Letters to the Editor

Quill and Ink Bottle

The Editor welcomes correspondence on any topic which has been in Wendover News or may be of interest to its readers.  Please write to us at Florence Nightingale Hospice Shop, First Floor, 19 High Street, Wendover HP22 6DX or email us at the usual address: editor@wendovernews.co.uk or telephone 01296 624270 or speak to us in the town.  Letters may be edited and may or may not be published at the Editor's discretion.

We'd love to hear from you.

Cycling on Footpaths - Reply

Chris Peeler, Chair-Get Wendover Cycling, Wendover  |  Submitted: Apr 2nd 2014
I refer to the two letters in the April newsletter.
Cycling on footpaths is not legal if the paths are not signed as shared. Pedestrians and cyclists need to be considerate to each other. On shared paths pedestrians need to be aware that cyclists may overtake them and allow for this while cyclists need to exercise due care when overtaking.
It is important that cycling should be encouraged in Wendover so as to reduce car use as far as possible – this would be of benefit to us all and is the sole aim of Get Wendover Cycling.
There are a number of ways in which cycling could be encouraged in Wendover – at the same time as making Wendover a safer place for everyone. For example, it would be helpful if the High Street had a 20MPH limit combined with traffic calming. (A survey conducted by GWC indicated strong support for this).

Some time ago, the John Hampden School supported by the Junior School prepared plans for a boardwalk across the canal, hence providing access to the school campus via Victory Road. This would have enabled cyclists, scooters and parents with buggies to avoid Wharf Road.

In the April issue of the newsletter, there is a request from the schools to parents and carers to park away from the school entrance and not to drive onto the campus. There are plans to implement this regime. The schools, like GWC,, want to encourage walking and cycling.

We should be pleased to welcome as members anyone who wishes to support us in striving to achieve these objectives.

New Year's Eve Rebuttal

Antony Chapman, Wendover  |  Submitted: Mar 28th 2014
In your February edition on the Wendover Parish Council page the Council says “In a meeting with Thames Valley Police and AVDC it was highlighted to the Parish Council that the New Year’s Eve Anti-social Behaviour problem is worse in Wendover than in Aylesbury and seems to be increasing each year.” An FoI request has elicited the following numbers of reported incidents of anti-social behaviour on New Year’s Eve:
Aylesbury Town Wendover Neighbourhood
2009/10 18 3
2010/11 15 2
2011/12 15 3
2012/13 18 2

It would seem from this that neither of the above comments are true, as the problem is not worse in Wendover and the figures are not increasing.

Esme's Allstars say Thanks!

The Davison-Hoults, Wendover  |  Submitted: Mar 24th 2014
Thank you for your kind words and care over the last 6 months while we get Esme's Allstars up and running after her horrific diagnosis with Rett Syndrome.

That in mind, we have been blown away by the support we have received in the initial events we have already organised. With nearly £2000 alone coming from the first curry banquet night at The Raj we are well on our way to being able to become a Trust or Foundation for Esme's Allstars on the journey to becoming a charity. We have also been approached by a young man wanting to do a 15000ft freefall Jump having never come across a just enough cause till he met Esme. He needs sponsorship which we are hoping to help him out with in some way.

Shear Madness, the primary hairdressers in Walters Ash, have also, after hearing us on BBC 3 Counties radio last week, decided to have Esmes Allstars as their fund raiser for 2014.

If you require further information or wish to buy raffle tickets or even donate and sponsor Michael Sutton as he throws himself out of a perfectly good aircraft then please ring us or email us. Email is esmesallstars@yahoo.co.uk (which is also her paypal page, too) or call us on 01296 626081.

(Check out www.wendovernews.co.uk/events for the individual events listings)

Sharing Pavements

Name and Address Supplied,   |  Submitted: Feb 7th 2014
I have recently had some eye problems. As a consequence my attention has been drawn to the hazards of our pavements. I have also noticed how many residents are having trouble sharing pavements, particuarly if they have bad sight, need sticks and frames.

Would it be possible for us all to be a bit more aware of each other. Small children on scooters appear to be let loose with little or no pavement instruction, and many bikes are on pavements well away from the cycle paths. On uneven surfaces there is an accident waiting to happen. Perhaps there could be a bit more instruction in the schools for children using bikes and scooters to make them them more aware of people trying to traverse certain areas, mainly when the childrten are going to school and coming back. Apparently people at Bankside are frightened to use Wharf Road at certain times, and they should not be made to feel like that. Cars and buses are also half on and half off the pavement. I do realise the difficultiess, but we just need to be more aware of other people and SHARE.

Bikes Think Lights Revisited

Chris Peeler, Chair, Get Wendover Cycling, Wendover  |  Submitted: Feb 7th 2014
I understand and sympathise strongly with the concern expressed by L Jeffery (in February newsletter) over cyclists having no lights or reflective clothing.
We should like to take this opportunity of appealing to all cyclists to wear reflective clothing and to use good lights both at the front and rear. Such equipment of good quality is readily available.
We would agree that, in general, where cycle paths are available they are the safest option.
However, Mr Jefferey is referring specifically to the cycle path from Wendover to Aylesbury (Amber Way). The reduction in street lighting along that stretch of road has made the cycle path hazardous for cyclists at night since they have to contend with the dazzle from car headlamps if they are coming from Aylesbury. We have tried to persuade Bucks County Council to provide low level lighting but so far we have not had any success. We have also expressed strongly to BCC our concern over the condition of the cycle path which has not been maintained for many years.

