LAST week’s collection of articles on page 8 (‘Donate Food, not money’; ‘Homeless Charity says help at hand for rough sleepers’; ‘Council slammed over disabled veteran’) is a good illustration of the complexity that surrounds helping homeless people.

The council, the police, voluntary and church organisations provide a range of help and support for those who are vulnerable and in need – from emergency food, accommodation, a drop in centre, clean clothes, and support and advice to help people get back on their feet.

With homelessness now rising throughout the country, more people are ending up on the streets.

The council does its best to meet their statutory obligation with less money and a growing need; charities provide help over and above that, thanks to the generosity and sympathy of the public.

But many of those who end up on the streets may have health, addiction or behavioural problems that require services to work more closely together to solve individual issues.

As a result of one recent local initiative, four people who were on the streets in Salisbury now have somewhere they can call home.

Your readers can be assured that charities like Alabaré, that have a good track record of transforming lives of the most vulnerable in our society, will continue to help those in need and press for improvements in the system, for as long as the public support us.

Andrew Lord, CEO at Alabaré

Overseas aid

REFERENCE Paul Sample’s response to John Glen’s letter. You can always rely on the Lib Dems response or non response!

Whilst I do not entirely agree with John Glen’s points of view, one has to realise that there just isn’t a bottomless pit of money.

What money there is has to be divided among many differing and competing areas.

Perhaps if we stopped charity overseas (supported by the Lib Dems) and used it for home consumption we might be able to give more to the NHS.

Perhaps if money was ring fenced people would be prepared to give more via taxes, but when we see our money being used to fund management instead of the sharp end then it becomes unacceptable.

Why don’t you Paul Sample tell us where it should come from?

You took the time to write a letter but no mention of a solution — as usual the Lib Dems complain but fail to actually offer solutions. I will give you a solution: place a dictator in charge with the authority to enforce a clean up of where and when money is spent, be it on management and admin support functions, the amount for drugs to private companies, and the abuse to the NHS from overseas users – this equals three major areas of reform. And I am not a Parliamentary candidate.

Ken Mckean, Hanging Langford

Tunnel vision

ONE of the reasons the A303 was not made a dual carriageway along the stretch past Stonehenge and onwards to a Berwick bypass was protests that it would impinge on the archaeological site and disturb the tourist visitors. Several alternative routes were investigated and discussed and protested at some length and cost. Government money became short and more delays followed and after several decades a decision (a costly one) has been made to have a tunnel under the monument. This solution is acceptable to many, but not entirely all. There are now demands the proposed tunnel is longer and already protesters are poised to add more costs to the proposed scheme. Oh despair!

If only the ‘dualling’ had gone straight along the existing route of the A303, all those years ago, many millions of pounds would have been saved. Further millions in wasted fuel costs and pollution avoided and many villagers lives would not have been blighted. But that part is now history and cannot be changed. It is NOW time to stop the protests, ignore English Heritage and get the job done as quickly and economically as possible. PLEASE nod a head to history but NOT, any longer, at the cost of the living and the future. The millions saved could make a difference!

Brian Ford, Bemerton

Heath Filibuster

I WOULD like to congratulate John Glen on the part he played, yet again, in the suppression of wholly positive social policy. By filibustering over the irrelevant detail on the unopposed bill to fully legalise homosexuality within the navy he blocked an attempt to make sex education compulsory. He has really shown himself to be a politician of our times in the worst possible way. His ‘calm down dear’ comment to Caroline Lucas cements this.

Joseph Gent (aged 16), Downton


I’VE been subject to recent smears by Cllrs Froude, Hocking and Dean; all acting in their usual Machiavellian manner. They’re nothing more than remnants of Theresa May’s ‘Nasty Party.’ Cllr Dean shouting out derogatory comments may have suited Southampton where he was councillor, but there’s no place for this in Salisbury.

I’ve never seen an apology for his behaviour on a train (Journal report), while his colleague attempted to assure councillors that it was not he.

The Tories say they don’t want to raise the precept. But they voted through a 17 per cent increase at a meeting in 2014; their names recorded in the minutes. Now they’ve egg on their faces; Cllr Dean screeching “Gutless”, then en-bloc they abstain on a budget vote a week later. He said it: “Gutless”.

