Letters to the Editor

Quill and Ink Bottle

The Editor welcomes correspondence on any topic which has been in Wendover News or may be of interest to its readers.  Please write to us at Florence Nightingale Hospice Shop, First Floor, 19 High Street, Wendover HP22 6DX or email us at the usual address: editor@wendovernews.co.uk or telephone 01296 624270 or speak to us in the town.  

Letters may be edited and may or may not be published at the Editor's discretion. Material published does not necessarily represent the opinion of the Editor.

We'd love to hear from you.

HS2 Cometh

Ann Hayward, Wendover  |  Submitted: Apr 29th 2019
'HS2 cometh' your caption stated in the May (2019) edition. I visited the Colne Valley Nature Reserves Harvil Road, UB9 6JW on the weekend of 27/28th April to see what 'HS2 coming' really means and it was truly disturbing.

Please go and see for yourselves, it's only 20 minutes from Wendover.

The reserves are a 40 square mile site of special scientific interest being wet lands and woodlands. It is the 'lungs of London' and it is suffering due to the cancer of HS2.

Hillingdon Borough Council took the decision to 'engage' with HS2 to try and limit the damage done to the nature reserves, however, it is now clear that HS2 does not respect the engagement process.

It recently cut down 2000 trees leaving birds and bats disorientated and displaced, hedgehogs and other small mammals killed under contractor vehicles.
Rather than leave the fallen trees as cover for the wildlife and to allow overwintering bugs, insect, moths and butterflies to leave the tree bark, the trees were chipped into sawdust mountains. These hillocks of sawdust are clearly visible, see photos. A whole hillside has been cleared and more is to follow. (See photos in separate article at http://www.wendovernews.co.uk/news/hs2-cometh-ann-hayward).

HS2 did this because they knew no-one would stop them. There was no proper ecology/environment assessment, no ecologist on site at the time, no licences or permits in place and NO 'Notice to Proceed' and NO respect for Hillingdon's engagement process.

If Wendover believes that it will be afforded benefits by 'engaging with HS2' in order to lessen the destruction to our village and countryside please take another look at the photographs. They show utter brutal destruction of protected countryside - to a Council who engaged with them - Wendover and the Buckinghamshire countryside will experience the same.

I urge everyone to go on line to 'Save the Colne Valley nature reserves, West London, from HS2' and sign the petition.

Then perhaps we need to start a 'Save Wendover Village from HS2' petition?

Please feel free to use the photographs accordingly.

Is HS2 Justified?

Simon Icke, Aston Clinton  |  Submitted: Feb 27th 2019
Following the recent Channel 4 Despatches programme revealing the terrible state of existing rail services to and from Manchester especially at peak commute times, with old rolling stock and often only two carriages, people are packed into trains like sardines to and from their place of work or school. There is a desperate need for significant investment to improve existing rail links not just in and from Manchester but other NW & NE Cities of England; including increasing the number of carriages especially at peak commute times.

But where can we find the £millions required for these northern rail links and rolling stock? The answer is simple: by scrapping HS2. The estimated cost of this white elephant vanity project from London to Birmingham is spiralling out of control. It was originally costed at around £32 billion but now some forecasters say the final bill could be in excess of £100 billion, and what for?... a third line between Birmingham and London to arrive between 15 and 20 minutes earlier. And to add to the madness - HS2 Ltd are now looking "to slow the fast trains down to save money" (you couldn't make it up!). Originally the plan was to extend this 'High speed but slower speed' train to Manchester and Leeds, but there are increasing doubts now that this will ever happen.

