READERS LETTERS: As seen in Wokingham.Today of July 22, 2021

The Wokingham branch of Waterstones

Thank you, whoever you are

I write to thank an unknown lady for her act of generous and anonymous kindness.

In Waterstones, Friday July 9, I was about to make a purchase when the bookseller presented me with an expensive and splendid book that I had reserved, but which
had already been paid for by another.

Attached to the book was this note from the bookseller: “7/7 Mr. Freeman came in to check the date of a reservation. After he left, the next customer, a Scottish lady with a baby in a pram, bought several books and also said she would like to pay for ‘the gentleman’s book’. I asked if she would like to leave a name. ‘No, I just want the gentleman to get a nice surprise next time he comes in’.”

I did get that ‘nice surprise’.

Indeed, I was absolutely taken aback. I had had a dismal week: your act of pure kindness transformed everything. I was, and am still, elated.

Thank you, whoever you are, for your thoughtful act of pure generosity. You are a beautiful inspiration. I wish you and your child the very best in life.

Thank you for reminding me that acts of kindness can help to change the world.

Michael Freeman, Wokingham

Sympathy needed

I was saddened to read that our twin town, Erftstadt, has been devastated by floods.

We don’t need a virtue-signalling fund-raising effort – Germany is a wealthy country that will probably cope much better than we could with this tragedy.

What we should do is register our sympathy and support for those who have been affected. Perhaps Wokingham Council should set up a website to enable local residents to show their sympathy.

Michael Storey, Wokingham

Time to fight racism

Racism has no place here

There is too much of it in this country against blacks, jews and muslims.

Parliament should stamp it out – and police officers that are racist.

The country will never be united until this continues.

It should start with these football people that go to matches. Stop them drinking only allow water.

The police must get out of their cars and mix with all the communities.

Otherwise the devils will win.

After many years of different MPs in parliament also in my own area of Bracknell the MPs seem to get worse and vote for the cut of aid to the Commonwealth and countries  that suffer with extreme poverty and children and their parents will be dying more now.

It would not surprise me if my MP voted for the cut. He seems to turn his back on things that matter to people.

Victor Rones, Bracknell

Bumbling Boris strikes again

Boris is at it again, bumbling through the pandemic.

He at least got one thing correct: covid-19 vaccinations at longer periods for two jabs.

Now, true to form, we are back to taking chances and ‘reverse’ presentation.

Old people will be going through crazy risks to their lives.

We are assumed old people will be ‘looked after’.

Young people will go out spreading the virus, may old ‘uns will get coronavirus.

A recent report showed three people all had both vaccine injections and got the virus at a ‘trial’ large crowd event. There must surely be others.

How can anyone make sense of 100,000 cases against the need to jettison restrictions? It’s a nonsense.

The more cases in the world, the more likely we are to see a virus that beats the vaccines.

I do not like the idea of Boris and his motley right-wing crew playing Russian roulette with our lives.

I am fed up with upside down politics.

Name and address supplied

Scooting around the issue

According to today’s Times (14 July) the Met have seized 2,000 illegally used e-scooters this year – about 10 every day – in London, where their use on-road in some boroughs is actually legal.

A friend has re-posted a Facebook message from police in Lincolnshire, where they seize privately owned scooters used on the road, and prosecute those using them.

I’d be interested to know how many illegally-used e-scooters have been seized by Thames Valley Police, as their use in the TVP area, anywhere other than on private land, is illegal throughout most of their patch.

Their use on the streets and pavements of Wokingham seems to be rampant. While driving carefully, I have only avoided collisions with several of them by the skin, not of their teeth, but of their knees and elbows.

Name and address supplied

MyJourney is a gem

Is this the Jewel in the Council’s Crown?

I don’t think that the uptake of family cycling over the last year or so is by mistake.

I get sent WBC’s My Journey Newsletters and they seem to have an activity or tuition scheme for all ages and competence levels.

I have often bumped into the My Journey roadshows at local community events which are always informative and show families how to get out into the fresh air and enjoy themselves.

I have seen toddlers on their balance bikes (I didn’t know you could move so fast without pedals) and a retired chap in my road says he has been on one of their courses as well. 

They seem to have something for all ages.

I see they continually run programmes with schools in promoting safe cycling which can only be for the benefit of all road users.

Praise where praise is definitely due.

David Arnold, Finchampstead

Housing numbers


In the leader of the council’s report titled “Towards the Local Plan” (Wokingham Today, July 15), he mentioned the situation that occurred in neighbouring South Oxfordshire. Typically what he included was only part of what happened.

During  2018/19 the then ruling Conservatives accepted a higher number of homes in South Oxfordshire than had been originally proposed in the then draft local plan.

During the elections for May 2019, the local South Oxfordshire Liberal Democrats campaigned to get the number of homes reduced to the original number.

As a result the Liberal Democrats won a significant number of seats to enable them to be in control South Oxfordshire Council.

This result clearly showed that the local residents in South Oxfordshire did not want the increased number of homes that the now defeated local Tories had been proposing.

When South Oxfordshire Council tried to implement these previously agreed local plan figures, the defeated local Tories went to their Conservative mates at Parliament and complained.

