Thursday, 05 August 2021

Your letters

Short-sighted false economy

Short-sighted false economy

Sir, — With reference to Oxfordshire County Council’s plans to close three or four of the county’s seven household waste recycling centres in order to save £350,000, I take it that it will create a new regiment of lorries scouring the hedgerows and fields for fly-tipping.

I’ve got enough fly-tipped sofas, mattresses and washing machines on my patch to build an immigration camp.

Every time I have been to a tip it has been swarming with people all doing their recycling best — and it takes a lot of time and effort to fill a car to take to the tip. The council’s proposal will create an “Oh, sod it, why bother?’ culture at a time when it is braying from the rooftops as to how good it is at recycling and saving the planet.

Like not spraying the weeds dismantling our pavements and kerbstones, this is short-sighted, a false economy and detrimental to the society the council claims to serve. If the council wants to save money, it can get rid of its “preferred suppliers” and “preferred contractors” who are taking it to the cleaners on contract prices. For example, £4,000 to drop a kerbstone when a local craftsman quoted me £450, £18,000 to install two lights and paint a pedestrian crossing, £20,000 to relay 280 yards of pavement with two inches of Tarmac (now weed infested). All done “in-house”.



They closed Kennylands Road in Sonning Common for seven days to “resurface” the potholes but left the yellow paint markings around the holes and cracks they had missed. Are these “leftovers” for stage 2 in August 2020? I thought I’d left this “dash” (nothing to do with speed) contracting nonsense behind when I left West Africa.

I will reduce my council tax contributions accordingly and they can pay for my bed and breakfast when they arrest me and spend an extra £1,200 per week providing a care home for my elderly parent while I’m not around. Fortunately I have an even numbered house number so my abode will be protected during my absence. — Yours faithfully,

Councillor Dirk Jones

Sonning Common Parish Council,

Kennylands Road,

Sonning Common



Rural lane is very busy

Sir, — Many of the residents of Gillotts Lane and Gillotts Hill, Henley, were astonished to read that the Peter Brett Associates traffic survey assumes there is very little traffic in this rural area in the parish of Harpsden (Standard, July 24).

In December 2013 Oxfordshire County Council carried out a traffic survey that estimated 1,330 vehicles passed eastbound and westbound along the lane in 24 hours.This information was sent to the joint Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan governance committee.

The lane is a route for school traffic, residents, drivers from surrounding villages and local traffic avoiding congestion in Henley town centre.

In the future we expect further traffic in the lane as it will become a “rat run” for vehicles from the planned development at Highlands Farm identified in the neighbourhood plan.Vehicles will be making a short cut to all the facilities on the outskirts of Henley, such as the only petrol station, the supermarket and the station, as well as easy access to Reading.

All parties who are discussing the future of this rural lane and traffic problems should definitely walk the full length of the lane to ascertain the difficulties of an increase in traffic. It is an extremely narrow, and in some parts impassable, rural lane.

Knowledge and clear collated facts will then be available to all and discussions can take place with the residents of Gillotts Lane and Gillotts Hill to reach a satisfactory conclusion to the present problems and the expected major increase in traffic in the future. — Yours faithfully,

Odette Moss

Harpsden



We deserve clean air

Sir, — Clean air is essential to our health and wellbeing. In London, air pollution contributes towards the death of almost 9,500 people per year, according to a report commissioned by the Mayor. After seven years of being a designated an air quality management area, Henley is still stuck with this health hazard and the prospect of even worse conditions when 450 new homes are built. As I cannot find any actions that really attack our situation, I have started researching whether action is being taken elsewhere.

In Hassocks, a village in West Sussex, a plan to build 97 new homes has been rejected by the Planning Inspectorate due to the probability of increased air pollution. Just like in Henley, the readings there are above the national objective.