Originally I am from Little Hulton, Salford, Manchester but mow live near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, and in February for the first time BBC Question Time was broadcast from Aylesbury. As HS2 is going to cut right through the beautiful countryside of Buckinghamshire, including the Chilterns, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, not to mention close by ancient towns like Wendover which just happens to be in David Lidington MPs constituency, (de facto Deputy to the PM), it was inevitable that a question would be asked about HS2; in view of spiralling costs and the devastating damage to the English countryside, many towns and villages, not to mention many people forced to sell their homes and farms to accommodate the HS2 route that they just happen to be in the path of. The Question Time Panelists and the audience were almost unanimous in agreeing that HS2 should be scrapped and the £billions saved should be spent on existing rail links to Northern Cities like Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Hull and Newcastle etc, not to mention other public services like the NHS and the Police, which are all desperate for extra money. The truth is we simply cannot afford to waste £billions of pounds on the HS2 white elephant, which is past its sell by date before even laying the first rails: "With modern Wi-fi connections and smart phone communications etc, arriving 15-20 minutes sooner than existing rail links is completely unnecessary."

This project is being driven by people with vested interests who stand to make personal fortunes as well as great riches for the companies that have been given lucrative contracts. It seems MPs from all parties haven't got the courage to stand up to these powerful lobbyists, as many MPs refuse to see the obvious and admit this madcap project should be scrapped before any more £billions are wasted. I encourage readers to write to their MPS and say we need to stop this HS2 madness now. We simply cannot afford it, especially when there is desperate need for extra money to be spent now on existing infrastructure.

How can this project continue to be justified (if it ever was)?

Saint George’s rant

SG, Wendover  |  Submitted: Sep 1st 2018
We do not have much say in what goes on in our own country these days (thanks to the ship of fools running it at every level), so when I noticed that the St George’s flags that symbolise England were replaced by Union Jacks before and after St George’s day, such that the St George flag only flew for a day (or so it appeared), I asked the question why and finding the answer I thought I can at least have a rant.

Apparently a foreign visitor complained in 2017 that the flag of St George was “RACIST”. It seems that in this increasingly Orwellian country foreigners have more rights than the indigenous population. I asked myself the question “where did this visitor come from?” Is there a racist aspect or was there a deeper reason such as religious (crusade?) behind this? Draw your own conclusions!

My message to any such visitor (or culture) is that if you do not like the culture of this country then you can always leave or is it “RACIST” to support one’s own culture! So much for multiculturalism and diversity. Nobody asked us for our views. Probably would have ignored them anyway.


Wilfred Newman, Wendover  |  Submitted: Aug 30th 2018
There is a cat – small, short-haired and in traditional tabby colours – that has been spending increasing amounts of time this summer in my garden shed and around my garden generally. I first saw it about three years ago, when I found it resting in my shed when I opened up one morning. It had obviously got in through a partly-open window at the back. Since then it has been an intermittent friendly visitor, but this year has become an almost permanent feature, always announcing its presence by coming up to me and miaowing, looking for a stroke, when I go into the garden for any reason, and happy to sit nearby when I do the quieter garden tasks.

It looks in good health, displaying normal strength and vitality and soft smooth fur, so it must have a good home – or source of food at least – somewhere. But it has no collar or other means of identification. I would dearly love to know more about it – such as its name and where it belongs. It seems to approach my garden from the direction of Nightingale Road. Because of the way it came to my notice I refer to it as Shedpuss, and have written the attached rhyme (http://www.wendovernews.co.uk/news/shedpuss) about it. Perhaps its “host” or “benefactor” is equally mystified about where it spends so much of its time, seemingly attached to me and my garden! If they read this letter in the Wendover News, perhaps they would like to get in touch.

Response to HS2 letter of 25 February 2018

David Lidington, Westminster  |  Submitted: Mar 2nd 2018
Dear Mr Smith,

Thank you for your email regarding HS2.

As I have consistently said over the last 8 years since the scheme was announced, I have enormous concerns about the project. I have profound doubts not only about its environmental impact, but also about the business case behind it. I fought as hard as I possibly could within the Government to present the case against HS2 and I also made sure that every argument put by my constituents was presented forcefully to the Prime Ministers, Transport Ministers and others, as well as in evidence which I gave to the Select Committees in both Houses of Parliament.

However, despite my personal feelings, HS2 is supported by the great majority of Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and SNP MPs and Peers. I know also from meetings with local councillors, businesses and trade union representatives that there is strong support for HS2 in cities like Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield.

