Wednesday, 04 August 2021

Halo moon impressed our visitors

Sir, — I don’t know if anyone else noticed the spectacular, huge halo around the moon on Christmas

Sir, — I don’t know if anyone else noticed the spectacular, huge halo around the moon on Christmas Eve. Our American visitors were gobsmacked.

My photograph was taken at the top of Walton Avenue looking south over Sacred Heart Church. The moon was very difficult to frame.

Happy New Year! — Yours faithfully,

David Feary

Walton Avenue, Henley

So what’s the point of plan?

Sir, — On December 18 you kindly published a copy of the letter I sent to South Oxfordshire District Council leader John Cotton and planning policy manager Sophie Horsley in which I asked perfectly reasonable questions about the status of the joint Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan. No reply was ever received from either Councillor Cotton or Ms Horsley.

My letter coincided with your front page news about the delay to the neighbourhood plan referendum.

Am I really the only  member of the Henley community to have gone public with such concerns and is it really the case that no follow-up letters were received by the Standard?

Given that we are in danger of getting 500 new houses, not the 450 we thought we had signed up to, and that there is a real prospect of the town being overrun by care homes, what was the point of all that work local volunteers put in to create the original plan (with its much-vaunted legal status) if the number, mix and location of new homes specified in it are simply ignored?

I would like to see the Standard call on district council officers and councillors to explain what is happening and question them on what has become of the democratic process. And with the original neighbourhood plan governance committee now disbanded, I suggest a new representative group is formed with the remit of calling the district council to account and providing the community with a body it can turn to. Otherwise, when it is all done and dusted, we might well be left reflecting on whose interests were actually served by the neighbourhood plan. — Yours faithfully,

Trevor Howell

Blandy Road, Henley

Answers, not timewasting

Sir, — Following your page 1 article regarding the former Jet garage site, headlined “Old flats plan approved” (Standard, January 1), can you please get the town council to respond to the very important issues raised in Trevor Howell’s letter of December 18? We need a neighbourhood plan that is fully understood and supported by the people of Henley as soon as possible. This has been going far too long with the inevitable consequences that we see in the above article and has wasted a lot of time. — Yours faithfully,

Mike Turnill

Blandy Road, Henley

Exhorbitant taxi fares

Sir, — I thank Saleem Chaudhry, owner of Tigers Taxis, for his reply to my letter (Standard, January 1). Sadly, other taxi companies were overcharging this Christmas. My family, without me in the taxi, went from Market Place to the Quince Tree in Stonor and were charged £27 and 50p. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the name of the taxi company. When, after another delicious brunch at the Quince Tree, I ordered a taxi back I asked for the fare in advance and was given the much more reasonable price of £12.

Have other citizens of Henley experienced similar rip-offs when using local taxi services? Perhaps the Henley Standard will take this up and investigate the issue?I know full well that many of our local taxi companies provide excellent service. I have, for many years, used both Harris Taxis and County Cars and have always had excellent service from both.

Perhaps we as a community can get rid of those taxi companies that do not understand customer service. — Yours faithfully,

Soren Nielsen

Belle Vue Road, Henley

In defence of fracking

Sir, — Your correspondent Mark Bauld sets out his views on fracking (Standard, January 1) at great length, whereas his final paragraph would have sufficed to reveal his true colours. He wrote that: “It is disturbing that despite the well-publicised carnage that fracking has caused in America, our MP etc….”

Has he been there? If not, then perhaps he has referred to someone who has. I offer Kevin Hollindrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton, who has written a paper based on his first-hand observations following a visit to the US. His conclusions contain pros and cons, of course, but I cannot recognise Mr Bauld’s assertion of “well-publicised carnage”. I suggest that Mr Bauld’s view is ideological/political. Nothing in life is perfect, but if the choice before us is energy security from fracking or reliance on the whims of various unstable regimes around the world, I know how I would vote. — Yours faithfully,

M R Emmett

Peppard Common

Our mandate for fracking

Sir, — I think Mark Bauld has a short memory (Standard, January 1). It was only a little over six months ago that the Conservative Party won a clear majority in Parliament based on a manifesto which stated: “We will continue to support the safe development of shale gas and ensure that local communities share the proceeds through generous community benefit packages”.

That election was won by some two million votes.

In voting to fulfil my party’s manifesto commitment, I can only reiterate what I wrote to Mr Bauld — that the Government has the right protections in place to ensure that fracking can go ahead safely. This is a vital industry which could create more than 60,000 jobs and be worth billions of pounds to our economy. An affordable, secure supply of energy that our hardworking families and businesses can rely on now and in the future is the backbone of a thriving economy. — Yours faithfully,

John Howell

Henley MP, House of  Commons

Deprived of Elton tickets

Sir, — I’m writing about the sale of tickets for the Elton John concert at the Henley Festival in July. The Henley Standard reported on December 4 that tickets for non-members of the festival (i.e. general admission) would go on sale on the following Monday at 10am. At that time, I rang the given number and a recorded message told potential buyers to go to the River and Rowing Museum to make their purchase. I was at an eerily quiet festival desk at the museum by 10.20am only to be told by the woman behind it that tickets had sold out by 10.10am. How was this possible, I asked, when they had only gone on sale to the general public 20 minutes earlier? There had been a queue, she replied, that had begun gathering at the museum before 10am. How could that be, I asked, when there hadn’t been any announcement of a ticket sale location until the 10am phone message? She wasn’t sure.

