Sir, — You may think surely the huge numbers of impassioned Henley residents who turned out last Saturday to march will force the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group to reconsider their plans to close the beds at the new Townlands Hospital?
I fear not! Their plan to continue with their dangerous and ill thought out three day a week ambulatory care model is already a done deal. The public consultation was never anything but a sham.
What has Henley’s elected MP, John Howell, done so far? He has had meetings with the Clinical Commissioning Group, which has happily bamboozled him with the “science” of the ambulatory care model. Mr Howell was waving their report to the crowds on Saturday as if he was Chamberlain advocating peace in our time! He hasn’t attended any of the public consultation meetings, preferring instead to keep an “open mind” until the results of the public consultation come through. This is a ridiculously cavalier attitude from somebody who is meant to listen to us. The meetings were his only opportunity to ascertain the groundswell of local opinion. Without at least listening to what Henley people were putting across at each of these meetings he has no real idea why we are contesting this issue so strongly and the real situation we face. Mr Howell was booed and must have felt the hostility around him. There were cries of “Bring back Boris”.
It doesn’t matter much, I suppose. By the time of the next election he will have had the opportunity to ingratiate himself with Henley all over again and may have risen to a more exalted position in government. Luckily it’s a very safe seat. It isn’t too late for Mr Howell MP to get stuck in and show his constituents that his allegiance lies with Henley. But will he? — Yours faithfully,
We need MP with fight
Sir, — While the smaller than hoped for turnout of marchers in the Save Our Beds campaign last Saturday was something of a disappointment, there is no doubt that the far greater disappointment was the lack of commitment to the town and surrounding area on the part of our MP, John Howell.Surely an active MP who supported his constituents would be calling on the minister for the real facts and figures and be making our case, rather than sitting on the fence waiting for the information from the Commissioning Group?Surely an active MP who cared about the views of his constituents would already be fighting our corner instead of standing idly by. Sorry John, but we are concerned about our hospital and we need an MP who is on our side, not a mugwump in a blue pullover. — Yours faithfully,
Turfed from hospital bed
Sir, — I thought I might share the experiences of my wife and myself in possible support of the worthy Townlands campaign.
My wife tripped and fell two weeks ago, sustaining a fracture of the head of the femur. This resulted in a half hip replacement.
She was discharged from the Royal Berkshire Hospital last Friday. When we asked about care we were told that this was down to Oxfordshire and that I would have to arrange it. Oxfordshire informed me that there was a wait of three months for assessment, which of course is impossibly late.
Actually, my wife is my carer as I am a double amputee and on renal dialysis three days a week.
She could really have done with at least the weekend in Townlands, but we were told that it seemed to always be full. — Yours faithfully,
Peter J Allen
St Katherine’s Road,
Committee must turn
Sir, — Your support and encouragement for the Save Our Beds campaign has been excellent.
Our march last Saturday reflects a conviction that most inhabitants of Henley and area share with you — that is, that a sudden and illogical change by this new committee to reduce hospital beds to five instead of 18 is totally unacceptable.If the strong local support for 18 beds was limited to public opinion and local GPs had been won over by this committee it might be different, but this was certainly not the case.
Local practitioners — both doctors and nurses — with their hands-on experience, are strongly supportive of your Save Our Beds campaign for sound medical and logistical reasons.
What we need is for this committee to reconsider and give serious consideration for more beds. I hope they will be objective and open-minded, taking into account the very strong feelings expressed by the majority of Henley area residents. The committee would gain great respect from their customers, the public, by being prepared to accept that they may be wrong in their preconceived opinions, which have been in direct contravention of the decisions of the previous committee. — Yours faithfully,
Just admit your mistake
Sir, — What an outrage to discard Townlands beds
What do these people have in their heads?
It’s not common sense as that would prevailIt’s not compassion, we hear people wail
They are just riding roughshod over our Henley townI am sure whose idea it was must be a clown
So whoever you are it’s time to see senseAnd please, please, please don’t just sit on the fence
Just admit to us all it’s one big mistake
And put it to right before more action we takeWe need these beds you must understand
So please listen to us and hold up your hand.— Yours faithfully,
Illogic rules in decisions
Sir, — The absurd and illogical proposal made by the Oxford Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) to dispense with the 18 beds promised and needed is only to be expected when dealing with any of the other illogical decisions made for this lovely town.
