Tuesday, 03 August 2021

Your letters

Sir, â?? Yummy! On holiday with the grandparents, I get soooo many more treats! â?? Yours

Sir, â?? Yummy! On holiday with the grandparents, I get soooo many more treats! â?? Yours faithfully,

Charlie Brown (with a little help from Val Stammers)

Stoke Row

Decision is a travesty

Sir, â?? The Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group has ignored the overwhelming response of the people of Henley against its proposal for a hospital without beds.

It has not taken on board the very clear response voiced by the Henley Standard, politicians, residents and patients but decided to abandon the hospital before it has been completed and open a clinic instead.

Still not the slightest hint of an apology from them for such a monumental display of administrative incompetence. Think on this... over a period of, say, 300 years Henley paid for land, buildings, staffing and administration of three charity hospitals which were then all requisitioned by the state to create the National Health Service.

Now, after 63 years of the NHS, culminating in running Townlands from a temporary wooden structure for 30 years, apparently the only way for Henley to have a modern building with beds administered to meet the medical needs of the community â?? formerly known as a hospital â?? is for the residents to yet again band together and build and run their own hospital.

What a travesty. â?? Yours faithfully,

Richard Moyle


Is anyone in charge?

Sir, â?? During the exchanges concerning the Townlands Hospital beds, with much righteous indignation expressed by those involved, a central point appears to have been overlooked.

A spokesman for the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group clearly stated that the Townlands Steering Group was fully involved in the consultation process, to quote:“Councillor [Ian] Reissmann was party to and participated in all the discussions about the content of the consultation process and received draft copies of both the consultation plan and questionnaire.”Could the steering group therefore respond via the Henley Standard letters page with clarification as to this and, in particular, the date this information was first made available to them?Meanwhile, a staggering lack of accountability and business acumen appears to have jinxed this project, including the withdrawal of both the Sue Ryder hospice at a very late stage and the Beechcroft retirement home company, thereby leaving the beautiful listed buildings at the side of the site to further deteriorate.

Now we hear that a challenge has been issued as to the height of the building (this having been vigorously objected to at the planning stage). Who has actually been responsible for the legalities and business co-ordination of this project?

We have a multi-million pound scheme with limited parking, very little access, no public transport (and now no beds) while the considerably more suitable site of the old Wyevale garden centre in Reading Road remains empty. Could it be that the “steering” group has brought it on to the rocks, or indeed was there no one at the helm? â?? Yours faithfully,

Marilyn Shah

York Road,


We should work together

Sir, â?? The Townlands Steering Group welcomes the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s acknowledgement that the responses to the consultation on Townlands expressed important concerns regarding the plans for the service model to operate at the hospital after the new Townlands opens later this year.We would like to work with the commissioning group in addressing these concerns so that the new hospital meets the health needs of the community at least as well as the existing model, which includes the bedded unit on Peppard ward.

While we are disappointed that the commissioning group’s board has chosen not to adopt the steering group’s option 4, which we strongly believe to be the best way forward, we believe that communication and dialogue is the only way to reach a mutually agreeable solution. We accept that everyone needs to understand that it is not always possible to get everything desired.We welcome the commissioning group’s clarifications of some aspects of the new model, which provide a better service than appeared to be the case, for example, the seven-day rapid access care unit, 8am to 8pm opening hours and a six-days-per-week consultant gerontologist.

We would welcome discussions as a matter of urgency to establish a clear, acceptable and deliverable transition plan to the commissioning group’s board at its meeting in September. In the light of the board’s decision to endorse the ambulatory care model but delay a final decision “pending further engagement with stakeholders”, we seek clarification on a number of points:

1. Who are the stakeholders/consultees for the consultation?

2. What are the dates for the consultation?

3. What is the scope and format of the consultation?

4. What is the effect on the timetable for closure of the Peppard ward? We are concerned at the dates for the rundown of the existing beds to start. We would like to see this paused while these discussions take place.

