Fit and proper

DAVE Phillips’ chairmanship of Salisbury FC over the best part of three years epitomised the phrase “strong and stable leadership”. It is easy to forget that football could have left the Ray Mac for ever without the dedication of a small band of supporters who reformed the club.

They represent everything that is good about football, and the phoenix club provides a sharp contrast to the mismanagement that sunk Salisbury City.

Three years since Otail Touzar disappeared into the thin air, has the FA taken any time to investigate or learn the lessons from Salisbury City’s demise?

It seems they have quietly forgotten the episode and washed their hands of the fact that the fit-and-proper-persons test was supposed to stop people such as Touzar. In fact it seems football’s governing body could not care less about who owns the professional game.

Just look at Portsmouth, another club ravaged by careless ownership. Only now, after four seasons in League 2, have they managed to achieve promotion back to the third tier of English football. But Pompey do at least provide hope. Under the current management, I have no doubt Salisbury FC will return to the National League. Much of the credit for that will be thanks to the groundwork laid by Dave Phillips.

Yet for many fans, we still await reassurance from those who run the English game that no other club will face the same ordeal as Salisbury.

Alex Rennie, Havant


READERS will be aware of recent headlines about about cyber criminals hacking into NHS computer systems. Fortunately Salisbury District Hospital (SDH) avoided this attack. However, these headlines highlight the vulnerability of NHS computer systems generally.

This results directly from underinvestment by successive governments in NHS IT systems. A funding plan that should have addressed this was ditched in 2010 by the coalition government. Consequently NHS Trusts were left to shoulder the cost burden of upgrading their software themselves, and not surprisingly they chose to spend scarce resources on direct patient care instead.

One local consequence of this underinvestment is the new ‘Lorenzo’ patient management system at SDH which is quite obviously not fit for purpose, as reported in the Salisbury Journal of Feb 23. Clinic lists have been underfilled even though there are are long waits for appointments.

Patients have been sent to the wrong clinics. Some patients have been completely lost in the system, a particular worry for some of the vulnerable families that I deal with as a paediatrician. The hospital’s staff and managers are working hard to correct these problems, but are struggling with an inept system. I would urge any SDH patients who think they should have received an appointment but haven’t done so to contact the hospital directly.

This ‘ransomware’ crisis tells us something about government priorities. Politicians should never allow publicly funded IT systems to become this vulnerable through underinvestment.

Dr Robert Scott-Jupp, Salisbury

Ticket torture

LAST week my firm organised a large collectors show at the Salisbury City Hall. Most of the visitors were strangers to Salisbury and enjoyed their visit.

The only negative feedback we received from people was the ridiculous operation or non-operation, of the city centre car parks ticket machines and the new £1 coin.

A typical complaint was when all supermarkets machines can accept both types why would Salisbury machines only accept the old type coin.

On the plus side visitors expressed their pleasure at the excellent lighting and facilities at the City Hall. I would like to endorse this accolade, the staff at City Hall are very helpful and professional – well done.

But why is it that Salisbury car parks are always shrouded in controversy?

Paul Dauwalder, Salisbury

Housing hub?

THRIVING towns have certain characteristics; essentials that allow them to function:- A crown post office, bus station, coach station, cheap central parking, a police station, large employers, business parks, busy shops, good bus services and a thriving arts scene.

We have been deprived of most of the above and more follows. In every nook, ugly flats and tall houses are built right onto the pavement marring our city.

There is no regard for beauty, the spire view. The town is dirty; lovely buildings rotting.

The town is tatty, see the walk by the library. Busses from villages are cut, reducing footfall, expedited by the loss of central parking. Rumour says the site of our once largest employer will become housing. The 2018 Art Festival is cut. I believe rationalising the arts will reduce vibrancy, variety and venues. Who will come without adjacent parking?

Once, Thatcher’s government decided to “manage Liverpool’s decline”. It failed. I believe a similar decision has been taken about us. We will become a run-down housing hub with little employment. The plug has been pulled; it’s almost too late to stop our decline.

Politicians to come clean – what is the big plan? Will they act to reverse this trend?