My point is that, though I have no proof, the law of probability suggests that those in the queue had been tipped off by those in the know and thus had a head start on us poor saps waiting by our phones at 10am, who never stood a cat’s chance in hell of getting tickets. I note that since then tickets for concerts on Elton’s tour are being sold on the black market at exorbitant prices, so much so that the man himself has said he’d prefer to play in front of empty seats and yawning spaces rather than to those who’ve paid crazy prices to see him.

Methinks certain people in that queue on December 7 are right now making a fast buck. — Yours faithfully,

Richard Tippett

Church Street, Henley

Give spaces to theatre

Sir, — For goodness’ sake, give the Kenton Theatre a couple of parking spaces (Standard, January 1) — it’s not much to ask. Not only would this facilitate unloading but also have the effect of giving this fine old building more visual impact in New Street. — Yours faithfully,

Simon Clarke

Kenton Theatre Friend,

Goodleigh, Devon

Hospital is still open

Sir, — In response to Barry Wood’s letter (Standard, December 25), NHS Property Services has been notified that practical completion of the new Townlands Hospital building is due to be achieved by the developer Amber by the end of February.

NHS Property Services is working with Amber to ensure completion is reached as soon as possible so patients can benefit from a high quality health facility. The old Townlands building needs to be vacated four weeks after practical completion to enable the next phase of the development to begin.

All partners are working together on the transition to the new building and plan minimal disruption to patients.Oxford Health and the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust will continue to provide services from the current/existing premises. Services will continue to be provided, including minor injuries, every day from 9am to 8pm as well as out of hours services, outpatients clinics and community nursing. — Yours faithfully,

Julia Stackhouse

Senior communications and engagement manager,

NHS South, Central and West Commissioning Support Unit, Oxford

Your amazing generosity

Sir, — All of us at the Sue Ryder Nettlebed hospice would like to say a huge thank-you for the amazing generosity and support of the local community for our Christmas Appeal, run by the Henley Standard during December. With further donations received since Christmas you have now helped us to raise more than £21,000, which is truly remarkable. This covers the cost of running the hospice for three days, so means you all helped to ensure that the hospice cost was covered for the Christmas weekend. Thank you so much. I would also like to thank the Henley Standard for partnering with us for this first media campaign — its support has been invaluable. We are so grateful for the support of the community for the incredible care we provide at Sue Ryder and I hope that you will continue to support us during 2016. — Yours faithfully,

Tracey Hancock

Head of fund-raising,

Sue Ryder, Duchess of Kent and Nettlebed hospices, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire

Thank you for support

Sir, — I am writing on behalf of the trustees of Serian UK to thank those people who attended our recent Africa Proud exhibition at the Old Fire Station Gallery in Henley. Everyone was impressed with Bob Webzell’s stunning images ( presented with the Africa Proud poem by Wayne Visser ( Serian UK is a Henley-based charity whose mission is to support intercultural education for sustainable ways of living through education.

The cost of staging the exhibition was gratefully supported by Rathbones Investments and Simmons & Sons, so all proceeds will go to Noonkodin Secondary School in northern Tanzania.

The school has been funded by Serian UK but is managed by the Maasai and serves Maasai communities in this remote region.

The generosity shown by visitors and friends contributed to a total raised of £1,760.To give readers an idea of the significance of this money, there is no free secondary education in Tanzania.

The charity’s current focus is to secure sponsorship for more students whose families live at subsistence level and for whom secondary education is not possible.If any readers would like more information about the charity then please visit or call Janine FitzGerald, who chairs the trustees, on 07980 773356 or email janine.serianuk@

Best wishes to your readers for a peaceful and fulfilling 2016. Asante Sana! — Yours faithfully,

Dave McEwen Treasurer,

Serian UK,

Church Street, Henley

Allotment is good for you

Sir, — I would like to thank all Henley’s allotment holders, volunteers and committee members who worked so hard over the last season, making the various functions and events such a success, including the produce and plant sale and the Christmas party.I wish everyone another good year.

What better way to keep fit, young and healthy than to have an allotment with fresh vegetables, fruit and flowers while enjoying fresh air and good natural exercise?

For enquiries please call Doug on (01491) 573046 (Watermans allotments) or Lewis on (01491) 576147 (Greencroft allotments) or visit the Henley Allotments Association’s website, — Yours faithfully,

Lewis Every

Swiss Farm, Henley

Need trader? Think local

Sir, — Having many requirements to maintain my house and garden, I am delighted to have shopped locally for new windows, gardening, odds jobs etc.

Our local traders are reliable, trustworthy, prompt, pleasant and expert at their jobs. Just remember “local” when any job is needed. — Yours faithfully,

Jill Irwin

Singers Close, Henley

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