5. How does the commissioning group expect to assess and measure the outcomes of the consultation?

6. Can the commissioning group give assurances that the outcomes of the consultation will be part of the recommendations to the main board at its meeting in September?

We welcome the sign of the commissioning group’s willingness to back up its stated desire to engage. â?? Yours faithfully,

Councillor Ian  Reissmann,

Chairman, Townlands Steering Group,

and Lorraine  Hillier,

Mayor of  Henley

Medieval attitude

Sir, â?? I’m led to remark on John Howell MP’s letter headlined “My lobbying has worked” (Standard, July 31). Tucked away in his very long letter is the following quote: “An MP is there to represent the interests of his constituents, not their views.”In other words, ordinary people will not know what they want and look to “figures of authority” to tell them.

This is patronising and insulting and goes back to medieval times when we had to kowtow to the landed gentry.So don’t bother to write to John Howell about anything else, just ask him what is best for us. It beggars belief. â?? Yours faithfully, John M Evans Grove Road, Sonning CommonPeople have spoken, JohnSir, â?? In his letter John Howell MP states: “An MP is there to represent the interests of his constituents, not their views.”On the parliament website (under the heading “What MPs do”) it is stated: “The UK public elects Members of Parliament to represent their interests and concerns in the House of Commons.”I would submit that a substantial proportion of the local population has clearly demonstrated agreement on both views and concerns in relation to the proposed change in direction for the new Townlands Hospital. â?? Yours faithfully,

Paddy Robinson

St Andrew’s Road,


My crucial involvement

Sir, â?? Your correspondent A I Tiffin helpfully draws attention to the theyworkforyou.com website (Standard, July 31). Unfortunately, this website does not cover all the activities I undertake even in Westminster, let alone any I undertake in the constituency. Instead of relying on this website, he may find it helpful to email me to sign up to receive my newsletters or he could look at my website, www.johnhowellmp.com

Both would give him a fuller picture of what I do both in Westminster and in the constituency.As to the other letters, the idea that the Conservative Party has issued an instruction about Townlands Hospital is laughable and pure fantasy. If I had not been involved, the contract for the hospital rebuild would not have been signed when it was. If it had not been for my involvement, there would have been no referral to the Health Secretary and other health ministers. If it had not been for my involvement, we would not have known when we did that Sue Ryder had pulled out of the hospital. If it had not been for my involvement, there would have been no consultation with the people of Henley by the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group on what it was proposing. If it had not been for my involvement, there would have been no response back in the letter to me from the commissioning group to the questions we are all asking. If it had not been for my involvement, we would not have known what the strategic context in the county was for the change at Townlands.

If it had not been for my involvement, there would have been no changes to the commissioning group’s model for Townlands, including the increase in the massive service provided by the rapid access care unit, further discussion on the ambulatory care model and the need for a much firmer transition model. So engaged I have been for some considerable time. â?? Yours faithfully,

John Howell MP

House of Commons,


Please keep streets tidy

Sir, â?? On Saturday, neither the bin outside Station News in Station Road, Henley, nor the one on Station Park next to the bench were emptied. There were two Biffa bags of rubbish left by the operator next to the bin outside Station News. The same thing happened in May and I complained at the time.The bin outside Station News was emptied on Sunday morning and the two Biffa rubbish bags cleared away. However, the Biffa operator did not empty the Station Park bin.This is not acceptable. These bins should be emptied every day and the rubbish bags removed as per the contract with Biffa to keep the town clean and tidy.Station Road is not a dumping ground for Biffa rubbish bags â?? it is one of the main entrances to the town from the station and needs to be kept clean and tidy. I ask Biffa to please ensure this is not allowed to happen again. â?? Yours faithfully,

