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Letters may be edited and may or may not be published at the Editor's discretion. Material published does not necessarily represent the opinion of the Editor.

We'd love to hear from you.

County Elections

Councillor Steve Bowles, Wendover, Halton  |  Submitted: May 8th 2013
As you will know I was unsuccessful in the recent County elections. I would take this opportunity to say thank you to those who voted for me and helped in my campaign. The county is still Conservative controlled and I have no doubt that Martin Tett and his team will work tirelessly for the residents of Buckinghamshire.

I will also work hard in the fight against HS2 and at District level to ensure that all residents in Wendover and Halton are fully represented

Barlow Road Playground

Leona Wheals,   |  Submitted: Feb 26th 2013
I would like to thank everyone who has signed the petitions, which have been submitted to AVDC with 489 signatures.

After confirming money is the bottom line for them, AVDC have decided against a potential rental agreement with Wendover Parish Council on the land. They are expecting bids substantially in excess of £500,000, with a guideline plan of 8 new 3 bedroom houses, I believe the bids were due around 11th January.

I have sought help from David Lidington MP who is encouraging AVDC to try and meet the community's needs and provide a play area in a suitable alternative place, however I believe they will struggle to find an alternative place which will be suitable for all on the Honeydene Estate.

The RAF have agreed to remove signs stating the Tedder Road park is for RAF use only so the public can use the facilities, which are due for refurbishing within the next 6 months.

I have asked ADVC if they are going to take this community asset out of Wendover, are they simply going to run with the money or will they put something back into the Wendover community?

This area of Wendover lacks play facilities. An estate housing so many children should surely have its own play area, and 8 new houses will only add to the number of children without somewhere to play.

AVDC recently wrote an article in the Aylesbury Vale magazine which came through the post, that they plan to build on the Olympic Legacy, yet they plan to sell the only suitable place we could make this happen for our children.

AVDC say they will look into alternative sites.

The only thing we can do as a community now is wait for planning to be submitted then those surrounding the area who have good grounds to oppose need to do so in writing. They could also attend the Wendover Parish Council planning committee meeting and the development control or strategic development control committee meetings when the plans are due to be discussed. Details of agendas can be found on the Wendover Parish council and Aylesbury Vale district council's websites.

Get Wendover Cycling

Chris Peeler, Chair, Get Wendover Cycling,   |  Submitted: Jan 31st 2013
I read with great concern the letter from Odile describing her experience when cycling along the Aylesbury Road from the hospital. Get Wendover Cycling was in detailed discussion with Bucks County Council before the change in the street lighting. We shall raise this issue again with them in the near future.

St John Ambulance

Mia Broughton,   |  Submitted: Jan 31st 2013
As the nation’s leading first aid charity, St John Ambulance believes that no one should die because they needed first aid and didn’t get it. Every year up to 140,000 people die unnecessarily. We are dedicated to teaching first aid in schools and communities across the country every year, and campaigning to raise awareness of the importance of life saving skills. St John Ambulance is encouraging people to learn first aid after a survey this year showed that five times as many people in the south east think cancer is a bigger killer than the lack of first aid. To raise essential funds we hope to organise a volunteer charity cash collection or attend any of your events you may hold. Please do let me know if, and when, a charity collection would be possible. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Contact details; 01296 744 360, Mia.Broughton@sja.org.uk

Lights on the Clock Tower

Odile Pollard,   |  Submitted: Jan 31st 2013
As it had been snowing, I went to work by bus and returned on the number 55, 19.50 from Stoke Mandeville Hospital which dropped me at the Clock Tower. What a beautiful sight! It made my day! It was 'lights switching on' and late night opening and I was welcomed despite the time! Thank you so much.

Snow Clearing

D Jones,   |  Submitted: Jan 18th 2013
Earlier today I saw something that I haven't seen for a while; someone putting themselves out to help others and for no acknowledgement, well not till now.
Travelling along the Aylesbury Road in the middle of the whiteout today (Friday) was a guy whom I assume was from ADH Window Cleaning (as the van was parked with lights flashing) shovelling grit onto the main road and the dangerous junction of Grenville Ave. He was obviously freezing cold but he kept shovelling and was still there on my return journey 45 minutes later. I stopped to ask him why he was doing it and he just said it was a job that needed to be done and thanked me for my interest and the fact I'd noticed. Apparently, very few people had and he'd even been accused of ruining the kids' fun from the school as they walked past. He was also narrowly missed by a few people using mobile phones while driving in the bad weather.

There are few people around these days that will do a job like that for nothing and as such I felt he deserved recognition.

Wendover Pool

C McLintock, Head Teacher, John Colet School, Wendover  |  Submitted: Jan 14th 2013
The school is reviewing the complex situation at the pool which has arisen due to the boiler failure and other facility issues. This will be discussed at a forthcoming Governors' meeting. The Governors' discussion will also take into account the likelihood of continuing reductions of government funding for schools.

