Anyone is most welcome to submit a letter for publication.
To comment on any article, or to write a letter on a local issue please send them to
contact@whitchurch.org.uk.
Please supply a contact although names can be withheld on request.
Latest letters will be posted at the top.

The Editors reserve the right to shorten or not to publish contributions and there will be a preference for local issues. Views expressed are of the author and are not necessarily those of the website or its editors.

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LETTERS RECEIVED

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6th March 2015

Author: Secretary, Friends of QEII Daniel Park

DANIEL PARK – RESPONSE TO ‘SOME GRUMBLES’

The Friends of QEII Daniel Park are a group of volunteers who were brought together about 3 years ago to act as a kind of go-between between BDBC (which owns and is responsible for the land) and local residents and users. About half the Friends live near the Park. In their spare time, the Friends have worked with BDBC to create a long-term management plan to ensure that the Park is maintained properly for the benefit of local residents and wildlife, as well as highlighting areas that need improvement. They have overseen the introduction of new benches and found funding for and co-ordinated the planting of the apple orchard, and there are more projects afoot.
A lot of Whitchurch people have expressed their gratitude for the work that the Friends have put into the Park, and are very supportive of them.

But it’s not all plain-sailing: the Friends recognise that there have been various types of antisocial behaviour at the Park and liaise with the relevant officers at BDBC and the Town Council in this respect. They have engaged with the local teenagers to try to improve their sense of ownership, and therefore pride in and respect for the Park. The issue of the small minority of irresponsible dog owners is a continual problem which troubles the Friends and gives good dog owners a bad name. But, if the author has any good ideas in respect of either of these problems, it would be great if he/she would step out of the shadows of anonymity and share them with us.

Contrary to what the author says, the Friends consult regularly with local residents and invite opinions. There is also a permanent open invitation to local residents to join the Friends’ group, but unfortunately there has been very little take up and therefore the existing Friends are stretched rather thin.

Anyway, with regard to the writer’s specific point about leaving food at the Park, nobody has suggested that bird food should not be left out. What the recently posted notice is asking people to refrain from doing is leaving their food scraps out there. The author of the letter should note that this notice was put up as a result of complaints from local residents. Surprisingly large piles of rotting vegetables and mouldy bread are often to be seen up there. Others have even reported cooked kitchen scraps such as fish and chips. This is clearly going to attract more vermin than the odd crust of bread or birdseed, and will also be harmful to animals that eat it. It also annoys dog walkers because some dogs make a beeline for the rubbish.
In short, to ask people not to dump food waste up there is a sensible and reasonable request and to suggest otherwise seems obtuse, to say the very least.

A number of times the writer makes the allegation that the Friends fail to communicate with local residents. If he/she genuinely believes the Friends are not acting in the best interests of local residents, then the onus is on those individuals to get together and approach the Friends with their ideas. So far not one person has done this. I leave it to the author to co-ordinate such an approach and get in touch with the Friends’ Secretary via this website in due course. I would just request that their approach is more civil than the tone of their letter.

In the meantime, to counter the writer’s allegation that the Friends do not consult with local residents properly, perhaps we should circulate a questionnaire containing the following question:

“Do you think it is acceptable for people to leave their kitchen waste in the Park?”

But I think I know what the overwhelming answer would be.

Secretary, on behalf of the Friends of QEII Daniel Park



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5th March 2015

Author: name supplied

DANIEL PARK – SOME GRUMBLES

Apologies for a small grumble to the Editor.

I am curious as to who the so called Friends of Queen Elisabeth 2 Park are?

Seems strange that we suddenly have these so called Friends of the Park who do not speak to the local residents about what their views and opinions of the park are.
They seem happy to act as the nanny state police, telling people what they can do at this public, if indeed it is now public, area.

Odd that they do not deal with the anti-social behaviour of the local youth in the warmer months of the year with their use of intoxicating substances late in to the evenings, use by workman of areas in the park as public toilets, dog poo bags hanging in the hedges and not put in bins
Now it appears that people are not allowed to feed the birds that have been fed by local residents for many years with wild bird seed and bread as this supposedly will attract vermin?

