This week’s letters - including a toast to Sandi Toksvig, the Watermead crematorium and praise for town centre Bowie event

sandi toksvig
sandi toksvig

Wartime tragedy

During the war of 1939 to 1945 there was a great deal of activity over the skies of the country, here in Bucks here were mishaps and at times deaths.

On September 25 1940 a land mine landed at Walton near Walton Pond and a man was killed.

On September 1 1941 ten high explosive and two incendry bombs landed at Lee Road, Southcourt, Aylesbury. A gas and water main were damaged and there was suspected damage to a sewar. There were three casualties.

On May 7 1941 high explosive bombs feel in a field close to the main Aylesbury-Bicester road, there was no loss of life but twenty trunk telephone lines went down.

In 1943 a Spitfire VB-AD 315 287 squadron crashed at Coombe Hill and the pilot was killed.

In 1944 a British plane crashed at Crong-Hill Leylands Farm Aston Clinton causing damage to 200 yards of hedge.

On February 28 of that year a British plane crashed at Cold Comfort Farm in Wendover, no reports were made on the status of the pilot.

That same year on January 10 a British Wellington Bomber crashed on Moat Farm, in Ford Village near Aylesbury causing a large amount of damage. Two crew members are known to have died, they were a 22-year-old rear gunner, a wireless opperator and a gunner aged 20.

An American liberator also crashed near College Road Aston Clinton, all the crew of ten are belived to have been killed. The plane was on a opperational flight, the crash site was near Mr Bates Orchard.

I suspect that some readers who, although of advanced age will remember where they were when one or some of these events took place. I feel that these events are quite a talking point and of interest to a great many people young and old.
Ena Elliott-Ashurst, Aylesbury

A toast to Toksvig

Whilst I am by no means an avid consumer of “entertainment” news, my attention was recently grabbed by an article regarding Sandi Toksvig.

After a lesser screen presence in recent years, Sandi is to return to our televisions as replacement for Stephen Fry in the much lauded “QI” programme.

I was particularly attracted by Sandi’s assertion that it would be “absurd” if she were paid a lower salary than Mr Fry for hosting the comedy quiz.

It seems scarcely possible that equal pay for women remains an issue in 2016 considering the passing of The Equal Pay Act 1970 and furthermore Part 5, chapter 3, of the Equality Act 2010.

Clearly it remains an issue and Sandi herself co-founded the Women’s Equality Party in 2015. The Party actively campaigns for equal pay for women.

In 2014 the TUC conducted research that identified Aylesbury Vale as a “brightspot for women working part-time”. This translates to a region where there is a lower 
Percentage of women paid less than the living wage. At the time of that study 25.6% of women were being underpaid. That seems a rather significant percentage in my eyes but, when compared to West Lancashire with a staggering 73.9%, appears less significant.

We must raise a glass to the likes of Sandi Toksvig whose public profile makes her well-positioned to raise awareness of the ongoing struggles for women in the workplace.

I, for one, shall certainly be popping a cork in her honour when she next appears on my screen.
Peter Finch - via email

Worst in Europe

If you cycle a significant distance you find yourself using the road network about 99% of the time and tend to forget that there are a few fragments of shared use path around the town.

They don’t go everywhere or join up and they are not built to a uniform standard.

At different times of day they are full of parents and children, dog walkers and people running with headphones, who have every right to be there.

Martin Dalby Way is new, wide and has a good surface at the moment, but if a cyclist attempts to join it from the A413 then there is no dropped kerb enabling them to get onto it from the roundabout.

The same is true of Pebble Way alongside the A418 to Stone. If one is on the road network, it is usually easier and quicker to just stay on the road than try to navigate the p
articular, often complicated access arrangements to a shared use path, which 
usually involve losing all momentum and then giving priority to other traffic at multiple crossings.

I am glad that Martin Dalby Way was built and it will be of great benefit to some users, but you can’t expect that all cyclists are going to use it as it doesn’t have convenient access at either end.

In general the Gemstone Cycle Routes are in decline due to neglect by Bucks 
County Council, which doesn’t make them so attractive to cyclists.

Buckinghamshire’s roads are in an appalling state, probably the worst in Europe, and that is a concern shared by cyclists and motorists.
Peter Robinson - Aylesbury

Watermead points

Your correspondent’s response to my previous letter re: the proposed crematorium on Watermead completely missed the point.

Of course planning issues of this type always bring out those who get up on their high horses and glibly pronounce that all the protestors are NIMBYs. But they of course are totally unaffected by the development.

If the proposed construction of a SECOND crematorium in Aylesbury on the beautiful Watermead site goes ahead then there will be sufficient cremating capacity for a large metropolis.

In reality if we do end up with two crematoria less than a mile apart then we would assume that one or the other would become non viable as a business model.

The other main issue of my letter was that there is an active court judgement pending to review all of the Watermead Parish Council’s objections.

