squeeze! ?

Yours faithfully, Jonathan Lawson Clifton Street, Reading

I remember village green

Sir, ? Congratulations to Lucy Boon on some interesting articles in the property section of the Henley Standard and I have great admiration for her insistence on putting the apostrophe in St Mark?s Road.However, as you and most of my friends know, I am somewhat pedantic, but I have never used the apostrophe in that road name and I lived there for the first few years of my life.I challenge you to find how many times it has been referred to with an apostrophe in the archives of the Standard. The same applies to St Andrews Road (sic), of course, and, to a more questionable extent, Gillotts.The ?recreational village green? between Hamilton Avenue and Norman Avenue was known as Wheatsheaf Meadow and huts were erected there during the Second World War to house Canadian troops. ?

Yours faithfully, John Luker Shiplake

Sorry about congestion

Sir, ? We are aware that the last sale at the Sue Ryder Nettlebed hospice caused some unprecedented traffic and parking issues for the local community and for those travelling in the vicinity. A larger than usual number of visitors to the sale, coupled with a significant area of parking space within the hospice grounds which was unable to be used due to poor ground condition following wet weather, contributed to more cars parking in the village, on the roadsides and verges and creating traffic congestion on the roads surrounding the hospice. We want to assure our neighbours and the local community that we are meeting with representatives of Nettlebed Estates, the parish council and the Commons Conservators and working with the Thames Valley Police neighbourhood team to discuss steps we can take to help prevent similar issues occurring at subsequent sales.The sales at Nettlebed are an established and well-supported event which provide an important source of income for the hospice, enabling us to continue to provide the best possible care for those living with a life limiting illness. As such, we are working to ensure the sales continue to be an enjoyable and successful community activity for all those attending, support our work and cause the minimum disruption for the local community. ?

Yours faithfully, Tracey Hancock Head of hospice fund-raising, Sue Ryder

Nonsense? Pavement really is listed

Sir, ? In his letter about the bollards and paving of the footpath in West Street, Henley, David Parry maintains that ?talk about a listed pavement was nonsense, it is imaginary? (Standard, February 20). Far from being imaginary, the patterned Victorian paving was considered worthy of listing Grade II in 1974. I quote from the Department of the Environment Greenback of October 8, 1974: ?C19th plain and patterned brick pavement surface at Nos 2-16; No 58 to junction of West Street with Hop Gardens; from fire station to app. 30ft from top of street.? That is pretty comprehensive and certainly includes the pavement outside No 39, in front of which a row of bollards had been installed. All works to listed structures need permission from the local planning authority (South Oxfordshire District Council in this case) in the form of listed building consent but in this case Oxfordshire County Council, which is in charge of all roads and pavements, installed the bollards without this consent and ultimately had to remove them. Unfortunately, they did not bother to repair the damage to the historic pavement on a like-for-like basis once the bollards had been dug out, leaving unsightly squares filled with pink concrete bricks. Removing the bollards was part of major repairs to much of the length of the pavement up and down West Street. Again the ?like-for-like? principle when repairing historic structures or surfaces means that the broken yellow/grey paving bricks should have been replaced with something very similar. Instead they decided to just simply to cover a large part of the footpath in pink concrete paving bricks since not enough of the old yellow bricks could be re-used ? a simple solution, or so it must have seemed if it was not for the fact that this surface is listed for its ?special architectural or historic interest?. To illustrate the result, I include some photographs for your readers, many of whom must have trodden the paths up to the surgery many times without ever worrying about the pattern or colour of the paving bricks but much about their bad state for lack of care. ?

Yours faithfully, Ruth Gibson Vicarage Road, Henley

Two views of birds enjoying the water

Sir, ? Thank you for publishing my photograph of the newly cleaned Sandpits Pond in Nettlebed (Standard, February 20). Here is a picture of a pair of mallards resting on one of the ponds. ?

Yours faithfully, Patrick Sparrowhawk

Sir, ? Here?s a picture showing birds on the river near Henley. If you look really carefully, you can see the steeple of St Mary?s Church. ?

Yours faithfully, Victoria Trainer Henley

The reason my golf doesn?t improve

Sir, ? Here are a couple of photographs taken recently at the Springs Golf Club in North Stoke. One was taken on what was, to say the least, a rather cold morning. The lake was frozen and so was I but, as usual, I was more intent on taking photographs than reducing my handicap despite the advice of my fellow players. The other picture was taken a couple of weeks later. One day I will learn to take landscape photographs in landscape format and that don?t look like monochrome. Then again, some people never learn! ?

Yours faithfully, Terry Allsop Ewelme

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