According to statistics we all live within 20 yards of rats at any given time so where do these people gather there information, and continually fail to communicate with local residents
I have been in the area for some time and have ever been approached by a councillor or so called Friend of the Park ask what my opinion of the park might be regardless if it is negative or positive.

Name withheld on request



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27th December 2014

Author: name supplied

Speed Limit in Whitchurch

Hi,
I couldn’t believe the uninformed attitude of the person suggesting the removal of the 20 mile an hour speed limit in Whitchurch. Surely they are aware that the chances of survival for a child, and anyone else of course, but particularly for a child, hit by a vehicle are substantially increased at a speed below 30 miles an hour. Why should folk speed through the village, just to save a few seconds – rarely minutes? The roads are narrow and littered with parked cars, pathways are narrow too. Does the person who suggested a higher speed limit live in Whitchurch?

I live on London Street and feel I take my life in my hands often when I exit my drive in my car. People are not doing 20 mph along this road usually, even when coming round a blind bend, but goodness knows what speed they would go if the limit was higher! I favour speed cameras actually. The few seconds gained from driving at full pelt through this village, cannot be justified, especially on safety grounds. Speed cameras would curb this approach. I’m afraid left to their own devises road users are not generally responsible and considerate. We could donate the revenue to the shopkeepers in Whitchurch to smarten up their shop fronts – many could do with it.

Whitchurch should and could be a thriving village, pleasant to walk around and live in and interesting for visitors. Come on residents, lets get moving.

name supplied

P.S. I am not an elderly person who can’t cope with speed, or modern life. I just don’t see why selfishness should reign.



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8th December 2014

Author: Dorrie Bilson

Setting up a local care agency?

My mother was in need of care for the last few years of her life. She lived in Coniston in the Lake District which made it difficult for me to get there as much as I would have liked. Providing care for the housebound was a wonderful ‘not for profit’ organisation called ‘Coniston Carers’. My mother had local people coming in whom she knew well and who did not have far to travel. It made all the difference to her quality of life in her last few years.

I am aware that in Whitchurch there are many people in that situation and they are reliant on carers who do a great job, but have to travel from Andover, Basingstoke, Winchester and even further afield whatever the weather. This means clients often do not know who will be coming into their home and the times can be very variable. Feeling that you know someone and that they know you and your needs is of immeasurable value when one becomes in any way dependent.

If there could be ‘Whitchurch Carers’ provided by local people (with proper training and accountability) for local people, I think that would make a huge difference to the quality of life of many. This could also provide some part time employment within Whitchurch.

So is there any one out there who has the expertise, vision, money to set up a ‘not for profit’ care agency?

Dorrie Bilson



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23rd July 2013

Author: David Gosling

Litchfield BT Internet Performance Deteriorates with Hardware Upgrade

Read the full letter HERE.

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8th July 2013

Author: Graham Burgess

(Click to enlarge)

Trees by the Allotments

What is the justification for the ravaging of the two willow trees on Winchester Road by the allotments ?

The sort of work that has been done is totally over the top and such work is not normally carried out when the trees are in full leaf.

The ruination of views is appalling . Out of curiosity I applied my Value for Green criteria and each of the trees had a Green Value of £32,135.25  – thirty two thousand pounds.

The first time this was applied in Whitchurch was when the trees were removed unnecessarily from the site of The Railway.

When I did that I compared the value with the actual value of trees being planted in Chiswick Business Park – 15 metres tall weighing 7 tons and the value I calculated came within £78 pounds of the value of newly planted mega trees there.

So two trees and a loss worth over £64K.

Graham Burgess

Dip Hort Kew.
Member of London Tree Officers Association
onetime member of Arboricultural Association Education and Publicity Committee.
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22nd May 2013

Author: Andrew Reeves-Hall

Open letter sent to the Town Council about Wind Farm decision

Please see separate page which includes the letter and a reply CLICK HERE.
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17th May 2013

Author: Names withheld.