I have supported plans for a Mined or Extended tunnel past Wendover since they were initially announced and have made direct representations both to the Prime Minister and the Transport Secretary in support of these proposals. As you may know, members of the Wendover Society and Wendover Parish Council recently met Sir John Randall, the Prime Minister’s Environmental Advisor, to make the case for the Mined Tunnel. I have recommended to him that he seriously consider the proposals, including the detailed engineering work that has been commissioned on these proposals and the potential cost savings that they represent.

I will continue to support the case that my constituents are making for the Mined Tunnel plan, as well as continuing to represent the interests of individual constituents and local communities with the impacts of HS2 throughout the next phases of the project as it moves on into design and construction. If you have any further questions about HS2 or any other matters, please do not hesitate to get in touch again.

Yours sincerely,

David Lidington
Member of Parliament for Aylesbury

Letter to David Lidington regarding HS2

Dale Smith, Wendover  |  Submitted: Feb 25th 2018
Dear Mr Lidington,

First of all I’d like to offer my belated congratulations on your appointment as Minister for the Cabinet Office.

It was a beautiful day today and I walked with my wife up to the end of Hogtrough Lane and took in the view across the valley. We pondered how awful it will be when this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is defiled by the elevated section of HS2 with trains thundering past 36 times each hour.

I realise that the government considers policy on HS2 to be settled but for me it is important to ask you to consider this once again before the AONB is irrevocably harmed. Clearly it would require political courage for policy to be reversed but it would be the right thing to do.

As you know there has never been a respectable business case for this very high speed train. If it is supposed to be for transporting people, who will be able to afford the premium fares that will be charged? Increasingly people use Skype and video conferencing to communicate remotely. Investment in superfast broadband would be better for the economy. If the plan is to move freight, is there really a need for moving it at 250mph? And won’t lorries be needed anyway to move it around the country?

Surely the government has other calls on upwards of £60 billion of capital investment (which will no doubt end up nearer £100bn) to invest in a range of other priorities such as:
• Transport infrastructure that needs replacing or improving such as around London where points and signalling often create problems for commuters and in poor performing areas such as southern rail.
• Train links where they are actually needed – joining up the northern cities and trans-Pennine links. Also in the north, investing in roads like the stretch of the A1 in Northumberland that is only one lane each way?
• Power generation capacity? Energy security? Power stations are to close and electric powered cars will need to replace many of the diesel and petrol vehicles to be banned from 2040. And can’t the government make a priority of enabling development of the technology needed to exploit wave power using the seas around these islands with a view to British companies exporting the technology across the world?
• Housing: where are the affordable starter houses for sale or rent in this area? Something must be wrong with the way the market operates. How is it that Germany apparently has a viable affordable, long term rental market? In defiance of policy in recent decades is more public spending needed to achieve this?
• Assets to protect our nation – such as a viable navy. We don’t have enough warships to fulfil our commitments to patrol in the Gulf region when a type 45 destroyer breaks down. We risk being a laughing stock with aircraft carriers lacking battle groups to protect them, without which they are sitting ducks.
• Fishery protection vessels to safeguard our fisheries post-Brexit and vessels to patrol our coast line to prevent drug and people smuggling.

There must be many other urgent priorities that as a minister you are aware of. Like many today I’d welcome some good news from the government, preferably creating something with long lasting benefits for our country. HS2 is not the answer to anything.

Please, Mr Lidington, please take another look at HS2: just cancel it. Don’t throw good money after bad. This was a political wheeze from the Gordon Brown administration: even Peter Mandelson said so in an FT article. If it goes ahead, please fund a fully bored tunnel through the AONB but better still just use the money where it can help this nation meet real needs.

Can you please use your influence to challenge this egregious waste of public money and cancel the project?

I’m also sending this letter to the editor of the Wendover News.

Yours sincerely

Dale Smith

War Gen

Jill Pearce, Wendover  |  Submitted: Dec 7th 2017
I have recently offered to support an organisation called War Gen, whose goal is to record interviews with people who served in World War II. These interviews can be audio visual or just audio and aim to capture and share these valuable memories and keep them available into the future.

