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From the Editor

FOLLOWING the announcement of the General Election and the start of campaigning, we would remind all readers that they should make clear any political affiliation/membership of a political party/public office eg councillor when writing Letters to the Editor, and that all letters are subject to editing. Thank you.

Head is ‘arrogant’

I WAS somewhat astonished to read part of the comments made by the headteacher of the Kingsbury Green Academy in your paper, 31st October. Last year the then John Bentley School invited the general public to make observations about the radical changes envisaged.

In his accompanying words to the recent school advertisement, Mr Tudor writes, “There were plenty of people who doubted our motives when we took the decision to re-invent our identity.

“I chose to ignore those people as offering nothing but negativity”. My comment to that is, “How arrogant”. Surely Mr Tudor is aware of the great 18th century philosopher Edmund Burke, who wrote passionately about the importance of tradition. An importance still relevant today. Was Mr Burke offering nothing but negativity?

It’s also worth remembering that if the Labour Party wins the forthcoming election, it is committed to abolishing academies and bringing schools back into local authority responsibility. Whatever happens, will Mr Tudor guarantee he’ll stay in Calne until the school becomes one of the top performing schools in the country?

Colin Hulley, Silverlands Park, Buxton

Lift would be better

RE THE plans for the bridge across Chippenham, I did not think the artists impression was very good but it looked very unnecessary and money could be better spent on the other side of the railway line.

Like having a lift to access the station instead of all those steps, old people like me have difficulty getting up them and people with pushchairs and children also find it a struggle.

Also the entrance to the car park could do with improving, I know the weighbridge is a listed building but it is a real eyesore and is likely to fall down at any time, if is listed it should be kept in good condition

R. Knight, Chippenham

Climate change key

LAST week you reported on the candidates already selected to contest some of the Wiltshire parliamentary constituencies. I hope over the coming weeks your paper will continue its tradition of giving good coverage to the various parties’ policies on issues that may well decide the outcome of the Dec 12 General Election.

For many of us the key issue at this election is going to be climate change.

I am a member of Calne’s Town Development and Planning Committee, and it is very frustrating that neither we, at the very local level, nor Wiltshire Council, have the power to require developers to make all new homes sustainable. This needs a change in Government policy.

The last Labour Government introduced regulation to make all new homes zero carbon by 2016, but these rules were scrapped by David Cameron.

Now Labour is promising to create a new ‘zero-carbon standard’ by 2022 to ensure that new homes do not add to greenhouse emissions. I shall be interested to see whether the Conservatives have now woken up to the climate emergency and put forward some ambitious policies to address this.

Councillor John Boaler (Labour), Calne Central Ward, Calne Town Council, Woodland Park, Calne

Look at big picture

AS WE move into a General Election and all the political fever that surrounds the process we should not lose sight of local issues that affect local people. Amongst these are Knife Crime and I find it reassuring that MPs are at last recognising the unquestionable link between youth knife crime and school exclusions.

Earlier this year Wiltshire police targeted a suspected spike in knife crime around the town of Trowbridge even though they were fully aware that success in apprehending culprits would be seen as a large rise in local crime. This was a courageous decision by senior Wiltshire police officers skilfully executed by those officers tackling the issue on the streets.

What readers may not be aware of is that I then asked the Local Education Authority for parallel figures in school exclusions in Trowbridge. Sure enough the Trowbridge school exclusions were three times the average in the County.

This not only gives helps to point to social issues that breed knife crime but also gives the authorities an opportunity and incentive to address these social issues.

Jonathon Seed, Candidate for Police & Crime Commissioner, Wiltshire & Swindon

Party on to help

FAMILIES across the UK are beginning to prepare for festive celebrations, but at Barnardo’s our focus is on helping and supporting vulnerable children who may be missing out on the joy of Christmas.

This could be because they are leaving care, have been victims of sexual abuse or have mental health issues. That’s why we’re launching our new Kidsmas campaign to put children at the heart of Christmas.

We’re asking people up and down the country to host a Kidsmas Party at home, school, work or with their local community groups to raise money for vulnerable children.

Our free Kidsmas Party packs include games and fun fundraising ideas to help make your gathering a memorable one.

I encourage everybody to get into the Kidsmas spirit this year by hosting a Kidsmas Party. Not only will you have fun, but you’ll also help make sure more children are happy, safe and cared for this Christmas. You can download or order your free pack at www.barnardos.org.uk/joinkidsmas

Sarah Crawley, Barnardo’s regional director

Homes here is wrong

OLIVER Rawle ( Letters, 31st Oct) is absolutely right when he says that the council need to provide space for building thousands of new homes, and indeed this is the real reason that they want to encircle Chippenham with Tarmac - so that they can fill in the enclosed space with housing.

The basis on which funding is applied for is to facilitate development, so Philip Whitehead’s comments about Chippenham’s traffic problems when trying to promote the road are somewhat deceptive, as it serves no purpose in alleviating existing congestion.

The fact of the matter is this - the road and the area it would access for development are largely river valley. It is completely the wrong place to be developing.