Dog Fouling

We’re new dog owners. For the past 4 weeks we have been walking our puppy from Town Mill Lane up through the Queen Elizabeth field and further up into the field behind Micheldever Road.

We’re deeply disappointed about the amount of dog mess that is lying in both fields. Both on the edge of the cut grass tracks and in the deep grass meadow. Dogs (and children) don’t keep to the middle of the tracks. It’s as important to remove your dog’s faeces from ALL areas and not just the footpaths. There are plenty of litter bins around to dispose of the mess.
There’s absolutely no excuse to leave such a beautiful area so disgusting.

Yours faithfully,

Names withheld.

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28th March 2013

Author: Sue Climpson.

In answer to Gary Trotters letter.

‘A mix of new housing IS required although it would be better to infill smaller plots, such as land between Bloswood Lane and Church Street (as already mentioned in the LDP); ‘

My comment: With acoustic panels and careful tree planting this site would yield more houses than the current 150 planned.

other areas to be considered should include:

1. ‘Land north of Caesars Way up to the railway line in the north and bordered by the A34 to the east.’

My comment: This is WHIT016. It has been comprehensively rejected by B&DBC as far too noisy from the A34 and railway to which anyone who has been there would testify. It also borders the D3.21 proposed industrial estate, which will only add to the noise pollution. Access is very difficult from any direction.

2. ‘Land south of Church Street – currently partly occupied by the cricket club which could be relocated off Webbs Farm Close, with it`s social functions coming under the roof of the adjacent Sports and Social Club facilities, thus safeguarding the future of both in these times of economic uncertainty.’

My comment: This land is in the conservation area and has awkward access being near the dangerous corner at the church. Any development here is totally out of character for Whitchurch.

3. ‘Land north of the Weir.’

My comment: Not only is this landscape particularly beautiful, contains plants and wildlife highly specific to the area, representative of the River Test but it is a water meadow and therefore subject to flooding. It borders the River Test SSSI. It is totally unsuitable for any development.

4. ‘Land west of Bere Hill road/Dances Lane.’

My comment: This is WHIT008 and has been already rejected by B&DBC.

‘In addition on recent discussions on extending the Ardglen industrial estate, this should be expanded west into the ground currently occupied by the allotments. As part of any development here, the unmade road that is Bloswood Drive should be resurfaced and so form another access road to the industrial estate (as well as to the properties currently on Bloswood Drive).’

My comment: Bloswood Drive is a private road so would need to be bought by B&DBC. I’m sure that the residents would object to large trucks using it day and night. Also to get through the old railway bridge would require a very sharp turn for large trucks coming from Wells Lane and Evingar Road. I can see high sided trucks colliding with the edge of that bridge.

‘The additional traffic implications for the town are frightening – grid lock can be achieved during rush hour as it is; a case now may be made for the introduction of a one-way system to make the roads safer and ensure enough on road parking for residents and “stop and shop” car drivers. An upgrade of the river bridge in Test Road is necessary for this to work at it`s best (I will not divert you with the detail of this plan at this time).’

My comment: A very difficult turn for large trucks at each end plus it’s a narrow residential road unsuited for much traffic.

‘Whitchurch station requires a commitment from Network Rail to build an additional car park to the north of the station, with vehicle and disabled person and pedestrian access off Newbury Road.’

My comment: The much talked about northern station car park is folly. Not only is there little space on the rail network at peak times but there is unrestricted parking at the top of Newbury Road currently unused. I guess rail commuters arriving at the station by car are just too lazy to walk the 200 yards from there. More importantly the implications of building a northern car park are poor for Whitchurch and the whole of the AONB. Once you build north of the railway you create an access point and a precedent for industrial and housing development there also. This will expand Whitchurch northward and is undesirable. Building there breaches the AONB which makes a mockery of the AONB and greenbelt system. However I can see some merit in the basic idea and obviously the pension funds, which own the land, see future development there.