The result was that the Tory Government forced South Oxfordshire Council to take the higher figure that had been rejected by the local residents. 

There was an alternative local plan, but the Tory Government decided to overrule it.

What the leader of the council is saying, and supporting in essence, is that if anyone in Wokingham borough campaigns for a lower number of homes in the current local plan up to 2036 than the current 800+/- homes per annum, and should happen to win, then his Conservative mates in Parliament will insist that the current figures are adhered to. 

Hardly local democracy, more like “You will do as you are told”.

This clearly proves beyond doubt that the comment in my earlier article (Wokingham Today June 24 page 23)  that we can “EXPECT HOMES TO BE DUMPED NEAR YOU” was accurate.

Cllr Lindsay Ferris, Leader of
the Liberal Democrats on
Wokingham Borough Council

School places in Arborfield

Have Wokingham’s Conservatives handed over the keys of the asylum to the inmates? The more I see their recent actions the more it looks that way. They have a laudable Climate Emergency Programme managed by a most able executive member but it looks as if all his good intentions are scuppered by others in this Conservative run administration.

Houses and polluted roads take preference over Climate Emergency in planning as the secret brutal approval to hack down about 500 very mature trees by Bearwood Lakes without even one whip planted to compensate is a classic.

The leader preaches dangers of not having a housing plan but he omits to add not a one is planned in his ward Remenham or in the executive member for Hurst’s ward.

Their cunning plan was for 14,000+ in Grazeley (next to a nuclear facility) and when that fell through his master plan is to move 4,500+ houses to the flood banks of the Loddon River stretching from Arborfield to Winnersh.

The plan is in denial in that the houses will be at risk  to the flooding implications of Bearwood Lakes Dam (which is a Category A Dam where a breach will result in considerable loss of life). Still better to put lives at risk here than build anything in Remenham or Hurst. The recent sad flooding in Germany and other parts of  Europe with loss of life is a Climate Emergency lesson we all need to learn. 

The final piece of their complete incompetence must be the new primary school built at Arborfield Garrison to accommodate the children of the 3,500 houses being built there.

I have had scores of emails from new families who moved on to the garrison intending to send their children to a school in walking distance of their homes. Yet when they applied they have advised that the Garrison is not the catchment for children living in the garrison (all within walking distance of their new school)  as the council has moved Farley Hill Primary School lock stock and barrel to the new school so there is no place for any local children living in the garrison.

Five garrison residents living by the new school have been denied places but they have given places at Bearwood, Finchampstead and the Coombes with one electing to go private.

How mad is that especially when every child who currently goes to Farley Hill will have the additional car journeys to the new school on the garrison. How many others have been refused I wonder?

In addition to the extra traffic the decision has caused and hours of wasted travel time, one resident calculated the additional mileage caused by this decision for just five people was 10,000 additional car miles for every year of primary school. 

I don’t know what that equates to in carbon dioxide but it seems crazy given the reduction initiatives. What about the impact of the other children who are refused and the all the pupils and staff from Farley Hill School will contribute to extra emissions.

The Conservatives are keeping very quiet about the redundant Farley Hill School but if I were a betting man I expect houses to come there. The Conservatives never miss an opportunity to trouser some dosh even at the expense to our children’s education.

Worse still they plan a special needs school by the M4 on a busy road in Winnersh where the children will be subject to pollution 24/7 when an excellent rural environment was available at the redundant Farley Hill.

When Wokingham’s Conservatives see trousering a few quid having  priority  over children’s education while Climate Emergency plays second fiddle to hacking down trees, building houses and polluting communities the future is bleak. Unless you live in Nirvana in Remenham and Hurst where nothing nasty will come your way. 

Watch out everywhere else, for a Housing Estate coming your way.  

Cllr Gary Cowan. Independent Borough Councillor for Arborfield at Wokingham Borough Council 

Know your guinea pigs

Eighty years ago in July 1941, a group of young men who had sustained severe burns in aircraft crashes during the Second World War came together to form The Guinea Pig Club.

They took this name in honour of the ground-breaking techniques of pioneering plastic surgeon, Sir Archibald McIndoe.

Upon leaving hospital following their lengthy treatments, members established new careers, married and raised families, challenging the opinions of those who questioned their abilities. These young men quickly became a beacon of hope and their perseverance and tenacity continues to inspire burns survivors today.

The RAF Benevolent Fund is proud to have supported The Guinea Pig Club since its formation 80 years ago and has provided assistance to many of its members over the years.

However, just six members of the Guinea Pig Club remain, so the Fund is taking this important anniversary to highlight the inspiring story of the Guinea Pig Club to ensure its legacy lives on.

I urge your readers to pay tribute to those who served and sacrificed their lives during the Second World War by visiting rafbf.dedicationpage.org/gpc80 where they can share memories, photographs, and thanks.

Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot, Chief Executive of the RAF Benevolent Fund

We love to hear from you! Send us your views on issues relating to the borough (in 250 words or fewer) to letters@wokingham.today

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Views expressed in this section are not necessarily those of the paper.

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