We deserve better, especially from our neighbourhood plan, which is seriously lacking in this area. — Yours faithfully,

David Dickie

St Katherine’s Road,

Henley



Keep sports facilities open

Sir, — As a local resident, I would like to know whether our MP John Howell is going to comment on the closure of LA Fitness in Henley.

Please can he advise on his position on the loss of sport facilities at the site of this gym? Only last week we were hearing from the media about declining UK sport participation and the failed 2012 Olympic legacy.

I feel that allowing vital local sports facilities to disappear like this exemplifies the lack of joined-up policy from our own government. — Yours faithfully,

Tim Moore

Raglan Gardens,

Caversham



Surprised by more homes

Sirs, — I read with interest your article about a further allocation of homes for the village of Sonning Common (Standard, August 14).

While I understand the need for more homes, it is still difficult to understand why the parish council keeps pushing for homes in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as well as other greenfield areas. What is fascinating is that your report stated that all consulted parties had been informed of these extra houses. We have NOT been informed of these recent developments by the parish council, even though they directly affect us. Nor, to our knowledge, has Chiltern Edge School been given permission to sell part of its land. Yet this site has been shoe-horned into the neighbourhood development plan yet again, putting people in a position where they feel they can vote on something that is not yet free to vote on.

This feels like another addition to the plan that should have been communicated correctly with all villagers yet, once again, I read about a major change that will directly affect my house and my street in the local paper! — Yours faithfully,

Jane Scholey

Reades Lane,

Sonning Common



Bad time for roadworks

Sir, — I would like to know who at the council decided that last Saturday morning was a good time to resurface the road outside the Sue Ryder hospice in Nettlebed.If they ever went to the sales there they might have realised that this was perhaps not the most sensible time to choose. — Yours faithfully

,Jane Rigby

Tokers Green





We welcome dogs in pubs

Sir — In response to your correspondent Jamie Furness (Standard, August 7), thank you for your kind words, we do indeed welcome dogs in many Brakspear pubs. We decided to launch our Pooches in Pubs campaign after reading letters in the Henley Standard about dogs not being welcome in other places and wanted to make everyone aware this wasn’t the case in many Brakspear pubs.We have prizes up for grabs including dog bowls and Frisbees for anyone who sends us a photo of their dog enjoying time in a Brakspear pub. More information and a list of dog-friendly pubs can be seen at www.brakspear.co.uk/woof

If Mr Furness would like to send us a photo of his dog, I’m sure the judges could see fit to send him a prize for his canine friend. — Yours  faithfully,

Emma Sweet

Marketing manager,

Brakspear,

Bell Street,

Henley



Great pint at cricket club

Sir, — On late Saturday afternoon after picking some beans from our allotment across the bridge in Henley, my wife and I thought it would be nice to wander into the Henley Cricket Club ground and watch the end of a match (Henley versus Bagshot). It was a beautiful summer’s evening.

Not knowing much about cricket, one of the members patiently explained to me what was going on. We were made to feel very welcome.

I enjoyed one of the best pints of Brakspear I’ve ever tasted, so I just wanted to share this with your readers.

I guess the club are not allowed to advertise it as there are no signs saying “visitors welcome”, or “drop in for a pint” but if there was such a thing as cricket club advisor. I’d give it five out of five. (P.S. Henley won) — Yours faithfully,

Rodger Stanier

Henley



Did walkers feel impeded?

Sir, — In view of your correspondent David Parry’s rather personal comments and apparent threat, I would like to ask those of your readers who feel strongly that the Thames Traditional Boat  Festival impeded their progress on the footpath that weekend to email me at events@fawleyhill.com

