Letters to the editor in this week’s Bucks Herald include:
I am writing to you regarding the abysmal traffic congestion in Aylesbury.
It has taken me 75 minutes to do a journey of what is usually 5-7 minutes.
I do understand that the congestion this morning (Friday) was exacerbated by the abandoned vehicles in the flood water at Stoke Mandeville; however, the main problem is traffic continually jumping red lights, selfishly with no thought to others or consideration towards safety.
As a driving instructor with Thames Valley Police, based at Aylesbury station, most days I have to negotiate the light controlled gyratory system and can honestly say, with very few exceptions, drivers continually ignore the red lights.
This can be very difficult for me when in a marked police car as being a civilian instructor I have no authority to pull a vehicle over and find members of the public looking at me wondering why I am not doing something about it.
If I have a police officer under instruction that has reached the phase to pull a vehicle over then we will, and do, stop that driver.
Having lived, and worked, in Aylesbury for over thirty years I have seen the huge increase in the amount of vehicles travelling through our town and this is obviously set to rise further with the new housing estates that are being developed at the moment and in the future; this can only add to the peak time congestion that we already have.
I am always surprised that, as a council, you have not armed the traffic lights at the gyratory and other prominent locations with cameras.
I know that Transport for Buckinghamshire is committed to making our roads safer for all road users and reducing the amount and severity of casualties from road traffic collisions.
As I travel around a considerable area of the country in my job role I have seen first-hand the compliance of drivers where there are such cameras and the improved traffic flow as a result.
I understand that to install cameras would be a large financial undertaking when you are under strict cut backs enforced by government, but surely the potential revenue from these cameras and the reduction in collisions would soon outweigh this?
Advanced Driving Instructor
Bucks Legacy Celebratory event for Stoke Mandeville on Sunday March 2, sounds like a wonderful event but it is unavailable to senior citizens without modern telephone facilities such as internet, email, etc and only a simple telephone for contact.
Once again for the umpteenth time we are being ostracised from applying for a very interesting event, which as a family having one disabled and two partially disabled members would have been very pleased to see.
There are many organisations that need to be aware of restrictions they impose. I trust you will correct this in future.
Aylesbury Road, Bierton
FOX ON THE RUN
I am writing in response to Heather Jan Brunt’s Farming Matters in the paper January 29.
Her version of the fox is a bit wrong to say the least, I don’t know where her information comes from but she knows nothing about foxes or their way of life.
First she says they have killing sprees, well that’s wrong for a start as a fox is an opportunist, he goes in to a pen of hens and no matter if there is five or five thousand he takes one and he’s off before he gets caught.
Also you hear the story now and again about the fox getting into the garden and killing little Jonny’s four pet rabbits, that’s wrongs well. He will grab one and hitail out of there quick.
I have years ago seen my granny trying to save her hens and ducks from the foxes and never once had a fox kill a hen and leave it behind. They don’t kill other than to eat.
If she wants to know who does the killimng it is mostly done by domestic polecat ferrets that have got loose and live wild or mink, they are loose all over the place, they escaped from so called mink farms which were supposed to be secure. Now we might not all agree with what Tiggywinkles do bu to put the odd of back into the wild can’t do much harm to the countryside.
The farming community has done a good bit of harm themselves with weedkiller and pesticide, so they don’t have any need to complain about what anyone else might do.
Emerson Valley, Milton Keynes
Like all your readers, we have the greatest sympathy for those unfortunate people in Somerset and all the other areas which have been devastated by the recent floods.
While those of us in Aylesbury Vale have not been so badly affected, local problems mirror national problems and the causes are the same – lack of maintenance of rivers, ditches, drains etc and inadequate planning for these events which are not now a rare occurrence.
A case in point is the access into Bishopstone village from Marsh Lane; this stretch of road has flooded regularly over many years and has never been properly dealt with.
Another small but deep flood near The Bell pub in Stoke Mandeville closed the B4009 for two days causing traffic jams all along the A413.
The situation is made worse by the opportunity for blame and buck-passing between all the agencies involved - Thames Water, Bucks County Council, Aylesbury Vale District Council, The Environment Agency and so on.
Like the worsening situation with potholes, it is a case of too little, too late. As with the national picture, no-one will take responsibility for the chaos which has ensued and, as we have already seen, those responsible on our councils are still in post and refuse to resign.