Decisions such as that behind “intelligent traffic lights”, which manage to keep cars stacked up interminably on all the entry roads so that traffic enters an empty town; a major road directed through a car park; or a regular market which sells only goods of questionable quality and then takes its money back out of our town, resulting in our local ratepayer and taxpayer retailers with few or no customers for the day. How can we expect logic from the powers that be with such examples in front of them? Let them remember we pay their salaries and this entitles us to expect them to heed the wishes of the local people and to keep promises made in the past — we do not expect principled people to go back on such promises as though they never existed.
So just how principled are the OCCG? We hear all too often of the horrors surrounding care for needy people when new ideas are imposed on them, resulting in long, difficult journeys for their loved ones to visit them when the patient is at their most vulnerable, and we can well do without “trendy” decisions made by inept authorities. Keep our 18 beds as promised and display some integrity, OCCG. — Yours faithfully,
Daphne Wheal Kings Road,
Tags aside, festival tops
Sir, — Henley Festival just gets better and better. We had a fabulous time on the Wednesday and the Sunday. The £35 tickets are a great idea, as is the Family Sunday and free art event on the Saturday (accessible to all pockets). Please, please, please don’t let the festival become too big. Please, please, please don’t move the festival site. One big ask, though: Please lose the horrid lurid wristbands. I’ve collected the cardboard tag badges for years as a memento of festivals gone by. Of course, this year I won’t be wearing or keeping the wristbands. — Yours faithfully,
Charm spoilt by bad roads
Sir, — My wife and I have spent a glorious time in Henley for the regatta and the festival. We think Henley is an absolutely charming town, a little lacking in decent restaurants considering the general feel of the area, but on the whole a super place.
However, we were amazed at the poor condition of the town’s roads and those of the surrounding villages.In particular Bell Street, New Street and the road by The Red Lion Hotel were horrible to drive down as they are full of potholes, uneven surfaces and drain covers sinking into the tarmac.
Why on earth aren’t these repaired to a more acceptable standard? Although resurfacing is really the only option as they are so bad.During my working life I worked for the Department for Transport and I am fully aware of the restraints placed on councils’ budgets, but they do have a duty to repair roads to a much better standard than is happening in this case.
If there are any council representatives reading this, or indeed any county councillors, then I would urge you to place additional pressure on the county highways department to look more carefully at the town’s roads. With winter round the corner the condition of these roads will only deteriorate to an even greater mess than they are already in.
I do feel extremely sorry for the residents of the town who, while enjoying all the benefits of living in such a delightful place, have to endure the daily misery of driving on some of the worst roads I have come across in the South East. — Yours faithfully,
Newcomer’s regatta shock
Sir, — We moved into Henley the week before the regatta and if moving to a new area is normally fraught with hazards then this must top anything considered “normal”. Are there usually this many cars and people to fight through along the streets? Who really are our neighbours, or are the teenagers in the house round the corner just here for the event? Where can we walk freely along the river, or must we just live with frowns following us as we trespass on areas reserved for festival attendees?
And as for dress code and best places to be — that is a whole new area to explore.
Since I had never visited Henley before coming to view the house that we now proudly live in, I have absolutely no idea what can be considered to be “the norm”.
But I certainly look forward to next year finding out before we enter the 2016 regatta season posing as seasoned residents who know the ropes. — Yours faithfully,
Genuine or a gimmick?
Sir, — As a young Shell International student at the City of London College, Moorgate, I was privileged to be introduced to Lord Denning, the former Master of the Rolls. This is what he had said about Magna Carta: “It is the greatest constitutional document of all times — the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot.
”These sentiments were repeated in essence by the great Conservative Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, who said: “This reaffirmation of a supreme law and its expression in a general charter is the great work of Magna Carta.”Written under the guidance of one whom David Starkey called the “most intellectually distinguished Englishman of his day”, Archbishop Stephen Langton, Magna Carta assumes that the nation’s laws and rulers should be subject to God’s law. That law, the Bible, teaches that there is a law written on the heart, in the conscience. Christian theology refers to this as natural law, accepted by Calvin and the reformers. The philosopher John Locke cited 16th century theologian Richard Hooker as saying “Human laws are ‘ill-made’ if they contradict scripture”, arguments which were crucial to condemn state-sanctioned Nazi atrocities at Nuremberg.
