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  Letters may be edited and may or may not be published at the Editor's discretion.

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Response from the Parish Council about the New Year's Eve Celebrations

Wendover Parish Council,   |  Submitted: Jan 20th 2014
Many of you will have read the article on the front page of the January edition of Wendover News. We appreciate the tradition of the NYE celebration at the Clock Tower and would certainly not have felt the need to write the article if we had not received complaints and concerns over the safety of the previous year’s event. In a meeting with Thames Valley Police and AVDC, it was highlighted to the Parish Council that the New Year’s Eve Anti-Social Behaviour problem is worse in Wendover than in Aylesbury and seems to be increasing each year. AVDC pointed out that they would be acting to prevent fireworks being let off on and into the highway as this is illegal.

It has been suggested that the Parish Council or “Wendover Celebrates” should take the evening under their wings, but it is apparent that the logistics of having an event around the Clock Tower are challenging. A road closure for a couple of hours around midnight, (cost approx £3000) would possibly be the only way to make it safe, but this could be very unpopular with businesses trading on the night and people trying to reach friends and loved ones by midnight as it involves such an important road junction. If an event could logistically be organised around the Clock Tower, it would still not be lawful to set off fireworks on or into the public highway as has happened in recent years. If you have any practical ideas about how the Parish Council can help the community carry on with this tradition safely and lawfully we would be very pleased to hear from you.

New Year Celebrations

Gary Thorne, Wendover  |  Submitted: Jan 6th 2014
I am writing to comment on the New Years Eve Celebrations, which for many years in Wendover, have always been a wonderful celebration. Before fireworks took centre stage people used to congregate at the Clock Tower to sing 'Auld Lang Syne.’ More recently fireworks became more prominent.

Unfortunately, due to various concerns raised by 'some people’ reference the concept of what is occurring, this year, due to these outside pressures, the evening was a bit of a 'damp squib.’ We all fully appreciate the H & S regulations regarding 'safety of the individual’, but to date over the last 30yrs no-one has been hurt, to my knowledge, & 300+ people stood in the road normally calms traffic. The recent firework suppliers, allegedly, were put under pressure, affecting their business, not to supply them.

I fully appreciate that any Council has 'full duty of care’ for its residents therefore can never actively be seen to support any 'Meeting of People' that does not follow the due regulations.

With regard to the other issues raised previously, including street cleanliness, I feel quite disappointed as I know that there is always a section of the community, usually the White Swan, who will always attend & assist, funnily enough having got up at 6am these are not the ones who complain.

This is not an organised event, it just happens, and I like to think it is because we are a true community, supported by all residents. I only hope that through the next year the situation can be resolved & the people of Wendover can again celebrate New Year.

Bah Humbug!!

Mark Lawrance, Wendover  |  Submitted: Jan 2nd 2014
I was looking forward to reading the January issue of the Wendover News but immediately saw that the front page had been hi-jacked by the “Bah Humbug” brigade! Under the title “Happy New Year – New Year Celebrations”, our Parish Clerk had decided that the good people of Wendover actually needed a bit of a lecture on the personal risk involved of attending an unauthorised event at the Clock Tower on New Year’s Eve and the possibility of landing a personal fine of up to £5,000 if they decided to use fireworks.

Maybe the Parish Council’s “To Do” list has been scattered with Health & Safety issues during 2013 bearing in mind the litigious society we now live in or maybe Ebeneezer Scrooge has now become the Parish Council’s role model. Either way, I really despair! The Clock Tower celebrations on New Year’s Eve sit at the heart of the community and make Wendover the delightfully unique place that it is. Without this event, unofficial as it is, Wendover would be a poorer place and any organisation that goes out of its way to discourage people from attending by threatening them with words such as “completely at their own risk” should hang its head in shame. And even once we had been lectured on the risk of attending this event, we were then asked if we were prepared to volunteer for the clear-up. If that was the purpose of the article then why not ask us that in a way that is genuinely supportive of the enjoyment that this event provides for so many – I’m sure volunteers will come forward, after all, the people of Wendover genuinely care about their village and the traditions we have.

New Year's Eve

Michaela Bolt, Wendover  |  Submitted: Jan 2nd 2014
I am a Wendover resident and we moved here 6 years ago when our son was 3 months old. As he is still very young a big new year’s eve has seemed out of the question.

I have just read the latest Wendover News and seen all these warnings against people congregating around the clock tower on New Year’s Eve and I felt sad for two reasons: firstly because I had not known that people congregate around the clock tower on new years eve and secondly because you so clearly damn this activity! Would it not be more appropriate to facilitate this activity and make it safe rather than damn the people who wish to celebrate in their locality to being arrested or hurt???

There is “Wendover Celebrates” which has picked up momentum in the last couple of years. Why could this not be extended to New Year’s Eve???

I am a busy Mum who works full time in London, but I would be willing to offer some time if it would mean a family new year celebration in Wendover!

Dismay

Emily Jane Clark, Wendover  |  Submitted: Jan 2nd 2014
I have to inform you of my dismay.

Under the Large 'Happy New Year' banner in the January edition was ironically a rather killjoy and anti festive tirade about the New Year firework display at the clock tower.

The article notes that the event is 'unauthorised' and implies that if the Parish Council had their way, the event would be banned altogether.

Having lived in Wendover for almost 20 years, I find the firework festivities a wonderful opportunity for people of all ages to come together to celebrate new beginnings.

Of course there comes risk with fireworks, but I suggest that rather than quash the fun surrounding the event, the Parish Council could take the opportunity to use the gathering in a positive way?