Sue Climpson

A letter presented to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council is HERE
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17th March 2013

Author: Gary Trotter.

Housing in Whitchurch: Basingstoke & Deane Local Development Plan

 

Copy of Letter sent to Cllr Donald Sherlock, the Kingsclere Councillor and Basingstoke and Deane Cabinet Member for Planning who proposed an increase in Whitchurch Housing alocation from 350 to 550.
It was also copied to Whitchurch Borough Councillors Eric Dunlop and Keith Watts.

Dear Sir,

A 22% increase (550 homes) in the size of this town over such a short period (15 years) is both irresponsible and impractical. Two of the locations are greenfield, contentious and will serve to unbalance the shape of the town (west of the Knowlings and south of Testbourne school.)

A mix of new housing IS required although it would be better to infill smaller plots, such as land between Bloswood Lane and Church Street (as already mentioned in the LDP); other areas to be considered should include:

  1. land north of Caesers Way up to the railway line in the north and bordered by the A34 to the east.
  2. land south of Church Street – currently partly occupied by the cricket club which could be relocated off Webbs Farm Close, with it`s social functions coming under the roof of the adjacent Sports and Social Club facilities thus safeguarding the furture of both in these times of economic uncertainty.
  3. land north of the Weir.
  4. land west of Bere Hill road/Dances Lane.

In addition on recent discussions on extending the Ardglen industrial estate, this should be expanded west into the ground currently occupied by the allotments. As part of any development here, the unmade road that is Bloswood Drive should be resurfaced and so form another access road to the industrial estate (as well as to the properties currently on Bloswood Drive).

The additional traffic implications for the town are frightening – grid lock can be achieved during rush hour as it is; a case now may be made for the introduction of a one-way system to make the roads safer and ensure enough on road parking for residents and “stop and shop” car drivers. An upgrade of the river bridge in Test Road is necessary for this to work at it`s best (I will not divert you with the detail of this plan at this time).
New mini-roundabouts are already required at the junction of Micheldever/Winchester Road, and Newbury/Station Road/Bere Hill.

Whitchurch station requires a commitment from Network Rail to build an additional car park to the north of the station, with vehicle and disabled person and pedestrian access off Newbury Road.

Any developments MUST prioritise on diverting Section 106 monies to fit acoustic panels alogside the town`s western boundary with the A34 (from the railway line in the north to the Tufton flyover in the south. The noise reduction and other anti-pollution benefits of this fencing will benefit all Whitchurch residents; As reported in the local news, Test Valley Council is committed to this fencing protecting Andover, what about Basingstoke & Deane?

Similarly some section 106 monies should be set aside to rectify the issue of the missing footpath on the B3400 between Whitchurch and Wells in the Field. Did you know that you can travel all the way from Ashe to Whitchurch by tarmac footpath APART from this last 600 yards?

Finally, I think you simply underestimate the sheer scale of the upheaval and disruption that the building of approx. 40 new homes a year, for 15 years will have on the lives of existing Whitchurch residents. Imagine it happening in Kingsclere, I can`t!

Sincerely
Gary Trotter

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30th January 2013

Author: Name withheld.

A Mum Speaks Out

A mother’s view – dog fouling in Whitchurch
Sometimes, I’m almost thankful I don’t have a sense of smell…

Just today (Tuesday) I passed two of the most disgusting and large piles of dog mess as I was walking to the train station. One just a few metres from my house, situated next to a public bench and public waste bin on Newbury Road. It was 8:50 am, just after children are heading to school and using that very path. I was amazed, because such droppings of this stuff usually gets trodden in and spread by children – however, the size of this particular ‘pile’ was impressive by any standards, unless you own a horse.
Or possibly a small elephant…

To read full letter see: A MUM SPEAKS OUT
(note, full article includes a rather nasty picture)

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8th January 2013

Author: Name withheld on request

20mph Speed Limit

Dear Editor

In reply to the last letter, of course figures are open to interpretation.

