Letters round-up: Herald should clearly label personal opinions

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The Herald should clearly differentiate between personal opinions and party lines, according to the (personal) views of a senior UKIP member featured in this week’s letters pages.

PERSONAL OPINIONS

I am commenting on two stories run in today’s Bucks Herald (and presumably on your website) which mention UKIP.

Although I am a senior member of the Aylesbury UKIP branch committee, I am writing in a purely personal capacity, my views are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of UKIP.

This why I am using my personal email address and not my official UKIP one.

This is exactly what my issue with the two stories is – that they also concerned UKIP members but failed to mention that the views expressed were personal and gave the erroneous impression that the personal views were official Aylesbury UKIP’s.

The two stories were the ones headlined “Crimestoppers chief’s anger as police revoke his gun licence” and “Outrage as Tory councillor slams foodbank users in Twitter rant”.

I have no objection to factually correct statements, such as saying somebody is a UKIP councillor, but every single opinion attributed to such people should have said that they were personal opinions, not necessarily those of UKIP Aylesbury.

We in UKIP do not have a problem with people having personal opinions, indeed it is a cornerstone of UKIP that we are “allowed” to have our own views.

However, we object to you printing stories purporting to be from UKIP when it is just personal opinion.

On the other hand, there was a very serious official UKIP piece, in the form of a letter from the UKIP candidate standing for Westminster in our constituency in May ….. but you got his name wrong!

I’m sure you are aware really that he is Chris Adams, not the mysterious Chris Williams?

I feel sure that Chris would be delighted to give you official UKIP chapter and verse on the two stories mentioned above, maybe you should offer him an in-depth interview so you get the stories straight?

As a postscript, I do have a personal thought on the foodbank story.

It concerns the ongoing sorry situation with people getting themselves into silly and needless trouble while messing around with Twitter.

I’d say “just sit on your hands another time Mr Winn when you’re feeling bored, just take the TWIT out of Twitter!”

I’m sure Mr Winn, like all right minded people, is a decent human being and his tweet was just a bit of momentary madness – one that you’d expect a politician, of all people, to know better than to do!

Sue Hetherington

Wendover

BOXING DAY TICKETS

I am writing to you about my disgust on parking fines on my road.

I live on Weedon Road and there are strict parking enforcements that every resident tries their best to adhere to.

However on Boxing Day my mother’s car was ticketed at 8:51 am, along with roughly 10 other cars on the same strip.

Now whilst I completely understand that parking on a single yellow line is not acceptable during the stated hours myself and other residents weren’t clear on the bank holiday charges and think it is unacceptable to be issuing parking fines on Boxing Day at 8:51 am.

It is not a road that has any access to shopping and morally it is wrong.

There is already a shortage of parking on the road and over the Christmas period there are obviously more cars parked as everybody is off work and people are coming to visit, as my mother was.

I have written to Bucks CC about the parking and they simply replied with the out sourcing companies email address and they have refused to even consider the case.

Along with other neighbours we feel the whole principal about issuing tickets on not only Bank Holidays but on Boxing Day is wrong, especially at a time when the amount of money coming from parking fines has been n the press recently.

I am thinking of asking for all the details on the cost and money made from parking fines through the freedom of information.

Charlie Reed

Weedon Road, Aylesbury

LIDINGTON MISSES THE POINT

I must praise Mr Lidington, MP for his interest in the out of work in the Aylesbury area.

However some of his remarks, miss the point some what.

He points to there being some 700 people out of work in Aylesbury ( I being one of them) and that there are jobs for all that want them.

Now don’t get me wrong, someone offer me a full time job that covers my bills, rent and lets me save a bit and I’ll take it.

Having checked through this paper I have found only 27 advertisements for jobs, ( the rest I take it are online, great for those who can get online all day everyday) for which there was only one that I could apply for.

The rest wanting skills or own transport, that I do not have. Who can run their own car on £72 a week?

That one position was out of town and as I suspect it will be only paying the minimum wage, no salary was mentioned in the advertisement.

Bus fares are going to cut deep into any wages, let alone rent and other bills.

I also suspect that a majority of those out of work are in the over 50’s age group, employers want under 25’s and Mr Lidington speaks of having talked with the local schools and colleges, about bringing their pupils up to the standards required by employers.

Thus reinforcing my view about employers and the over 50’s - not wanted.

So I ask Mr Lidington to look again at that headline, “job’s for all” and see how he can get a perfectly good well trained and capable, willing older workforce back into work.