Steve Ludlow

Station Road,


‘Neutrality’ is costing us

Sir, â?? Councillor David Bartholomew points out his neutrality on the issue of the proposed 20mph speed limit in Shiplake (Standard, July 31).But what about the county council itself? Its stated intention is to stand back and give local people the power to make the final decision. However, the local people have no influence on the decision. We have been consulted three times, each time roundly opposing the new speed limit, but each time the parish council has pressed on regardless. It is the parish council that will make the final decision in September and it is unlikely to change its mind now, whatever the evidence.The county council has not been neutral in this. The officer’s report recommended that the proposal be approved even though it does not come close to meeting the criteria stated on the council’s own website, it does not have the support of the community and it does not meet the technical requirements for such a limit to be effective. The report leans on the scales with at least two clear misrepresentations. It then inexplicably discounts the police submission, which did not support the scheme in its present form. So what is in it for the county council? My guess is this â?? the scheme is to be funded by the parish council, so the county council gets to promote its local transport plan objectives without spending any of its own budget. It claims a few more miles of 20mph speed limit and we pay for it. It is immaterial whether the community supports it or whether it makes our roads safer. Does anyone have a better explanation? â?? Yours faithfully,

Robert Pehrson

Northfield Avenue,

Lower Shiplake

Please park responsibly

Sir, â?? Cars that are parked irresponsibly on pavements can cause a potentially dangerous obstruction for pedestrians as it can force them on to the road and into the path of vehicles.New research by YouGov has shown that three quarters (74 per cent) of people are affected by vehicles parked on the pavement.

Some groups, including people living with sight loss, older people or those with buggies, are at greater risk.Ninety-one per cent of respondents living with sight loss who responded to a Guide Dogs survey said that parked cars on the pavement regularly obstructed them. You can see how dangerous pavement parking can be in real-life video footage, filmed from a guide dog’s view, of a guide dog and their owner having to go out into the road to get around a car at www.youtube.com/watch?v= oMQt-cfEFsg I am urging members of the public to ensure that they don’t park on the pavement. â?? Yours faithfully,

Karen Boresjo

Old Windsor

Sign needs replacing

Sir, â?? Last Monday at about 10am, I took the shortcut off the Henley Road by the Flowing Spring pub towards Sonning Bridge.

As local people know, this is a one-way road, so I was fairly surprised to meet a car coming the other way.The driver was very apologetic but had not seen the sign when turning off the main B478 Playhatch Road.

This same thing happened to me some 10 years ago. I use the route very infrequently so statistically several vehicles a month must surely go the wrong way along this narrow lane.

The “No Entry” sign is there but rather old and faded. A new, clear sign needs to be erected before a serious accident occurs. â?? Yours faithfully,

Mary Beckinsale

St Andrew’s Road,


I’ll protect right of way >Sir, â?? May I reply to Lady McAlpine’s invited reply to my letter (Standard, July 31)? I’ll try to keep it to less than half a column.

For the next Thames Traditional Boat Rally, and beyond, I and others will be on a public right of way, Henley 14, to advise the public of their right to proceed “without let or hindrance”.

May I suggest Lady McAlpine takes her admittance tent off the right of way (Herrick & Anor v Kidner & Anor [2010] EWHC 269 (Admin) (17 February 2010) and sells her wrist bands for £12 a head elsewhere? â?? Yours faithfully,

David Parry Greys Road,


New-look pub is too glitzy

Sir, â?? We have been eagerly awaiting the opening of the newly refurbished Dog and Badger in Medmenham and were pleased to be able to visit last week. But we were highly disappointed.

Despite the pub’s name, it doesn’t accept dogs, something Henley is almost famous for with almost all pubs welcoming dogs â?? well done, Brakspear! Secondly, the pub has opted for a very glitzy decor, covering the fireplace with purple paint and making the bar look like a stylish Italian motor launch. Fancy beers and fancy food are all good, but is it really what the locals are looking for? If we want glitz, London is on our doorstep and we even have options in nearby Marlow, Maidenhead and Reading.

I suspect most of the local Henley residents want a warm and inviting pub in which to enjoy a pint and maybe some food.