In Portsmouth there was a 22% fall in overall casualties as against a national backdrop of 14%. Whether that is statistically significant is for mathematicians to decide.

But of course there doesn’t need a death or injury to make speeding an intimidating, anti-social and selfish activity that threatens people who want to go about their normal business around town.
The argument being made to maintain 30mph seems to rest on the right to go fast because no one has died!

Regarding the point about having 20mph only around schools, ponder the following:

  • Only a small minority of child road casualties occur on the way to or from school (20%)
  • Very few casualties occur outside the schools themselves;
  • On leaving localised 20mph school areas, drivers are reminded that they can increase their speed to 30mph.

It is time to recognise that we need community-wide safety for children – not just in the last 100 metres of their journey.
And we need to come to terms that traffic has had an overbearing effect on quality of life for all wherever we are.

Quite why anyone wants to drive in Whitchurch at a speed where people would more likely to die if there were a collision is beyond me.

Please withhold my name and address.

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28th December 2012

Author: Name withheld on request

20mph Speed Limit

Dear Editor

One of the main reasons given for introducing this scheme is “to make our streets safer for our children”. I am not sure how one would measure this hoped-for improvement in safety.
What are the statistics for road accidents involving children in Whitchurch over the last few years?

In a 2010 scheme in Portsmouth, where 20 mph speed limits were introduced on a trial basis, the level of accidents to children was reckoned to be too low to draw any statisical conclusions. The overall accident rate actually increased, compared to the period before the scheme was introduced, although there was a decrease in a very small average number of serious accidents, not necessarily due to the scheme.
The report does point out that the average traffic speed before the scheme was already constrained by roadside parking and traffic density to an average of about 24 mph. I expect that the figures for Whitchurch would show a similar average constraint for the same reasons.

Any serious accident is a personal tragedy for the injured parties and their relatives but accidents by their very nature, sadly, do happen and, while I would support speed restrictions in the vicinity of the schools, I do not think that the introduction of a 20mph speed limit throughout most of Whitchurch is going to result in any measurable improvement in the safety of our children.

Please withhold my name and address.

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12th November 2012

Author: Andrew Reeves-Hall

POOR RESPONSE RATE BY POLICE CRIME COMMISSIONER CANDIDATES

Electronic letter received from Andrew Reeves-Hall…

(disclosure: Andrew is a volunteer editor of this website)

Last Monday, the 5th of November – remember? – I searched at YourNextPcc to find out how to contact the candidates in our area for Police Crime Commissioner (PCC) – a new elected post.

I did this for two reasons: firstly, to ask each their position on a particular subject and secondly to see whether the candidates respond as part of their remit is to interact with the electorate – that’s us!

I would like to share with you my experience of how this has turned out – please note that I had no preference for any candidate or party nor am I a member of any political party.

So far, I have not been impressed by the response rate.

FOR THE FULL LETTER SEE:
Poor response rate by Police Crime Commissioner candidates

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9th October 2012

Author: Ray Witchurch

ORIGIN OF SURNAME

This is the village where my Grandmother’s surname came from many years ago. She was the first girl born of seven. In turn, all her sisters had seven children of which the first born was a girl. I of course broke the tradition and a boy was born. I am now the eldest living grandson.
We were not able to find any records as far back as Dooms Day as they were burned and destroyed, yet we were able to find information far enough back. I have written information from my grandmother and verbal information that was only handed to me. Sorry to say, none of my other family members had prior knowledge until last year.

Ray Witchurch, Swindon
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2nd September 2012

Author: Debbie Ackroyd

SPEED CAN KILL

Nice to hear the police are watching the speeds of cars between Whitchurch and Andover on the country roads. It’s a pity they weren’t so proactive 41 years ago when my grandparents were killed outside their own house in Bloswood Lane.
Ironically it was a neighbour’s son who hit them and took both their lives.
I think he got fined 23 quid and a six month ban!
Also he was over the limit so today he would serve a custodial sentence.