Further information can be found at www.wargen.org/about

I am based near Aylesbury and can travel to meet with people in Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire, however there are other interviewers based in locations throughout the UK so we would always try to carry out an interview, whatever the location.

So, if you would like to share your memories, or know of someone else who would, please contact me via jill@brutonpearce.co.uk or 01296 624472.

Charging at Local Waste & Recycling Centres

M Watson, Weston Turville  |  Submitted: Jun 2nd 2017
Is it only me, or do other residents think that our esteemed county authority inhabits some strange parallel universe where those that do the right thing are continually found new obstructions and obstacles to continue whilst being held to ransom to pay for the misdeeds of others?

On this occasion, I’m thinking about the disposal and recycling of waste, which, try as we might to minimise, we all generate.

We all see, on a daily basis, roadside areas across the county being used as waste dumps. They’re easily marked out, they’re the ones with Area Under Surveillance signs ! (which appear to provide no discouragement at all)
I used to think these ‘facilities’ were only used by the lazy who, frankly, couldn’t be bothered to travel the little extra to the local civic amenity. Now I think they’re more likely to be those who are fed-up with the increasing number of barriers the authority puts in place to discourage residents from ‘doing the right thing’.

I highlight my own experience over the bank holiday weekend.

Like many folk I undertook some domestic hedge cutting, try as I might, I can’t find a way of stopping it growing. I dutifully cleared the cuttings into my trailer (of regulation size !) to dispose of at my local HWARC (Household Waste & Recycling Centre).

Long gone are the days when one could simply hitch-up & go, first priority is to go online, bare your soul and acquire a PERMIT. i.e. you need permission to use a facility that you already pay for.

All-important document in hand I arrived to be greeted by an employee who requested sight of said permit, who then advised that my trailer was loaded TOO HIGH, apparently 60cm is the maximum height of a loaded trailer nowadays. He graciously allowed me to tip whilst suggesting that I ‘don’t do it again’. Closely followed by his supervisor who, iPad in hand, scanned my permit and took me through the same chastisement.

I did try and explain that I thought this latest in a long line of ‘hurdles’ would only result in more fly-tipping and additional cost of clearing same. His look told me he agreed wholeheartedly but his words were more worrying: ‘make the most of it before the charging scheme starts’ - Is BCC REALLY even contemplating charging residents to dispose of their waste in the correct manner?

And we’re paying our Council Tax for what exactly? To stand back and watch the hedgerows & lay-bys fill?

By the way - The current workaround, apparently, for those of us determined to thwart our local council and ‘do the right thing’ = multiple trips, more fuel burnt & more pollution - but at least a clear conscience.

Sunday Motorcycle Maniacs

G McRay, Wendover  |  Submitted: May 23rd 2017
Every fine Sunday it starts, every year it gets worse, groups of motorcyclists on full race bikes 'do the circuit.'

The bypass is a mecca apparently and that is bad enough, but over more recent years the speeding has spread throughout Wendover from Aylesbury Road, The High Street, and South Street.

Contacting the Police brings the usual concern but little changes. Until there is a concerted and well planned attempt to catch these maniacs, nothing will change and many people's lives will remain terribly affected. An ex-Silverstone marshal friend has clocked these bikes doing in excess of 80mph in 30mph limits around Wendover. The possibility of a severe accident is a matter of when not if.

The sheer noise of these machines is quite frightening, and most have illegal exhaust systems, and non-regulation number plates and brakes, effectively making them uninsured vehicles.

I would call on all residents affected (must be most of Wendover) to contact the police before another summer is ruined by these selfish morons.

In Memoriam - Clarice Watson

Irene Morris, Wendover  |  Submitted: May 23rd 2017
Clarice Watson (aged 98)
Died on Friday, 12th May 2017 at Hampden Hall Care Home

Clarice moved to Wendover six years ago, to live near to her family. She had spent all her 92 years in her home town of Blackburn Lancashire and was reluctant, to say the least, to moving South. However, she made many friends during time here and remained independent and active until only the last couple of weeks of her life. Her family are grateful to all who helped and befriended her.
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