Update from Chris Richards

Chris Richards, Wendover  |  Submitted: Jan 21st 2014
Over the past few months, both my wife and myself have been asked occasionally what I am doing with myself now I am no longer a councillor ! Although I came second to UKIP in the County elections, I am still a District Councillor and as busy as ever serving on both Economy and Planning Committees.
That confusion confirmed to me that many people still do not realise that we have two authorities dealing with local matters ( apart from the Parish Council). It was on this platform that I and the other Independents stood at the recent County elections - that we should have just one council dealing with local affairs and spending rate-payers money.
Up to now, councillors have been reluctant to address the possibility of a one-tier ( unitary authority) - sometimes one suspects by those who would gain from maintaining the status quo. However I do believe the Independents are now driving the agenda and slowly succeeding. Last September, my Independent colleague, Peter Cooper, convinced AVDC’s Finance and Services Committee to investigate the costs and benefits of Bucks adopting a one-tier ( unitary) structure. Financial pressures on local authorities are unlikely to improve, so ways must be found to maintain services yet cut the costs of delivering them. Reducing the number of councillors from 250 in the five councils that cover Bucks to around 60 -80 would be a start and save a pound or two !
With all good wishes for 2014 and as ever, if you have any problems, please get in touch.

More about the Fireworks

Frank Alderman, Wendover  |  Submitted: Jan 20th 2014
Having attended the recent gathering I fully understand the concerns regarding the broken glass (there were no fireworks). A way of avoiding or at least reducing this would be for the council/Licensing Officer to try and get the pubs to use only plastic glasses and not serve bottles after a certain time, say after 11pm. Beyond that I would suggest that the council provide an authorised event with some stalls to raise much needed revenue for the council and arrange for the high street to be closed off, for which there are precedents.

Response from the Parish Council about the New Year's Eve Celebrations

Wendover Parish Council,   |  Submitted: Jan 20th 2014
Many of you will have read the article on the front page of the January edition of Wendover News. We appreciate the tradition of the NYE celebration at the Clock Tower and would certainly not have felt the need to write the article if we had not received complaints and concerns over the safety of the previous year’s event. In a meeting with Thames Valley Police and AVDC, it was highlighted to the Parish Council that the New Year’s Eve Anti-Social Behaviour problem is worse in Wendover than in Aylesbury and seems to be increasing each year. AVDC pointed out that they would be acting to prevent fireworks being let off on and into the highway as this is illegal.

It has been suggested that the Parish Council or “Wendover Celebrates” should take the evening under their wings, but it is apparent that the logistics of having an event around the Clock Tower are challenging. A road closure for a couple of hours around midnight, (cost approx £3000) would possibly be the only way to make it safe, but this could be very unpopular with businesses trading on the night and people trying to reach friends and loved ones by midnight as it involves such an important road junction. If an event could logistically be organised around the Clock Tower, it would still not be lawful to set off fireworks on or into the public highway as has happened in recent years. If you have any practical ideas about how the Parish Council can help the community carry on with this tradition safely and lawfully we would be very pleased to hear from you.

New Year Celebrations

Gary Thorne, Wendover  |  Submitted: Jan 6th 2014
I am writing to comment on the New Years Eve Celebrations, which for many years in Wendover, have always been a wonderful celebration. Before fireworks took centre stage people used to congregate at the Clock Tower to sing 'Auld Lang Syne.’ More recently fireworks became more prominent.

Unfortunately, due to various concerns raised by 'some people’ reference the concept of what is occurring, this year, due to these outside pressures, the evening was a bit of a 'damp squib.’ We all fully appreciate the H & S regulations regarding 'safety of the individual’, but to date over the last 30yrs no-one has been hurt, to my knowledge, & 300+ people stood in the road normally calms traffic. The recent firework suppliers, allegedly, were put under pressure, affecting their business, not to supply them.

I fully appreciate that any Council has 'full duty of care’ for its residents therefore can never actively be seen to support any 'Meeting of People' that does not follow the due regulations.

With regard to the other issues raised previously, including street cleanliness, I feel quite disappointed as I know that there is always a section of the community, usually the White Swan, who will always attend & assist, funnily enough having got up at 6am these are not the ones who complain.

This is not an organised event, it just happens, and I like to think it is because we are a true community, supported by all residents. I only hope that through the next year the situation can be resolved & the people of Wendover can again celebrate New Year.

Bah Humbug!!

Mark Lawrance, Wendover  |  Submitted: Jan 2nd 2014
I was looking forward to reading the January issue of the Wendover News but immediately saw that the front page had been hi-jacked by the “Bah Humbug” brigade! Under the title “Happy New Year – New Year Celebrations”, our Parish Clerk had decided that the good people of Wendover actually needed a bit of a lecture on the personal risk involved of attending an unauthorised event at the Clock Tower on New Year’s Eve and the possibility of landing a personal fine of up to £5,000 if they decided to use fireworks.

Maybe the Parish Council’s “To Do” list has been scattered with Health & Safety issues during 2013 bearing in mind the litigious society we now live in or maybe Ebeneezer Scrooge has now become the Parish Council’s role model. Either way, I really despair! The Clock Tower celebrations on New Year’s Eve sit at the heart of the community and make Wendover the delightfully unique place that it is. Without this event, unofficial as it is, Wendover would be a poorer place and any organisation that goes out of its way to discourage people from attending by threatening them with words such as “completely at their own risk” should hang its head in shame. And even once we had been lectured on the risk of attending this event, we were then asked if we were prepared to volunteer for the clear-up. If that was the purpose of the article then why not ask us that in a way that is genuinely supportive of the enjoyment that this event provides for so many – I’m sure volunteers will come forward, after all, the people of Wendover genuinely care about their village and the traditions we have.
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