RIP Florence and Ernest Holmes, ripped from our lives.
It would be nice for Whitchurch to remember them.

Debbie Ackroyd

In response to article: POLICE REPORT

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25th March 2012

Author: Keith Watts

PETITION

I was interested to see the letter from “Bob Jones” mentioning my name and that of Councillor Eric Dunlop. Bob thinks that we and Whitchurch Town Council have more power than we do, we can’t “approve” the building of homes, we can only influence the planning done by Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council. We favour planning for enough homes for Whitchurch people but no more.

Eric and I keep in close touch with the Town Council but we don’t always agree with them. Whitchurch Town Councillors are robustly independent and don’t hesitate to let their Borough Councillors know when they disagree with us. We are all in favour of keeping local people informed and encouraging participation in planning decisions, which is why we jointly held an Exhibition about the Core Strategy on 17th March.
Sadly, Bob didn’t drop in for a chat.

Happily, the small independent businesses in Whitchurch have shown that they are up to the task of encouraging footfall in the centre. The Christmas arrangements were second to none and I hope that all retailers will join in on future events.

Arguments about bollards and cotton bags are “raves from the graves”, Bob Jones is apparently obsessed with past issues. Neither Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council nor Whitchurch Town Council spent any money on those. As it happens, I like them. I made that clear when I stood for re-election two years ago and I was supported by 59% of the people who voted.

regards

Keith Watts
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18th March 2012

Author : Bob Jones

PETITION

Does everyone think that Keith Watts and Eric Dunlop and the existing Town Council are ruining Whitchurch!! They are approving too many homes without necessary infrastucture and new community facilities. We need a new active Council that will help small independent businesses to create a prosperous town centre like Overton. The current town centre is drab with poor shop fronts and spending a stupid amount of money on painted bollards, and cotton bags that nobody has seen WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY!! Come on Residents of Whitchurch LETS DO SOMETHING!!!!

SIGN PETITION

http://www.change.org/petitions/whitchurch-town-council-change-their-policies-and-support-local-businesses

Bob Jones

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28th November 2011
Thanks for supporting Jordan

Hi All

I would just like to thank everyone for the email postings of support for Jordan recently displayed on the whitchurch.org.uk site.

For those of you that are not aware Jordan recently competed at the World Tumbling Championships, this year held at the NIA in Birmingham. He was the youngest competitor, having recently turned 17, and came overall 15th individually out of 38 in the Men’s Senior Competition and as a member of the GB Senior Men’s Team was overjoyed at coming 4th, just missing out on a medal position.

Your words of support were greatly appreciated and he is looking forward to the European Championships next year, 2012.

We will obviously keep you informed of his progress……..

Kevin Lucas
(father of Jordan Lucas)
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31st October 2011
RED and WHITE Poppies

As someone who was born on the 11th. November (Remembrance Day 1956), the Remembrance season has always had a special resonance for me. In the Events calendar on the Whitchurch website, the following text is shown under the “11.11.11.11” event:

At 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month of 2011, the nation will pause.

Wherever you [are], whatever you are doing, this is a time to take two minutes of silence and remember those who have served our country in conflicts past and present, and who have given their lives for the freedom we enjoy today.

It occurs to me that this exhortation is fine when we think of the allied sacrifices made in the two world wars, but when we consider more recent conflicts I believe we need to consider carefully what it is we are “remembering”. The freedoms I enjoy have nothing to do with the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, whose purpose seems to have been more to support American foreign policy than anything else, and whose beneficiaries have mainly been multinational companies such as Halliburton, whose links with the then US Vice President Dick Cheney are well known. We should also bear in mind that the vast majority of the casualties of these recent conflicts have been unarmed civilians.