An additional factor which has exacerbated the current problems is the granting of planning permission to build large estates on flood plains around the town – Watermead, Buckingham Park, Berryfields – but the moat around the Aylesbury Vale Academy is quite an attractive feature.
Name and address supplied
The response from Colin Powell re my letter about the rubbish in the Penn Road area rather misses the point I was making.
We have all at sometime had large items to dispose of, but most of us have opted to do this(legally and not by fly-tipping), rather than leaving them to rot in our front gardens.
This is because we have pride in ourselves and our homes,which sadly seems to be lacking in some areas.
If we all took the attitude that it costs too much to get rid of our rubbish imagine what a mess we would all be living in.
I am sure if Mr Powell had to walk this route he would not be making this excuse for untidiness and would not find it pleasant.
By the way, since I wrote my letter another mattress has appeared in the garden next to the other one and the original has now migrated on to the pavement, not a pretty sight.
Mrs J King
HS2: TELL IT HOW IT IS
I can’t help feeling that if the anti-HS2 people were to tell the public at large more about what they would gain rather than what we local inhabitants lose by spending £50 BILLION (that’s fifty thousand £1,000,000) on other projects, we would get a far greater and more sympathetic media coverage to this plundering of our nation’s coffers on a needless and unjustified meagre 140 miles of railway line.
Do they genuinely feel that the majority of our nation really care about the loss of a few butterflies or bats?
For example at £20,000.000 a mile that would build over 2,000 miles of sea defences if that amount were needed.
There will never be a better time to rally public support for cancelling the extravagance of HS2 and bring public pressure to bear to divert that £50 BILLION to more worthwhile and more needed projects than this period of extreme hardship due to the weather
But I rarely see any national coverage by the anti-HS2 group bringing that wasteful expense to the attention of people like those in need of government support whether it be for sea defences, schools, hospitals, local transport infrastructure, or many of the other pressing and urgent local issues.
I feel embarrassed that my government choose to put the needs of a few commuters comfort before the many whose material losses stem from financial cutbacks to their local services and am sure the vast majority of the general public feel the same way if we could just draw the HS2 expense to their attention.
END OF LIFE RIGHTS
With the subject of assisted dying being more and more in the news I would like to put my, and possibly other’s, point of view.
I am a member of Dignity in Dying as well as a committed and active Christian.
One argument against assisted dying is that we must accept God’s plan for us, that He chooses our time of death. Does it therefore follow that we should not try and prolong our life by taking medicine and having life-saving operations?
Doctors are given more and more skill to relieve suffering but in certain circumstances that is not always possible.
Should Doctors prolong life artificially when the patient begs for release? Is there any point in keeping a patient alive when there is no possible hope of improvement and they are clearly dying?
If a patient chooses to shorten their life at a time when the Doctors have given the prognosis that the illness is terminal, should they be denied the help needed?
The choice should be with the patient whether or not they ask for help, as the choice must be with a Doctor who feels unable to give that help.
For end-of-life rights there is an information line open Monday to Friday 11am to 3pm. the phone number is 0800 9992434.
The more people who, while they are still fit and able, write an “Advance Decision” the more power is in their hands. Doctors do take on board the wishes of a patient, even if at the moment they cannot carry out all their requests.
Hospices are wonderful loving, caring centres who give thousands of patients a peaceful end, but even the staff are sometimes unable to help a patient who suffers not only unbearable pain but who is unable to breathe, to move any part of their body, who suffers the indignity of incontinence, or other devastating consequences of their illness.
At the moment there are three options to end an unbearable life ---
1. if they have the money, are physically able and have someone willing to accompany them, they can go to Switzerland.
2. If they have a relative or friend willing to help them die, but by doing so they know they are breaking the present law.
3. If they have the knowledge and the means to take their own life, which does not break the law but I think must take a huge courage and is not always successful.
If the law was changed none of those options would be relevant.
As a Christian I believe in a caring God whose loving presence is shown in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I do not believe He would want anyone to suffer beyond their endurance if there is a means of alleviating it. There is also the terrible strain of watching helplessly a loved one struggling.
The word that comes to mind in this debate is Compassion. Perhaps that should be printed large on every leaflet that is produced for debate.
A BRIDGE TOO FAR
The rubbish incinerator being built at Calvert has required a bridge to be strengthened as part of the access road.