Perhaps the event could be used as a platform to fundraise for Parish Council projects, such as the restoration of the Clock Tower, which I read in your last issue needs financial contribution.

I would be really grateful if you could publish my response in your next edition, or perhaps more suitably on your website, as I feel the issue is an important topic to be debated amongst the people of Wendover.

Costa Comments

Name and address supplied,   |  Submitted: Dec 31st 2013
Did anyone think that giving permission for Costa Coffee to come to Wendover would be beneficial to the community? Anyone living on the Aylesbury Road between the Clock Tower and St. Annes Close without a garage or secure parking space must be by now very frustrated with the lack of parking. Having to pay to keep your car in the communal car park because of the public need for coffee on the way through Wendover must be very aggravating at the end of the day, or indeed at anytime of the day. There is now more or less no parking for those residents, or for anybody wanting to come to Wendover and frequent the other businesses at this end of the town. It is transient traffic, they come and go fairly quickly, park in people's driveways, and none of their cash is spent anywhere else in Wendover.

Bins are left out nightly, apparently to be collected during the early hours, but not collected until after opening time and often left outside all day empty nor full! The collection of this rubbish frequently coincides with school buses and ensues in a great deal of congestion.

It is too late now for objections to Costa Coffee but perhaps this might serve to highlight the need for something to be done about the parking in this area of the Aylesbury Road so that we can encourage people to shop in Wendover and also help residents to be able to park near their homes.

Costa Reply

Paul Messenger, Director, Coffee Snobs Ltd,   |  Submitted: Dec 31st 2013
This letter has been referred to me as the Franchise Partner responsible for the operation of Costa Wendover. Firstly, I thank you for your comments and observations which have been duly noted. It is hard for me to comment on either the parking situation or where people spend their money within the village as I would suspect that this is more down to personal speculation than fact. Your comments in respect of the rubbish and bins however are something we can do something about. I would agree that from what you have said this is completely unacceptable both for the residents of Aylesbury Road and also for the appearance of our Store. As a result I can confirm that the matter will be addressed with immediate effect.

More Costa Comments

Brian Prior, Wendover  |  Submitted: Dec 31st 2013
Further to the letter on the above subject in the January edition by that most prolific of writers, " name and address supplied", I would like to make the following observations.
In my opinion ,the initial benefits of Costa are:- a modern, spacious, comfortable environment, superb coffee in many varieties, excellent toilet/washroom facilities, friendly staff and all foodstuffs stored and displayed in chilled cabinets. ( on 2 visits last summer, to an older High Street establishment, none of the cakes were in a chilled environment and one large cake was displayed in the open, not even under a "dome", on a serving trolley)

With relation to the "spending" of transient visitors not going to other Wendover establishments, I bow to the clairvoyance of the previous writer. Perhaps he/she might give me the winning numbers of a future lottery !!

Finally the comments about parking are not exclusive to the aforementioned area of Aylesbury Road. We suffer 5 days per week, from parked cars whose drivers are either too lazy or too "tight" to park in the station car park, when they commute to London.

John Colet Lends Some Sparkle

Andrea McEvoy, Sparkles Co-Chair, www.sparkles.org.uk, Wendover  |  Submitted: Dec 4th 2013
Dear Editor,

Sparkles is a small charity, run on a volunteer basis, which provides pre-school aged children who have Down's syndrome with weekly, specialist speech therapy. We have sessions in High Wycombe and Aylesbury and currently support 21 children from the surrounding areas. With this intensive therapy we give the children at Sparkles speech and language support when it matters; helping them to make themselves heard in the world, easing their path into childhood, communication with peers and ultimately into school.

Earlier this term I was contacted by Mrs Gould from John Colet School, Wendover. Mrs Gould informed me that Deputy Head Girl Amy Russell had brought Sparkles to the attention of the school council, who had voted to support us in their charitable Help Week, held in November.

I was invited in to the school to give assemblies about Sparkles. My 3 year old daughter Tara and I were given a warm welcome and the students listened carefully to my talk on what Sparkles does, why and how. Help Week was, by all accounts, an amazing week. Soak the teacher, cake bake competitions, talent shows, teacher versus student quizzes and a mufti day to name but a few of the events were brilliantly organised, executed and supported.

The combination of hard work and fun has resulted in a superb donation of £3052.62 from the John Colet School to Sparkles! This sum will go directly to pay for the speech therapy over the coming academic term.

On behalf of all the families involved with Sparkles, I would like to extend a huge thank you to all the staff, pupils and families of the John Colet school for their support.

Red Rose Garage to the Rescue

Sarah Greer, Wendover  |  Submitted: Nov 29th 2013
I would like to say a huge thank you to Red Rose Garage for rescuing my 1 year old daughter who I managed to lock in the car with our only set of keys. After exhausting other options I called Red Rose Garage (who had rescued me previously very quickly for a much less stressful dead battery) for advice on smashing my car window to get to my very distressed daughter. Within minutes they arrived at my house and tried so many ways to get her out as they felt that smashing the window should be the very last resort in terms of my daughter's safety. They soon realised that as the car was deadlocked this was impossible without accessing the electrics. To cut a long story short, while one man went to sort out overriding the electrics, the other managed to open the driver's door enough to use some cable to hook out the keys from under my daughter's back seat. It had to be seen to be believed. I was beyond impressed at how much they cared about 1. not distressing my daughter and 2. not damaging my car (which at the time didn't concern me in the least!). What is more, they flatly refused to accept the cash I offered them for rescuing my most precious daughter. This is a company that truly cares about its customers and goes way above and beyond the call of duty. I can't thank them enough.

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