Perhaps the new owners are trying to attract the nouveau riche from Marlow rather than the more gentrified pub-goers from Henley? Bring back the old Dog and Badger I say. â?? Yours faithfully,

Jamie Furness

Friday Street,


Aggressive bird’s back

Sir, â?? I was driving along Stoke Row Road towards Kingwood Common recently when I saw a young woman jogging towards Stoke Row and a buzzard swooped down to attack her, just missing her head.For some reason this buzzard does not like joggers as it has attacked in this area before. Perhaps it thinks they are a threat to its young.A couple of years ago one jogger returned home with a badly bleeding scalp, so joggers beware. â?? Yours faithfully,

Avril Bryant

Stoke Row

Threat from terrapins

Sir, â?? I read with interest your Hidden Henley item about a terrapin seen near Marsh Lock (Standard, July 31). These creatures certainly seem to be prevalent. I have seen several very large adult terrapins basking in the pond at Emmer Green and there are many the size of dinner plates in the pond on Cookham Moor.I should imagine that newly hatched ducklings on Emmer Green pond are at great risk of predation. However, it seems adult ducks aren’t safe there either as evidenced by the beating to death of a duck in April. â?? Yours faithfully,

Anita Rathgay

Surley Row,

Emmer Green

Emblem is a cormorant

Sir, â?? Your Hidden Henley item (Standard, July 24) speculated that the bird in the Royal Insurance fire plaque might be a swan.

The following explanation should help to clarify matters: “The Royal was established in Liverpool in 1945 [sic â?? an error, it should be 1845] and its fire plate incorporates the crest of that city â?? cormorant (commonly known as the Liver Bird) with seaweed in its mouth.” (www.molesey history.co.uk/books/surrey/ fireplaques/#69) The cormorant is a bird often seen in Henley, though. â?? Yours faithfully,

Charles Whittaker

St Mark’s Road,


Phew, fire was just TV series

Sir, â?? After reading your Hidden Henley item that mentioned the BBC series The Outcast (Standard, July 24), I was quite worried about our lovely church of St Mary in Hambleden being burned down.

It was the storyline of the series so I just had to venture down to the village to see if the church was still in one piece. Happily, it was perfect amd so beautiful and I felt a very happy lady.

How clever the film people were in the making of The Outcast. Well done to all involved and what great relief for our lovely church in our lovely valley. â?? Yours faithfully,

Mrs H E Austin


30 years of bus service

Sir, â?? Through your pages I would like to thank the very generous contributions made to the Henley HandyBus at our 30th anniversary flag day on Saturday. It was a lovely day and there was a feeling of goodwill and bonhomie in the air. Pensioners to peers contributed to what has become over the years an embedded part of our local community. I guess one day with such wonderful support our trusty drivers will themselves graduate into becoming passengers on the “best ride in town”. Thank you, Henley. â?? Yours faithfully,

Phil Perry

Chairman, Henley HandyBus

My island music choice

Sir, â?? My “Temple Island Discs” would be: Hit The Road Jack by Ray Charles, Perhaps Love by Placido Domingo, The Firebell Polka by Strauss, You’ve Got A Friend by James Taylor, Let’s Do It by Victoria Wood, Who Wants To Live Forever? by Queen and Look At The World by John Rutter.

If I had to save one it would be Let’s Do It because it makes me laugh so much. My book would be The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope.

My luxury item would be a solar-powered shower. â?? Yours faithfully,

Chrissie Phillips-Tilbury

Sonning Common

The editor responds: “If other readers send in their ‘Temple Island Discs’ I will be happy to publish them.”

Great atmosphere on festival night

Sir, â?? I wandered down to the bridge on the Saturday night of the Henley Festival and the view was amazing.

Here is a picture I took, which I think looks fantastic. You can almost feel the atmosphere. â?? Yours faithfully,

Rajnee Knights

Remenham Hill

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