To do this work the builders, Fomento Construcciones y Contratas (FCC) have closed the back road from Edgcott to Quainton – and it will remain closed for four months.
All well and good, but for the residents of the houses along this road, the only way into Aylesbury and their work involves a diversion of 16 miles.
For those who must make this journey several times a day, this adds up to significant amount of time and money on account of a facility which has already slashed the value of their homes by its proximity.
They are not landed gentry, but decent, hard-working tax payers, many of whom earn little more than the minimum wage, who can ill afford the cost of subsidising this development.
FCC are not bothered about the problems caused to local residents, despite interventions from both BCC Cabinet Member Angela Macpherson and MP John Bercow, dismissing the situation as an “inconvenience.” One elderly resident who is in her mid-80s is certainly inconvenienced. She travels to south Buckinghamshire twice a week in order to care for her blind and deaf older sister.
Alas, FCC points out they are not obliged to pay any compensation and that is perfectly in line with what happens everywhere. So that’s all right then, as Private Eye would say.
It’s true there is no precedent for supporting hard pressed individuals who are financially challenged beyond their ability to cope by the actions of a development company. But this is just an excuse to hide behind – it doesn’t stop them helping out. After all, their financial gain is enormous.
Think about it. This incinerator is being built for Bucks County Council using tax payers money – apparently around 180 million pounds worth of it, and we can safely assume that FCC’s Spanish owners will be making a profit from it.
The entire issue of this incinerator has caused anguish to many more people than those who will live in its shadow, but let the developers for once show they are listening to local people and fork out for this modest request for compensation.
Dromoland House, Buckingham Road, Edgcott
PARKING IN MILTON KEYNES
‘Mothers, tell your children not to do as I have done’ (to quote from the lyrics of The House of The Rising Sun).
The location of my own ‘sin and misery’ was the car parks of Milton Keynes, rather than the gambling dens of New Orleans.
My mother, aged 91, uses an wheelchair and so has had a Blue Badge parking permit for several years.
For special occasion shopping we like to go to Milton Keynes, where all the shops are under cover and on the flat.
A year ago we went to buy her an outfit for an investiture at Buckingham Palace. (Yes, thank you, it was a memorable experience.) As all the disabled parking spots by John Lewis were taken, I parked in a standard parking place, displaying the blue badge.
When we returned to the car I found that I had been given a parking ticket.
I found the parking warden (they call them Blue Meanies in Glasgow) and explained why I had parked there. He said that if I appealed against the ticket, that I would be let off paying the £70 fine. I did appeal, but it was rejected.
The letter from NCP said that they offered a few parking places for blue badge holders ‘as a concession’, but when these were full, no special privileges were available.
I took this to mean that I should have paid for a ticket to park in a non-disabled spot, but not in the disabled bays. What else could ‘special privileges’ mean, as all the parking spots in Milton Keynes, not just the disabled spots, are close to the shops and on the flat ?
Last month we returned to Milton Keynes and I parked in a disabled bay.
Again, I found that I had been given a ticket, because apparently I should have bought a ticket. There was no sign to say so by the disabled bays.
One said ‘Have you paid and displayed?’ but as this sign was where all pedestrians would leave the car park, it did not occur to me that it applied to us.
We have never had to pay for a ticket anywhere else when displaying the blue badge.
Once again, I appealed, explaining how I had interpreted NCP’s letter rejecting my previous appeal.
Yet again, my appeal was turned down, this time with a composite letter to cover any possible reason to appeal against a fine.
If you telephone the NCP number you just get offered several types of recorded message, but you cannot reach a human being.
There is an Ombudsman, but the grounds for an appeal are so limited that even a nuclear war or outbreak of bubonic plague would probably not qualify.
I have tried to find out what proportion of appeals are successful (very low, I surmise), but my enquiry has not been answered.
As a pensioner myself, I find it hard enough to deal with getting the wheelchair out of the car, putting it together, moving my mother into it and wrapping her up, before getting her into the warmth of the shopping mall as soon as possible.
I do not wander round to read the notice on the ticket machine, especially as my previous engagement with NCP had left me with (I thought) a clear understanding of their policies.
I am left feeling very sore at having to pay yet another fine, and angry that NCP are so keen to levy fines on disabled people and their carers, contrary to the parking policies of everywhere else.
My message to other blue badge holders is ‘Be very careful before you park in Milton Keynes’.