The world is now realising that we must do things differently from in the past to protect our environment and limit climate change, but this is just more of the same old way things have been done for decades. More development in the wrong place with only roads for transport.

Surely something more radical and forward thinking is needed. Build houses, yes, but in a less damaging location and with more transport options. I can think of several possibilities and am willing to discuss with any councillors who want a serious debate.

Regarding the existing cycleway - it would hardly be the pleasant place it is now if it were through the middle of buildings!

Martin Bovett, Lowden, Chippenham

Is this cost-cutting?

I WAS pleased to see in the Gazette, Wiltshire Council Leader Phillip Whitehead say that they were phasing the implementation of the new logo to reduce costs.

Is this the same Council that bought 55 brand new road gritters in one go! Were all the existing gritters broken down and beyond repair?

Surely they could have replaced them on a rolling basis say 11 a year so that none ended up over 5 years old. I guess that they spend most of the time parked in a depot waiting for the bad weather.

L.C. Lewis, Submitted by email

We must do more

RE the article Fewer Homeless on our Streets (Wiltshire Times 25th October), where are the team of staff connected with the Rough Sleepers Initiative, and the teams of support workers mentioned. The strategy is described as preventative, all I can say it appears to be failing. My information is that a lady who was homeless died on the streets of Trowbridge in the last week or so (not mentioned in the Wiltshire Times of November 1st)

These are people, not just statistics (apparently collected about a year ago). It seems they are generally being ignored by the authorities. Nothing, but nothing seems, for example, to be being planned this year to express the Christmas Spirit to them (e.g. a meal, or some social relief, like shelter to be be available in bad weather). An enquiry was made to Wiltshire Council at the beginning of November, but the answer by an official was that nothing was known

To me it is shameful, and in the case of the death recently, very sad. Some people might postulate, it is more than that, it is wicked. It is about time things changed, and quickly, or there will be much more suffering and mortal loss.

As I am disabled, physically I can do nothing, so I have decided to try and make some people aware with this letter.

Ian Rutter, Southwick

Repairs crumbling

I HAVE written the following to Wiltshire Cllr Bridget Wayman, after receiving a reply from her last year over my concerns about the resurfacing of West Ashton Road:

At the time of the proposed works & subsequently, I drew your attention to the perceived shortcomings in the proposed roadworks.

If you have driven along West Ashton Road recently, you cannot fail to notice the considerable number of undulations & cracks appearing in the road surface just eighteen months since the so-called repair works were undertaken.

What action are you taking to arrange rectification works to the failures & will this be undertaken by the original contractors Atkins at their expense & if so will you ensure that it is done properly & to proper, sustainable standard?

Remember, that this is public money that was spent on a substandard job & the evidence is all too apparent.

Philip Withers, Trowbridge

Ideas to beat jams

ON Friday October 25 between 7.45am-8.25am I was walking along Frome Road into town. Not realising it was half term I could not understand why there was so little traffic, in both directions, even when I got to the Town Bridge.

Every day of the week at 8.30am I wait to cross the road at the Market Street crossing while traffic crawls up and down that street. Pedestrians could help here by observing the flow of traffic rather than stepping straight off the crossing.

The traffic problem is being caused by the school run, a 4x4 carrying one child, and drivers unaware or afraid of using two lanes between the roundabout and The Swan Hotel.

Wiltshire Council should look to do more for commuters as there is never going to be a bypass and there is little sighn of a one-way system. There are several hundred houses being built on the outskirts of town on the Holt Road to add to the congestion.

Does County Hall and other large employers operate a flexi-hours system? Could not the secondary schools stagger their hours, which I understand are, currently, 9am-3pm? Perhaps a subsidised round-the-houses bus service between local towns would be of benefit? There I go again, dreaming.

When a council can ask drivers to stick to 20mph between Sainsburys and the station roundabout and then invite them to increase their speed to 30mph (there are road signs) through the town centre what hope have we got.

I would also like to inform our highways dept that I am fed up with trying to keep all four drains outside Abbey Mill clear of mud during the flooding season, which is now in full swing.

Pedestrians ask me ‘have you caught anything?’ while 4x4 drivers delight in giving me a good soaking.

Gareth Jones, Abbey Mill, Church Street, Bradford on Avon

Boris’ is a bad Deal

WHEN Boris Johnson made his Brexit Deal, it was not the same deal as Theresa May’s.

He decided to open the door to cutting the rights of ordinary workers, removing employment rights people now take for granted, making it easier to sack workers, work longer hours and then pay them less money.

Unfortunately that is not all, the door is also open to downgrading environmental protection, to allow his cronies to pollute our air and water supplies directly affecting our kids just to save the polluters money!

He then wanted to ram through his Deal in three days to stop MPs finding out exactly what he was trying to smuggle into law.

If in post-Brexit trade negotiations with the USA the NHS and its drugs are on the table, money we pay for US drugs could be much higher and doctors will not be allowed to prescribe cheaper drugs.

This is not Project Fear, unfortunately it is reality.

Andrew Milroy, Trowbridge

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