Wendover Pool

A Smith, Wendover  |  Submitted: Jan 11th 2013
No bathing in the Olympic Legacy in Wendover
As a member of Wendover Swimming Association (WSA) it is disappointing not to be able to access the Wendover pool during the waste-band expanding season.
The John Colet School (JCS) closed the pool to pupils in September, and then completely on 12th October. This was because in June the gas boilers heating the pool water had ceased working, not a problem in the summer, but with the onset of winter the pool water was deemed too cold to swim in. Therefore, all schools on the JCS campus, together with JCS’s feeder schools in surrounding villages are now denied swimming lessons in their own pool; just when they should be ‘bathing’ in the Olympic Legacy.
Numerous clubs and several hundred members of WSA are also denied use of this much valued community facility. The WSA and its members generate a revenue close on £1,000 a month, most of which contributes to the pool upkeep and maintenance. This revenue is being lost. Although the WSA’s website has some relevant information and considers the situation to be temporary, there is a distinct lack of specific details as what is being done to put things right.
Bucks County Council claim to have resolved any gas supply problems and have provided JCS with 2 quoted schemes for replacing the water heating systems, and WSA are ready with financial assistance. So why are we waiting, whoever needs to extract the proverbial digit, please do so quickly?

Gary Thorne,   |  Submitted: Jan 8th 2013
Hampden Lodge would like to thank the proprietors of the Village Gate, Robina’s, The George & Dragon, The King & Queen and The Raj for their recent support in donating towards our Christmas Supper raffle. Hampden Lodge this year will be supporting ‘Riding for the Disabled (Halton Centre) and The Warrior Programme’ as well as many other local causes, including assisting as required at St Mary’s Graveyard, when the weather is a bit better!

Wendover Arm

Name and Address Supplied,   |  Submitted: Nov 22nd 2012
In response to Oliver Statham's article on the Wendover Arm of the canal, in fact the restoration would actually be very detrimental for Wendover's wildlife. He says that people's fears about the canal restoration adversely affecting the long term wildlife of the rest of the canal are unfounded, I strongly disagree.

As a professional, freshwater ecologist of 20 years standing, who has often assessed the consequences of development on rivers and wetlands and as an advisor to government and planning authorities, I can assure readers that if the restoration works join the two wet sections of the canal, then the long term ecological health of the Wendover section is at grave risk and the canal as we know it will no longer exist. His comments on "habitation (sic) and wildlife" are incorrect, as any basic environmental assessment would reveal. No independent environmental assessment of the impact of the works would support his view and none has been undertaken.

Rivers and canals are complex and rely on the way the water quality, water quantity, bed and banks interact with channel life. The result is that the "restored" canal's wildlife is likely to be very poor. The section with boats will have little wildlife and is likely to be algae dominated due to increased sediment and nutrients in the water. The upper section, even if it doesn't have boats on it, is likely to be infested by signal crayfish which are already resident in the local catchment. These carry crayfish plague meaning that we will never have the prospect of native crayfish returning. They also remove the submerged water plants (which provide oxygen and the main habitat structure in canals). Fish, fish eggs and invertebrates, which form the main biodiversity within the canal, are also targets for this invasive crayfish. There is no known way to remove signal crayfish once they are in your canal without using a biocide called rotenone which would poison the whole canal. Further, there are resident fish species in the catchment which are officially classed as high impact invasive species, which will keep making the water nutrient rich and continue the loss of plants and animals.

The canal will also be very vulnerable to mink; the main threat to water vole and all the water birds we find on the canal, including the little grebes. It was mink that wiped out our water vole population a few years ago and joining the two parts of the canal again will prevent a stable water vole population being established without constant management.

The large cross sectional area of the canal required for boat movements, coupled with the minimal gradient and a minimal summer flow of between 0.05 and 0.03 cubic metres per second, means that there will be no perceptible flow within the new channel, making it susceptible to algal blooms and oxygenation problems.

There are also many other significant issues which have not been assessed, including the works creating a possible failure of the Water Framework Directive, failure to protect Habitats Directive Annex II species e.g. Bullhead and failure to comply with the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. Although it fails to take into account many important ecological issues and is over 10 years old, it's interesting that even British Waterways' own "Environmental Matters" document which was written to support the restoration predicts significant ecological problems.

I realise this won’t be a popular letter, considering the work people have put into the restoration of the Wendover Arm but feel there should be a clearer picture of what will happen, so that decisions can be made as to whether the inevitable long term environmental costs are acceptable when measured against the benefits.

In order for the people of Wendover, the Parish Council and sponsors to decide if they want to carry on supporting the restoration, I think we should at least have an honest environmental assessment and debate about what the restoration will actually mean to our wildlife. What we're moving towards is a wildlife poor canal which we will not be able to put right.
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