How can Cllr Froude even write a letter about a meeting he was not at? Important city applications were being determined at the Planning (SAP) meeting in January. Tory councillors on the committee, in front of 100 locals, chastised city councillors for not being present. Cllr Froude tries to lay blame on ‘dual hatted’ councillors. He fails to mention one ‘dual hatted’ Tory (Atiqul Hoque) who called in an application, yet failed to turn up!

Ironically, Cllr Froude has made it known he’s not standing in May, as he does not like ‘the party politics’, albeit he stood as a Tory! Next time he looks in the mirror, I’m sure that on reflection, he will see that he is part of that problem.

Brian Dalton, Harnham


I HAVE yet to meet anyone who, as a first choice, wants the tunnel; it is commonly thought that more cost effective solutions are available; but who will challenge the might of the World Heritage Organisations, Highways England and the Government who appear to be dead set on the idea? It is claimed, just like double glazing, that in time it will all pay for itself with the advantages that it will bring. Let’s hope it does.

All agree that going with the tunnel is a fait accompli because, if it’s withdrawn, the humongous millions will go elsewhere and the opportunity to free our communities from the curse of the A303 will be gone for ever.

The choice of a south or north bypass of Winterbourne is seen as a red herring. Why would you bifurcate villages by going south “only an idiot could come up with this one” I was told. Going north seems to be the people’s choice.

Great concern was shown over the flyover design at the Countess Roundabout and how traffic will be able to access and depart the A303 to join the A345. Also, what’s happening to the Solstice Park junction? These are questions I am being asked but, as yet, there is no definitive design. Let’s hope that common sense prevails and that consideration for easy access and reducing rat-running are a priority.

Lastly, so many people said words to the effect of “what about the people living now who have to suffer the misery of the present A303 chaos? Why do we bow down to solutions that cost so much more that need be? Come on, our country just can’t afford such luxuries; just ask the local population of Wiltshire, and then carry on as predetermined - build a tunnel”.

Graham Wright, Wiltshire councillor for Durrington


BERWICK St James, together with others in the local community, have always welcomed the Government’s aim to ease the burden of traffic jams on the A303 and the subsequent rat-runs which have blighted the area for many years.

However, as our MP John Glen has stated, it is vital that the correct decisions are made for the right reasons.

The Southern bypass would carve a permanent scar on the beautiful Till Valley between Berwick St James and Winterbourne Stoke.

It would not only impact both villages significantly – ecologically, environmentally and economically – but also effectively cut the close links between our two communities that date back to Norman times.

The Southern Bypass option has been a very late addition by Highways England and therefore their research on the Southern route option would seem to be limited at best. In short, the residents of Berwick St James are unanimously opposed to the Southern Bypass option and will be carrying out fact-finding research to support that view.

As Highways England states that they will take into account what local communities and businesses have to say, we trust that our representation is not drowned out by the cacophony of voices being raised by the big organisations, such as English Heritage, World Heritage Site, Stonehenge Alliance and others.

The A303 solution is not just about the long term legacy of England’s treasured heritage sites and old relics, it is also about the equally important legacy of and for the living – the future generation who will live and work in the area.

Neil MacDougall, Chairman, Berwick St James Parish Meetings

Staff praised

LIKE Peter Mason I attended the annual meeting of Salisbury Arts Centre at which he stated his views very clearly and they were acknowledged by the trustees.

He gives the impression that the community is not involved in the arts centre and it is run by a faceless group behind closed doors.

This is not the case. Around 50 volunteers regularly give their time front of house to steward events and assist in the cafe. Others help with marketing, back office and workshops. The arts centre offers meaningful work experience to local school pupils interested in working in the arts. Other members of the local community participate by producing artwork for exhibitions. curtain raisers for dance and film shows, written work for practice evenings etc etc Since Wiltshire Council withdrew its funding a number of staff posts have been lost. As he is a former chairman of the arts centre it would have been good to hear Mr Mason’s support for the current staff, who have worked very hard to sustain the centre’s programme with minimal cutbacks whilst working on planning a viable future alongside the two other major arts organisations in Salisbury, who face similar financial challenges.

Dare I suggest that most members of the public don’t want to be involved in the technicalities of governance and cannot commit sufficient time to take on the day-to-day running of the centre.

A much easier and more enjoyable way for them to support the arts centre is by attending events there — and the response to the addition of new events to this season’s programme has shown the community is willing to do so.

Christine Romano, Salisbury