David Shaw

Aylesbury

POST HASTE

For some years I have pondered the veracity of Royal Mail’s published ‘Last Posting Dates for Christmas’ deadline dates.

This December I thought I would test the system to see if a letter mailed after such dates could actually arrive before Santa?

It was advertised Thursday 18th December was the final day for sending 2nd class mail.

Not really wanting to add to The Post Office’s Christmas mail efforts I posted 4 letters, 2nd class, to various address in HP20 + HP21 at 4pm from Aylesbury town centre on Monday 22nd December.

They had all arrived safely at their destinations the following day by 1.30pm.

Well in time for Christmas Eve, the next day and indeed for the aforementioned Santa!

Well done! Is this down to privatisation?

Perhaps next year I should cast my ‘Social Experiment’ net further afield by mailing from London or indeed abroad?

Tom D’Arcy

Hanover Court, Croft Road, Aylesbury

MICE ONE

Don’t know if anybody else saw this in this week’s Bucks Herald. Under Dinton Neighbourhood News to do with Carol singing around the town.

It is good to know that “mice pies” were enjoyed afterwards

Sue Weller

Via email

WATER HOWLER

In the latest issue of the paper there is a lovely drawing of the aqueduct that is to be built over Wendover Dean , oh dear is HS2 to become a canal instead of a railway?

Does anybody check what is put into your paper it’s a viaduct carrying a railway line. Aqueducts carry water as built by the Romans .

Christopher Lowe

Via email

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Regarding Tory Councillor Mark Winn’s recent remarks concerning Food Banks:

“See BBC are up to supporting Labour propaganda rubbish the people visiting food banks are those with drug, alcohol + mental health problems”

Having experienced various Foodbank centres, I hope, for his sake, he is never in a position where he may need to use them.

His statement that they are used solely by people with drug, alcohol and mental health problems is arrant rubbish. The majority of people that use food banks have been badly let down by Iain Duncan Smith’s various experiments, during his current tenure as Secretary of State for Welfare and Pensions.

The policy of sanctioning benefit claimants, often to achieve targets of reducing their numbers, has been ill-advised and catastrophically implemented.

The farce that was the sub-contracting of ATOS to assess claimants as fit-for-work resulted in thousands of people having benefits stopped without warning, often against the advice of medical professionals.

As a Tory councillor, Winn’s remarks really need to be better-researched and properly thought out.

As it stands, his comments mark him out as someone with a tenuous grasp of the reality of this tragic situation so many people now find themselves in.

I hope his subsequent utterances are better-rooted in fact.

Philip Blunt

Address supplied

SEE FOR YOURSELF

Regarding councillor Winn’s remarks on Social media concerning foodbanks, and I know a lot has been said from various quarters. But I Felt I had to write in.

It is good that he has apologised but more so he plans to visit a foodbank to see for himself.

I guess the lesson learnt is when in a position of “represent” the people it is good to be able to speak from a place of understanding.

I hope that by visiting Cllr Winn can see with his own eyes the impact the foodbank has and much more.

It is grassroots (mainly volunteer) driven projects that drive foodbanks and such projects that are at the forefront trying to help make a difference, mainly carried out with no funding (believe me I know this first hand).

Funding is being cut to these groups and speaking bluntly - funding is hard to access at times and can be time consuming for hard pressed volunteers, who very often rely on help and donations where they can and in running these projects are addressing the very needs that is often just talked about, 
debated about on the political scenes.

We don’t want showman politics ......I believe in roll up your sleeves approach and help.

If you want to see change you have to play your part in that change, which is precisely what those running such projects are doing -making a difference and changing someone’s day just by providing and helping in some small way.

I have seen and experienced first hand how these projects are manned by people from their local communities, people who are committed kind and are trying to make a difference to someone’s day.

These foodbank projects don’t just “provide food” they are a connecting force for their local community, offering kindness and somewhere to access help if need be As one person said to me - “The Food is great” but its sitting and talking with people that means a lot - I have been on my own for days !

I would also like to add here, as a local charity volunteer that runs free breakfasts and community roasts for all members of the community, there is a sense of community and a real family vibe that is felt at the projects.

Many years ago my family relied on the “goodwill” of neighbours and I have also in later years run “Cupboard Of Plenty” projects so feel I have an understanding and see the huge difference it can make to an individual and indeed a families.

I know of many individuals and groups in Aylesbury that seek and help their local community in such amazing ways.They deserve our thanks on so many levels..... I hope that it is not a one off visit by Councillor Winn.

As we are holding a free community breakfast on 17th February - he is very welcome there too.

