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Letters round-up (including inappropriate way to mark WWI and dog poo)

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Letters to the editor in this week’s Bucks Herald newspaper include:

THINK AGAIN

As most people will know this year sees the 100th Anniversary of the start of the First World War.

Watermead Parish Council intends to mark the occasion with a day including “fairground amusements, stalls , some vintage aspects and an evening entertainment”.

I suspect they are not the only Parish planning such an event.

Although the outbreak of the war was greeted with some enthusiasm on both sides, no one was aware of what a combination of modern weapons and trench warfare would bring.

What followed was four years of the most awful conflict the world had ever seen with wholesale slaughter.

The UK alone lost nearly a million killed and another 2 million injured plus many more who came from what was then the British Empire.

There are hardly any towns or villages in the country which do not have a memorial to their dead, often there are several names from the same family.

On the first morning of the Battle of the Somme alone there were 60,000 British and Irish casualties almost equivalent to the entire current population of Aylesbury. Many of those who survived being machine-gunned,gassed, blown up by high explosives, lost at sea or drowned in a sea of mud were left physically or mentally scarred.

To mark the start of this horrific war with a Village Fete and entertainment seems misguided at best and many might see it as grossly insensitive.

I would urge Watermead Parish Council and others to think again.

Dr Eric Rose

Watermead

DEBATE GOES ON

Re Bucks Herald letter No chance to pass

It is an on-going debate whether we gain our brain power from nature or nurture. However, current research shows that up to 70% of the way we behave is influenced by the environment in which we are raised.

Poverty does a number of things to a household. Primarily, it creates inequality of opportunity. This could be anything from not having a quiet place to do homework, to no internet access or not being able to afford additional tuition.

The latter is something that Vale of Aylesbury Housing aims to address through our Tuition Plus scheme, and has done for six years now. It has been a huge success in raising the academic achievements of residents’ children.

In vulnerable households, a child may have care responsibilities, either for siblings or a parent, which must be prioritised ahead of homework.

It may simply be a case that the child is raised in a more stressful environment than is found in affluent households – all factors that are documented to affect a child’s educational achievement.

With the economy as it is, many have found themselves unexpectedly in financial need, for example as a result of redundancy. Their children do not suddenly become “genetically” incapable of adding up. Poverty strikes for any number of reasons, many of which are beyond the control of the family.

It is a shame that anyone can use the phrase ‘you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear’ in respect of any child, but most especially about those from less privileged backgrounds.

Fortunately, the world is full of inspirational young people proving the letter-writer very wrong indeed.

Kate Russell

Director of people and performance, Vale of Aylesbury Housing

EAST-WEST RAIL

It looks as though Network Rail has put the completion of the East West Rail Link back to 2019 so depriving Aylesbury and Winslow of improved travel links.

I cannot understand why Network Rail has done this citing the electrification as the reason, reading in a specialist magazine about the entire project the line was to be rebuilt and opened and then two years later electrified.

The priority was to open the line to Milton Keynes as a follow on to Bicester Oxford.

The latter is in progress the work teams will be ready but because of interference by government they will disperse only to be reconstituted at greater expense at a later date.

The line would be used by diesel hauled freight trains as they are the majority with diesel passenger trains as well.

When the electrification takes place it will be part of the electric spine stretching from Southampton to the north of England ,the section to Bedford would connect into the Midland Main Line which is to be electrified.

Maybe then electric locomotives would haul the freight but there is a shortage of suitable locomotives available to our loading gauge and the freight companies favour diesel .

Container traffic from Southampton is increasing daily and rail is taking a larger share daily,travelling via the new link will cut times and costs and help the environment.

Many works are taking place further south to enable freight to move without hindering passengers all these will be in vain if the rest of the link is not built now.

The connection to the WCML at Bletchley will also provide routes for cross country services and new regional routes these need to be in place quickly not held up by mandarins in the DFT who have no real interest in our region and train services here .

Christopher Lowe

Address supplied

CULTURE APPEAL

Copy of a letter sent to Martin Tett leader of Bucks County Council

I was surprised to see your statement that you would like to see Aylesbury become a haven for culture vultures.