Therefore I was delighted to observe David Cameron’s involvement in, and evident approbation of, the recent Magna Carta celebrations at Runnymede. But was his involvement genuine?Only last week the Chancellor was reported as saying he proposed scrapping what is left of the Sunday trading laws with no concern that God’s law prescribes one day a week of rest, worship and family enjoyment.Then in Northern Ireland (and other places) Christians are being overtly persecuted for their faith.For instance. Ashers Bakery has been found guilty in a court of law for refusing to write praise for same-sex marriage over the top of a cake. Yet one of the founders of their faith, St Paul, writes scathingly of such arrangements in the first chapter of Romans, in the very book at the heart of Magna Carta.So perhaps I might ask again: Was Mr Cameron’s involvement at Runneymede genuine or just a political gimmick? — Yours faithfully,
Not we who make a mess
Sir, — I refer to your headline “Clean-up for the judges” on the front page (Standard, July 10). It seems that Henley in Bloom is appealing to residents who live on the judges’ route for the Entente Florale Europe competition to clean up for the competition.
This clearly infers that the condition of the town centre is completely attributable to town centre residents. This, of course, is absurd.
It must be clear that exceptional deterioration in the cleanliness of the town is driven by the many people visiting the town at regatta and festival time.
What about this? The following areas should be paid for by the businesses that profit from all the recent events in Henley: vomit on the pavements; litter thrown into front gardens during events and at weekends.
Things like pizzas, uneaten chips and beer cans; rubbish bags which should be collected each day by Grundon but which are left on pavements and not collected until late morning; and riverside rubbish bins. The pavements of central Henley are an absolute disgrace. Shopkeepers could do much more as beneficiaries of this busy time — they should wash the frontages and pavements daily.
I am sure that all residents of Henley try to keep their frontages as tidy as possible at all time, so to suggest that this might make all the difference to achieving success in a competition is clearly incorrect. — Yours faithfully,
My favourite eight songs
Sir, — Following your appeal for Temple Island Discs (Standard, July 3), here I offer mine: Golden Years — David Bowie; Sway — Dean Martin; Watching The Detectives — Elvis Costello; Baker Street — Gerry Rafferty; Read My Mind — Killers; The Importance of Being Idle — Oasis; This Charming Man — Pierces; Nothing Compares 2 U — Sinead O’Connor.The one I would save is Watching The Detectives. My book would be WhenWe Were Very Young by A A Milne and my luxury item would be Kylie Minogue! — Yours faithfully,
The editor says: “I hope other readers will send in their Temple Island Discs choices — eight pieces of music, a book and a luxury item. I will be happy to publish them.”
Help us find Roy Sadler
Sir, — Where is Roy? Please help us find Roy.
Air Training Corps friends of Roy Sadler, long-time resident and three-times mayor of Henley, are trying to find his whereabouts.
Our little group of ATC members used to meet regularly for a meal and a chat, but owing to sudden illnesses we have been unable to meet for many months, just keeping in touch with occasional phone calls.
However, I am afraid these were few and far between, otherwise we might have realised that Roy was not answering his phone.Roy lived at 59B Gainsborough Crescent, Henley and his health was deteriorating, so when word got around that none of us had been able to contact him we realised that he might have gone into a nursing home.
So we made enquiries at Henley Town Council, which told us that this was so but could not tell us where he was.
We next went to Crowmarsh District Office, who woiuld not give us any information because of the Data Protection Act.Now some of us are mobile again we would like to visit Roy, wherever he is. The thought of him sitting thinking that none of his old mates could be bothered troubles us.
Can anyone help us with any information? If so, please contact me on 011898 43684 or 07760 235479. — Yours faithfully,
Tart Pimm’s — what next?
Sir, — I refer to the letter in last week’s Henley Standard from Helen Chandler-Wilde regarding the omission of strawberries from the Pimm’s recipe used in the stewards’ enclosure at Henley Royal Regatta.
It’s disgraceful how standards have been allowed to fall; England in summer must maintain its values. — Yours faithfully,