While many might argue that they wear the red poppy and attend services of remembrance such as that at All Hallows on Remembrance Sunday in honour of all those who have given up their lives in war, including German soldiers and Iraqi civilians, the language of “The Glorious Dead” inscribed on the Cenotaph and of the hymn “O Valiant Hearts” sung at the All Hallows service does nothing to question the involvement of our military in modern warmongering or to promote other, non-violent, means of conflict resolution. It is to show support for this wider view of remembrance and peace-building that some choose to wear a white poppy, perhaps alongside the red, and I wonder how many of the good folk of Whitchurch might join me in wearing a white poppy this Remembrancetide?

Andrew Smith

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4th October 2011
The Parish Hall Renovation – will it increase use?

Dear Editor

Regarding the Parish Hall’s £200,000 renovation, hot on the heels of its £50,000 purchase: I wonder just where the trade is predicted to come from to support its upkeep? Does the committee plan to target other venues in the town to recoup a quarter of a million pounds worth of investment?
If not, where is the market research suggesting that such investment will be returned in increased hire earnings?

Or is it the committee’s plan to continue to rely on wealthy benefactors?

As a Whitchurch resident to who the PH Committee is responsible I’d like to know.

Mike Stead

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4th September 2011
The Parish Hall and needs of Young People

Dear Editor,

I write to you in relation to the letter dated 1st September. (below)

I’m aware there is/was a youth club on Friday evenings. How about using the Parish hall for the younger generation. Perhaps crèche/activites/play for Mon-Fri’s and fun activities at weekends. Somewhere families can drop in, whether it be for 5 mins or few hours. I’m thinking about those who perhaps can’t afford to take their children out at weekends, or perhaps if weather is bad they still have local activities.
The hall can be used as a drop in perhaps after schools? Help with homework, advice somewhere to relax. Then can still be used in evenings for bingo or for hire.
How about an Internet cafe/computer facilities for all ages.
There are loads of possibilities, I think repeating ideas such as another Market is a waste of resources and money.

Name witheld on request

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1st September 2011
The Parish Hall and needs of Young People

Dear Editor,

I read of Chris Miller’s intrepid endeavour to raise money towards a much needed Youth Centre.
On the very same day I read that the Parish Hall Trustees are spending towards £200,000 on a refurbishment.

My jaw dropped when I then saw the latter were only duplicating what we already have in the town. Whitchurch already has a high quality cinema facility at the GNC showing top films. The same venue has disabled facilities and a kitchen, while Testbourne has a good stage and lighting equipment. Both also have excellent parking, something the Parish Hall will still lack after all its spending.

Meanwhile the many young people of our town continue to suffer with no dedicated premises where they can drop in, enjoy coffees, run social events, or hold discos. They presently have to share premises which is far from ideal for such a large successful Club.

The Parish Hall management have not learned their lesson from when they lost credibility by duplicating the Country Market; they seem to be going down the same route again. All I can say is I am not surprised that so few grants were forthcoming when rather than address local needs they go into competition with existing facilities.

They could redeem themselves. Could the Parish Hall be used for a Youth Centre? Might the building be handed over to the young people of the town who could probably improve it themselves for much less than what the Parish Hall Committee are spending?

As the Parish Hall belongs to the town, is this something that could be raised at the next Parish Hall AGM?

Name witheld on request

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15th August 2011
From Martin Watson
Original News Item:
Petition calls for Footpath to Wells-in-the-Field

Dear Editor,

As your photo shows, there is a perfectly good and very pleasant woodland footpath from the Bere Miil road to Wells in the Field.
At times and in a few places this path may get muddy. This happens in the country.
At times and in a few places it may require some maintenance of over grown or fallen trees. This also happens in the country.
At night time it is quite dark. This happens in the country, at night.
But the cost of upgrading this path would be minimal compared with the cost of constructing and maintaining a lighted roadside pavement all the way to Wells in the Field. Such a path would be more like a town street, with associated traffic noise and fumes, rather than a pleasant meander through the woodland walk.
Rather than signing petitions which would put another burden on the local rates, I would suggest that the organisers should ask their 220 signatories to form a “Friends of the Woodland Walk Group” to maintain and improve the existing walk.
We live in the country, let’s not try to turn it into the town.
Yours etc

Martin Watson

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