I am the Press and Publicity officer for Aylesbury Festival Choir and since the loss of the Civic Centre, we no longer have a satisfactory place in which to hold our concerts.

At present we use the Aylesbury Methodist Church which is warm and comfortable but is not of a size which allows us to use an orchestra of any size. Added to which the parking is far from satisfactory.

You may not be aware of the fact that Aylesbury Festival Choir (AFC) was privileged to give the first concert held in the now defunct Civic Centre and for 
many years we held the ‘Carols for All’ concert which was always well attended and was a popular feature of the Christmas }
season.

When the new theatre was proposed, many local groups were led to believe that there would be a smaller theatre, seating around 400, included in the project.

What we have now is a theatre which is too large for small groups to use as well as being well beyond our means.

If you want to see Aylesbury become a haven for culture vultures, then you have part of the answer right there you could use some of the empty buildings in the town centre to provide a small theatre/concert hall for the amateur groups in community.

Mrs Jean Tuer

Press and publicity officer for Aylesbury Festival Choir

TRANSPORT CONTINUITY MISSING

What are we to make of the news that Mrs Janet Blake has been moved after only ten months in post as Cabinet Member for Transport at Bucks County Council. (BH April 2)

In the past six years there have been six Secretaries of State for Transport at Westminster and in four years we will have had four cabinet members for transport in Bucks.

It takes at least five years to train a highway engineer to professionally qualified status and many years, and more, for a major highway improvement scheme to be planned, designed and brought to the start of construction.

What hope is there of producing any coherent plan for the maintenance and improvement of the local highway network when the people nominally in charge are moved more frequently than football managers?

Our local highways are a vital asset and we need to be certain that there is someone in overall charge who knows what they are doing.

For example, has anyone looked recently at the A418 between Aylesbury ring road and Bierton and seen that it is worn out? Continual patching is a waste of time and money.

It is hard to see what benefits the introduction of Cabinet government has produced in local authorities.

Under the former committee system there was a substantial element of continuity and accumulated experience among the elected members. That appears to have gone.

O J Oliver

Campion Close, Aylesbury

PET PEEVE

I live on a narrowboat and I cruise the length of the Grand Union on a regular basis.

Usually the towpath is a scenic, idyllic place that is also the sole access to my home.

Can you imagine my disgust when mooring on the stretch when there is an abundance of dog poo littering the towpath?

I am given to understand that dog owners are responsible not only for what they feed their pets but also what comes out of the blunt end of said animal.

In fact it is implicit in dog ownership that you have to walk, feed and clean up after your dog.

Clearly some dog walkers are failing on this score.

While I am aware that there is a fine for dog fouling clearly none of the dog walkers around here pay it any heed, probably because there is no way to really police it.

So I will take it upon myself to police this befouling of my path and I say to these lazy, inconsiderate dog owners – if I see you leaving your dog poo on the towpath again I will make you remove it!

Wayne Miller

Address supplied

THANKS

I am writing to thank you and your readers for the support you’ve shown for South East British Heart Foundation (BHF) shops Spring Clear Out.

To mark the start of spring, BHF shops recreated Van Gogh’s iconic tulips image from donated stock to encourage locals to think about having a clear out. Using a quarter of a tonne of donated items, the creation measured 20m x 20m and included everything from clothes, shoes and books to toasters, rugs and even some sofas!

South East BHF shops are encouraging people to de-clutter their home this spring and donate all their unwanted things using its free collection service. Whether you’ve got a few bags of clothes or a full three piece suite, South East BHF shops will pick up everything for free. From defibrillators to heart support groups, your donated items will help raise vital funds to fight heart disease in South East.

Spring is the perfect time to refresh your home so why not take advantage and book a free collection today? For larger furniture and electrical items, book online at: bhf.org.uk/free or call 0800 915 3000 to arrange a collection for any items. Every penny of profit raised from your unwanted items will help fund life-saving research.

Angie Vidler

Regional manager for BHF

 

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