I hope that all this “reaction will indeed make us all including myself even more proactive in our communities and streets.

Shoshana Willetts

Mother of and charity 
volunteer

WHITE ELEPHANT

My suggestion last year that the redundant travel information kiosk by the bus station be filled with tropical fish clearly did not appeal to the council, perhaps due to the lack of water judging by the equally redundant water feature in Kingsbury.

The kiosk cost £750,000, yes £750,000 (per BH archive 3.3.2010). If Banksy could be persuaded to paint a white elephant on it, then maybe the kiosk could be sold with the proceeds going to Scannappeal.

Giles du Boulay

Malvern Road, Aylesbury

DEMOCRATIC FAILURE

It seems AVDC planning are operating like a communist regime: where local democracy means nothing!

On Friday 09 January the strategic planning committee passed the plans for 91 new houses in Aston Clinton by a majority of 5 to 4 :

Despite more than 300 letters of objection being sent to AVDC planning against plans to build 91 new houses on a green field site north of the narrow rural road Brook Street; locals know this road is already dangerous without adding hundreds of more vehicle moments every day.

Despite more than 100 people in attendance at the meeting mostly from the village of Aston Clinton with many articulate speeches explaining in detail why the people had valid reasons for objecting.

Despite many personal emails being sent to each of the committee members in advance of the meeting from people unable to attend, pleading with members to refuse the application.

All of this ignored once again like we have seen so many times previously in recent times despite the adverse impact on the village infrastructure, the quality of life for existing residents, encroachment on to green field agricultural and grazing land and not in keeping with existing local housing adversely changing the character of the village.

But the people of the Vale have a right to know more. For example do the people know that the council in their wisdom have come up with an arbitrary ruling to make sure local people have no say in the decision making of the strategic planning committee; they have decided the members who’s ward area is being discussed, cannot vote!

So our two district councillors on this committee Carole Paternoster and David Thompson who are supposed to represent the interest of the people of Aston Clinton were effectively silenced!

But in any case David Thompson who knew just how important this meeting was didn’t show up for the debate, but guess what even though he wouldn’t have been allowed a vote, the Chairman Michael Edmonds ( Cons) elected a substitute Susan Renshall ( Cons) and she was allowed to vote even though it seems she knew nothing about Aston Clinton and was replacing an Aston Clinton councillor who wasn’t allowed to vote!!...and no surprises for guessing that Cllr Renshall voted for the development to ensure the 5-4 majority.

If the two Aston Clinton councillors had have both turned up and voted then we presume the voting would have been 5-4 against the application...so questions must be asked was the outcome expected in advance with senior planners knowing how the vote would go and that they had the necessary five members to carry it through.

The case officer Seth Williams had already recommended the application be passed in advance of the meeting and made his views known in your newspaper effectively bouncing the committee into the desired result before any pretence of democratic debate had taken place.

During the meeting a senior planning officer continued to keep the pressure on members ‘to make sure they voted the right way’, by keep reminding them of the potential cost to the council if it went to appeal.

It seems the planners are running scared of powerful developers and speculators ready to take their cuts in big pots of gold ( in this case more than £30 million is at stake) and members are running scared of planners who it seems have got too big for their boots. Their powers and influence on such matters affecting tens of thousands of lives needs to be reigned in.

In a democracy it should be elected members representing the people making the decisions, in reality it seems the planning officers are in total control, meaning we have the tail wagging the dog!

Many Aston Clinton people are very unhappy at the way the meeting was conducted on Friday and the result that flew in the face of such strong and clear opposition from so many people.

In my opinion there is a need for urgent independent investigation as to what is going on at AVDC planning in the way the officers are operating and certain members voting record should be examined not just on this application but on previous applications especially where there is such clear and strong opposition.

Other villages must be warned that if they can get way with this in Aston Clinton they can do what they like where they like when they like in your village if opportunist developers decide they would like to build on a few of your green field sites. So please wake up people and smell the coffee and remember that all AVDC councillors come up for re-election in four months time.

In the interest of public accountability it should be noted that the voting on Friday was:

For: Netta Glover (Cons) Wing, Susan Renshall ( Cons) Winslow, Michael Edmonds ( Cons) Long Crendon, Sue Polhill ( Cons) Quainton, Lew Monger ( Lib Democrat) Winslow.

Against : Avril Davies ( Lib Dem) Pitstone, Steven Lambert ( Lib Dem) Coldhabour, Brian Foster ( Cons) Haddenham, and Peter Cooper ( Independent) Wingrave.

Simon Icke

Aston Clinton Resident