Of course I would welcome constructive comment from anyone else who would like to join this debate. Mr Parry seems to think that I am personally selling tickets to walk on the footpath, which of course is nonsense. Those selling tickets to the festival were doing so to one side of the path. Clearly at the point at which one man was harassing visitors there is room for only one or two people on the path so it must have been him rather than “we” who was causing an obstruction. However, what I am trying to establish is the number of people who felt in any way “obliged” to pay entry to a festival they did not want to attend. Obviously a lot of people coming to the festival come on foot so use the footpath. We would hate to have to apply to have the path closed for the weekend in order to ensure the safety of all at the event. This is a “Henley” public event which was clearly enjoyed by thousands so I do think a sense of proportion is essential when discussing “the footpath”. It costs a lot to put on an event of this nature. Of course we have to charge for entry (and I did see a lot of dog-walkers using the loos that were kindly sponsored by Keith Gordon during the set-up week. I’m sure letters of thanks would be gratefully received). The royal regatta ended up having to get an Act of Parliament passed to enable them to ask people not to intrude on their land for the duration of the regatta. I do hope they don’t have to go that far on the Henley bank!So let the editor have a rest and send your comments to me and I can share them with our committee. — Yours faithfully,

Lady McAlpine

Fawley Hill



Did you snap proud Brian?

Sir, — Please help! Your paper recently reported on the huge success of the Thames Traditional Boat Festival.

A major attraction of the event was the sail-past by the Dunkirk Little Ships which included a Motor Torpedo Boat (MTB 102).

Standing proudly at the bow was Brian Hughes, standard bearer of the Henley branch of the Royal British Legion (and Oxfordshire), displaying the standard of the Henley branch of the Dunkirk Veterans Association.Brian tells me that it was without doubt one of the highlights of his life, being able to honour all those involved in the “nine days wonder” that was the miracle of the Dunkirk evacuation.

Sadly, Brian does not have a record of himself aboard MTB 102, so I would like to appeal to any of your readers who may have taken a photograph and is prepared to let me have a copy to call me on (01491) 638720. Thank you. — Yours faithfully,

John Green Chairman,

Henley and Peppard branch,

Royal British Legion



Patient police and mindless yobbos

Sir, — I was attracted to a police blue light outside the

Henley Standard’s
offices shortly after midnight on the Saturday before last.

A young man was lying on the pavement and the police were trying to assist.

They spent well over 15 minutes quietly talking to him and trying to persuade him to go with them in the police van — in-between his bouts of vomiting.

I guess he was drunk but of course I couldn’t say so. He eventually left peacefully with them in the van.

The officers were unbelievably patient.

The following night, again just after midnight, I heard a lot of shouting.

I looked out of the window and saw a gang of five or six youths charging down the road, yelling and chucking things about.

One of them broke away from the others and tried his best to smash the “keep left” sign in Station Road.

He kicked and stamped on it with furious force and wasn’t satisfied until it was a crumpled mess. The youths then all ran off towards the town centre.

Amazingly, 10 minutes later, the bollard was almost back to its original shape. However, walking along Station Road a few days later, I noticed two other bollards had been badly damaged, probably by the same gang. — Yours faithfully,

John Downing

Henley



My father shared a mess with Orde Wingate of the Chindits

Sir, — Many will know the name Maj Gen Orde Wingate of the Chindits but very few will know that he, along with those who died with him in a US military B25 air crash in India in March 1944, is buried at the famous Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, USA.

My late father shared a mess with Wingate so I visited the graveside and took this photograph when in America in September last year.

Through a recent chance contact with the Indian Air Force, I have ascertained that RAF Ranchi (about 100 miles west of Calcutta) is actually surrounded by jungle which was where Wingate and his famous Chindits trained. It must have been these exercises that brought him into contact with my (later) RAF group captain father as commanding officer of RAF Ranchi.

On a separate note, when in America, I took the opportunity to visit the famous B-29 Superfortress

Enola Gay,
which dropped the atomic bomb in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, almost exactly 70 years ago.

The aircraft is kept at an annexe to the National Air and Space Museum located at Washington Dulles Airport, called the Steven F Udvar-Hazy Center.

Enola Gay was the name of the pilot’s mother. Hopefully, never again! — Yours faithfully,

Jim Munro

Blandy Road,

Henley



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