I would therefore have assumed the continued construction work being carried out - they even had the gas supply rerouted last week - would surely amount to a contempt of court (?), a very serious matter indeed.

It all suggests they know something we don’t...
Reg Lucas - Watermead

Unitary debate I read the article on the proposed unitary debate, and thank my lucky stars I live outside the boundary of Aylesbury Vale although suspect my Council is equally as guilty.

I have four bones of contention:-

1. The first is I believe like many householders I find the Council Tax burden unacceptably high. It is so when I think of the services provided by the council, and even more when I think about those I use. How do I arrive at this conclusion?

I have relatives that live in different countries in the EU. I pay more Council tax in a single month to my Council, than any of my relatives pay to their Council for their tax for a whole 12 months.

The Council services my relatives receive are not dissimilar to mine, although they do have their rubbish collected far more frequently (every other day in the summer).

I am told those Councils in the EU do not have expensive management structures, or hundreds of staff, and are not sinking in bureaucracy or have bomb proof pensions or have state of the art large shiny offices as is the case in the UK.

2. There is a national debate about the high costs of housing. One of the reasons for this high cost is when
permission is applied to build a new housing estate, some council require a financial contribution from the big developers.

This ‘bung’ can typically come in the form of having a new school built on a no or low charge basis, (or council office ??)

The cost of building this new school being divided amongst the total number of houses which are to be built by the developer, and subsequently passed on when the property is purchased by a hard working family .

3. The waste by councils. Just look at what the 
Aylesbury Vale call “the sustainable transport system” currently being installed between Buckingham and Winslow.

By this I mean the cycle track. I dread to think of the costs. Nobody knows what the demand will be, yet it still goes ahead.

If you are making the journey by car to look at this white elephant – do watch out for the road which is riddled with potholes that there is no money to fix!

4. We are told that we are approaching an electrical energy crunch in this country. How many of these new 
houses being built have solar panels for hot water or electric being installed. Very few.

The costs of doing this 
during construction of a property are much less than a retro fit.

It should be a condition of Planning permission.
Name and address supplied

Town centre fun

I felt compelled to write in to say how much fun it was to see the David Bowie act in the town centre on Saturday.

It is so nice that little businesses are springing up in the town centre offering something different, and something like this just goes to prove it.

Lots of people had fun watching the David Bowie and the other acts during the day, and I think it shows that people would like to see more things like this in Aylesbury.

There are some good things for kids in the town centre, and sometimes some good music things too, but could it be a regular event for all to enjoy, because I think more and more people would come every week?

Thank you to everyone who arranged it, it was really fun. 
Thomas Driver -via email

House of Lords

The Hybrid Bill process has reached the stage of the 
House of Lords Select Committee hearing the cases of local residents, ie Petitioners, who feel they fit the criteria set by HS2 Ltd, that they are likely to be ‘directly and specially’ affected by the future construction and operation of HS2.

I live in Wendover, and have received a letter, dated 18 October 2016, addressed

‘Dear Petitioner’. I imagine other local residents who are Petitioners are in receipt of the same letter.

The letter’s author is Roger Hargreaves, Director of 
Hybrid Bill Delivery, HS2 Ltd.

In the letter, he advises Petitioners against making the case, as a solution to their personal concerns, for the HS2 line to pass through the Chilterns AONB in a fully bored tunnel.

I strongly believe this advice ambushes our right to participate in a democratic process, by means of which, we can demonstrate to their Lordships how a) we are 
directly and specially affected, and b) how we would like the issue to be dealt with, so as to allow us to continue living the peaceful and fulfilling lives we had, prior to the entry into our lives of the HS2 scheme.
Rose Chisholm - via email

Syria compassion

I am finding it increasingly more difficult to cut through the the fact and fiction regarding Syrian asylum seekers in our tabloid press.

I was happy to see the issue raised during cabinet on Monday and must say I’m extremely happy that Buckingham Vale and District Council has offered to start re-homing some of the children displaced by the dreadful war in Syria. It’s time our press showed some compassion towards these children, lots of whom are orphans as a result of reckless bombing by both the US, Russia and the UK. 647 civilians have now been killed, and with a ceasefire looking increasingly unlikely - this comes as welcome news amid a mire of awful daily revelations. It is deeply saddening that nearly one in four 
district authorities in the UK have refused to offer any help.

So well done Bucks County Council for offering some help.
Robert Shaw - Aylesbury

Dad’s legal battle

I was deeply moved by the plight of David Williams that has been reported on in this newspaper. 
To lose a child must be the worst thing in the world and is something that is the stuff of nightmares. To then have to go through all of the legal process aswell must make it one hundred times worse.
I hope that lost of people have put their hands in their pocket to help him out. 
Sandra Martin - Aylesbury
Editor’s note: If you would like to donate to David’s campaign you can go to