A correspondent who says abolishing the banns of marriage will make life ‘politically correct and boring’ features in this week’s letter page.
Banning the banns
I was very surprised when I read that the Church of England want to abolish the 800-year tradition of reading our the banns of marriage.
When my two daughters were married, friends and relations went to the church to hear them, and it was a good build up to their special day.
It is also an opportunity for lapsed, and non-church goers to be enticed into the church.
If we relinquish all these long standing traditions, it will make life very bland, politically correct and boring.
Name and address supplied
It won’t work!
When I was a boy, my friends and I would stand on the little footbridge over the railway line just outside Winslow and wait until the trains went by underneath and blew steam all over us (yes this was some time ago).
Then we would go to the end of the bridge and watch while the stream of completely empty passenger carriages chugged past us.
Great fun as it was though, watching the trains, the railway line through Winslow closed in the 1960s because even then nobody wanted to use it.
Bear in mind, that was at a time when only one household in ten had a car, not the two or even three cars that are the norm today.
So can somebody please explain to me why, in the 21st century, anybody living in the villages and working in Milton Keynes for instance, would choose to forgo being able to get into their car and drive directly to work, for the dubious privilege of somehow first getting into Winslow, standing on a draughty station, waiting for a train which will then dump them at either Bletchley, Milton Keynes, or Bow Brickhill stations, then having to get a bus to complete their journey to work.
At a time when funds for upgrading or even maintaining existing railway lines are under pressure, has anybody, anywhere actually done any market research on this? This service may be of limited use to a very small number of people, but for the vast number of commuters living in this area it will be a complete irrelevance and they will still be driving their cars to work.
Christopher Lowe in his letter last week is completely wrong, this railway line is not the answer to our problems.
Re-opening the East-West link is a nostalgia trip and will do absolutely nothing to alleviate the horrendous traffic problems which this rural area now faces.
If somebody, somewhere has a quarter of a billion pounds to invest in transport infrastructure, what this area desperately needs is a modern, regular, economic, reliable bus service, which will collect people from where they live and deliver them to their place of work, not a return to an outdated transport model which, while I and many others remember it with some affection, simply didn’t work then and won’t work now!
Name and address supplied
HS2 is a lifeline
Your faming correspondent Heather Jan Brunt makes a good point this week about the effect of HS2 construction on the farming land stock and prices.
However, this is a two-edged sword.
Let’s be clear that the HS2 compensation, like other developments, is actually going to be a lifeline to farmers whose land is directly affected and really struggle to survive on the low farm incomes.
No one dare admit it of course.
D R S Frazer
Russet Street, Berryfields
Contact a Family - the only UK charity that supports families with disabled children whatever their disability - is delighted the Chancellor George Osborne decided to scrap cuts to tax credits in his spending review this autumn.
This is great news for around 150,000 working families with disabled children who were likely to be affected by this and rely on tax credits to pay for basics like food and heating.
However, other cuts to the benefits that the government announced last summer will still go ahead and means many families with disabled children could still find themselves worse off in the longer term when Universal Credit eventually replaces tax credits.
More than half of families with disabled children told us they are worried about Universal Credit and a further 40 per cent don’t know how the change to Universal Credit would affect their family.
We want to reduce any worry and confusion about benefit changes and make sure local families with disabled children get what they are entitled to.
Our team of expert benefit advisors are able to offer detailed, one to one financial advice to parent carers as well as a comprehensive benefits ‘check up’, to help families who might be missing out on vital income.
If you are a parent of a disabled child and are worried about changes to benefits please call our free Helpline 0808 808 3555.
Last year, Contact a Family helped parents gain more than a million pounds in unclaimed benefits.
Don’t be caught out by benefit changes.
Head of Policy at Contact a Family
We love Tring!
We would like to send a massive heartfelt ‘Thank You’ to everyone in Tring for coming along to enjoy the Tring Together Christmas Festival on Friday night.
People turned out in their thousands to start their Christmas shopping, to applaud the entertainment on the Akeman Stage, to see Santa in the Victoria Hall, to visit the warm & friendly churches and to even sing their first carols of the year.
Many thanks to the businesses who paid for the behind-the-scenes costs, lent us equipment or decorated their shop windows so beautifully.
Thank you to Tring Town Council, Dacorum Borough Council and Herts Country Council for their help and encouragement; and a special thank you to the over 100 volunteers who manned the car parks, picked up rubbish until midnight and just smiled a lot at our visitors.
We love Tring!
Steffi Buse, Vivianne Child and Ben Cartwright from Tring Together
Bursting at seams
RE: Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan – consultation.
The summary leaflet provided at the recent exhibition at Friars Square, Aylesbury, refers to ‘estimated requirements of 31,000 homes’.
We have to assume this is a reasonable estimate based on a detailed study of available evidence from numerous sources.
Clearly it is not an exact figure, so it is difficult to compare options which only vary from it by a few hundred.
Also, there is flexibility about the intensity of development according to location, whether urban or rural.
Reference is made to the National Planning Policy Framework.
A key statement in that document is that ‘regard must be had for the need for strategic infrastructure’.
The scale of development envisaged will have a substantial impact on the highway network, the need for employment and the provision of services.
Liason with the Highways Authority is one of the first essentials, therefore.
Also, Aylesbury Vale has boundaries with districts in adjoining counties and must liase with them too, especially where urban areas are near the boundary.
Only Milton Keynes is mentioned.
It has rightly been said that promotion of economic growth and improvement to the quality of life require the maintenance of high-quality and reslilient infrastructure, including energy, transport, water, drainage and other services, both public and personal.
The district council lack in-house engineering advice and needs to obtain input from all the appropriate authorities who deal with these other functions.
This should be clearly stated in the Local Plan.
For too long we have watched developments proceeding and the provision of infrastructure trailing behind.
The town of Aylesbury is bursting at the seams.
It must be done better.
Campion Close, Aylesbury
Earlier this year the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) warned of a crisis looming in health services set to affect the vital services provided to patients in this area.
Nurses recruited from outside the European Economic Area since 2011 faced being removed from the country if they were not earning at least £35,000 after six years as part of changes to immigration laws.
As well as wasting thousands in recruitment costs, the changes posed real workforce challenges for many healthcare providers already struggling to fill vacancies.
Common sense has now prevailed.
The government has announced that nursing will be placed on the list of professions exempt from this rule – a victory for nurses and more importantly patients.
But this change of stance is only temporary, and while it will help in recruiting nurses and alleviate staff shortages in the short-term, we need to look further ahead.
The RCN wants this common sense approach extended to the training and retaining of more nurses in the longer term.
The government must significantly increase student nurse training places so our patients are no longer at the mercy of global workforce trends.