Aylesbury and Tring welcome us with free parking, even if Milton Keynes does not.
Professor Diana Woodward
LIB DEMS HAVE THE WRONG NAME
I can only agree with Cllr Mark Willis & the Liberal Democrats on one issue, Aylesbury residents should batten down the hatches on housing developers because of the failure of the Aylesbury Vale Development Plan regarding housing numbers.
No party in British political history has been more badly misnamed than the Liberal Democrats. For these smug, hectoring charlatans believe in neither liberty nor democracy.
They are slaves to the EU and Brussels and fashionable ideology, eager to see our national identity crushed by European integration and mass immigration.
Posing as the champions of progress the Liberal Democrats are in reality agents of Britain’s destruction.
Their utter contempt for the opinions of the mainstream public was on full display in Cllr Willis letter in last week’s Bucks Herald, Cllr Willis even put newly created words together and twists the real truth when quoting what I actually said regarding immigration. You just cannot trust them.
Playing his usual self appointed role as Brussels’s ambassador to London, Cllr Mark Willis wrote in this newspaper article that immigration does not have any bearing on house building developments? or restrictions on the EU influx.
But for sheer arrogance and folly Cllr Mark Willis witterings paled beside those of Lib Dem County Councillor Avril Davies. The Liberal Democrats deepening concern about immigration as nothing more than a “panic” based on prejudice.
Disgracefully they accused the public of suffering from a mental disorder on the issue, labelling most of us as “schizophrenic” for daring to challenge EU dogma.
Their stance could not be less progressive. Both European integration and mass immigration are undemocratic since the British electorate never voted for either. In dismissing the public’s views the Liberal Democrats again show their disdain for the very concept of the people’s will.
The Liberal Democrats say that any curbs on EU migrants would be “illegal” but that only illustrates how we are effectively governed by an unaccountable Brussels cabal that has turned Britain into a province of its bureaucratic empire. Yet far from objecting to this illiberal loss of independence the Liberal Democrats support it.
Contrary to what Cllr Mark Willis & the Liberal Democrats pretend mass immigration is the enemy of economic and social progress.
The import of foreigners drives down wages, hits living standards and pushes up domestic unemployment. It is ridiculous that at a time when we have almost five million people of working age living on benefits so many jobs are taken by migrants. The influx also puts a huge strain on housing, the NHS and the welfare system.
The Lib Dems talk grandly of the contribution made by “Dutch accountants or Finnish engineers” but that is disingenuous for they deliberately ignore the arrival of a vast army of unskilled migrants and free loaders from the impoverished nations of Eastern Europe.
Our cohesion is already under enough threat as the bonds of solidarity disappear and shared values are lost. Many urban areas are turning into foreign lands, with white British people in a minority in conurbations such as Leicester, London and Slough.
Only yesterday it was revealed that more than 31 per cent of all children born in Britain now have at least one foreign parent and in parts of the capital the figure rises to more than 80 per cent.
None of this has done any thing to promote trust or harmony, which is what the Liberal Democrats claim is their goal.
Just the opposite is true.The tragedy is that Willis and the Liberal Democrats and their gang of doctrinaires have any influence over national policy. In their anti British worship of the EU they belong in a cult, not the Government.
‘The party isn’t liberal and scorns democracy’
UKIP group leader, Aylesbury Vale District Council, Quarrendon Ward
FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION
Your readers might interested to know that UK Conservatives in the European Parliament have been at the forefront in the battle to eradicate the scandal of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the European Union.
UK Conservatives have pushed successfully for a “a zero-tolerance approach” on the issue, with 500,000 girls, from the age of only three, deemed at risk in Europe of being subjected to the barbaric practice of cutting away sexual body parts to fulfil cultural tradition.
In the United Kingdom it is estimated 65,000 girls were at risk, most are believed to be in London.
MEPs from across Europe voted overwhelmingly to adopt a report which calls for concerted action across the European Union to end the global disgrace of mutilating children and women.
The resolution urges the EU Commission and its diplomatic arm the External Action Service to take a firm stance against non-European Union countries which fail to condemn FGM.
It also demands that member states must pursue, prosecute and punish any EU resident involved in the ritual cutting of the genitals of young girls.
It defines the practice as a gross form of violence against women and children and calls for more thorough data to be collected on its frequency and distribution.
I would also like to hear from constituents who have views on the issue by emailing me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conservative MEP for South East England