There is much that could be done that doesn’t depend on building shops on the car park; on building cafes with the charm of a 1960s bus station on the river walk, building on the water meadows. It depends on Salisbury being open for business; on attractive, easy, reasonable access; on valuing our ancient buildings, protecting their setting. I feel it is time to Save Our Salisbury!

NW Scammell, Salisbury

Safety plea

IF your normal mode of travel is by motor vehicle, you will be aware of potholes, but rarely will any cause you to come to an enforced stop.

If you are obliged to travel by wheelchair and your route takes you across the pedestrianised Poultry Cross, Butcher Row and some other streets or need to cross the road at many of the dropped kerbs you will routinely come to an involuntary abrupt halt, even if you travel at very low speed. Just a few years ago, the main squares in Salisbury were resurfaced at considerable public expense but the safety of the less fortunate traveller continues to be ignored.

A Phillips, Salisbury

Lane disgrace

CHERRY Orchard Lane is a disgrace to the council. The road is in an appalling condition in need of repair. Traffic uses the road as a rat run, the speed limit is routinely ignored and it is only a matter of time before a severe accident will occur.

Rubbish litters the area in between the railway bridges. The road in front of Hedley Davis court, where elderly people live, is also in dire need of repair. These conditions have existed for a considerable number of years, the council ignore the problem and it appears to me no one seems to care.

Joan O’Sullivan, Salisbury

Old politics!

DICK Bellringer notes that, “Now is the time for a Progressive Alliance in Salisbury!” (Postbag, May 11), but he does the truth a disservice by lumping the Greens in with Labour and the Lib Dems as those whose “tribal politics” have frustrated the process so far.

In fact, it was the Green Party’s co-leader Caroline Lucas who led the calls for such alliances since the last general election, and local Green Parties, including here in Salisbury, who have been endeavouring to create them – only to meet with a brick wall of tribal immobility from Labour and Lib Dems alike.

An agreement in regard to Salisbury City Council should have been easy. With three seats available in each of seven out of the eight wards, the three parties could have put up one candidate each to maximise the chances of beating the Tories and produce a democratically mixed council. Unfortunately, our approaches were met by both Labour and Lib Dems with the suggestion that we talk after the elections.

As regards a single Progressive Alliance candidate on June 8, there was never any real prospect of that occurring, with Labour fearful that if they even contemplated such a thing, their local party would be suspended and a candidate imposed by their National Executive, and the Lib Dems so immersed in their fantasy of a magical revival that they could think of no other possibility than that of everyone else agreeing to stand down for them, despite their poor fourth place last time. So the people of Salisbury are again left with no real prospect of changing the outcome in terms of seats in Westminster. While both Labour and the Lib Dems cling to the belief that only they can beat the Tories, the truth is that neither of them can. As Caroline Lucas commented this week, “The old politics is dead and its leaders are stuck in the past.” It is not the Greens, but rather the intransigence of the other old parties that is holding us back.

Brig Oubridge, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Salisbury


HOW typically disgraceful that a planning application for conversion of a perfectly serviceable building has turned into an application for demolition. United Kingdom House, Castle Street is said building. Why? Please all be aware of the chaos this will bring to Castle Street, Endless Street and Salisbury. To the people “where everybody matters”, no!

Former maintenance employee of Friends Provident A Clark Salisbury Litter blight I HAVE lived in the Cathedral Close for nearly 30 years and am dismayed by the increasing amount of litter left on the green.

It is not left by foreign visitors who seem assiduous in finding a bin, but local young people who leave bottles, tins, pizza boxes and other detritus.

It spoils the appearance of The Close and indeed Salisbury itself for the many visitors who come from all over the world. How can they be educated to clear up after themselves? - if their parents cannot teach them, perhaps the schools might.

Patricia Cave-Smith, Salisbury

Respect poll

THE trouble with the Lib Dems is that if they don’t like, or disagree with, the results of a referendum (Journal Post Bag Time for PR May 18) they ask/demand another one.

On May 5 2011 a referendum was held on the PR issue and 67.90% of the valid votes cast rejected PR as the voting system.

This “lets ignore the last referendum and have another one” smacks of the EU’s rejection of results of Ireland’s referendum on the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, where a further referendum was held so that the EU could get the desired result.

P A Charter, Salisbury