Time to quit

I find it hard to relate the glowing picture of Wiltshire Constabulary as put forward in last week’s Journal by the Chief Constable Mike Veale and the reality of police station closures and officer shortages across the county. The fact is that following Mr Veale’s disastrous (fast approaching) two million pound politically correct and pointless investigation of the late Sir Edward Heath, the police budget has been unable to recover from the burden imposed on it. The Police Commissioner Mr Angus Macpherson is just as guilty as Mr Veale, in that he lacks the courage to challenge this ill informed investigation and pleads that it is an operational matter and no concern of his. Meanwhile every household in Wiltshire is paying the price for this gross dereliction of duty and common sense, through an increased police precept on their council tax and an increase in crime. May I sincerely suggest that Mr Veale take the honourable course and resign and that Mr Macpherson do likewise, as neither appear to realise the enormity of their actions, which bring shame on this fine county.

Cllr Chris Devine, Winterslow Division

Get off fence

I read with interest the proposal that an extra 750 plus houses might be built in Harnham with the throwaway comment that road and transport problems need to be addressed.

For decades now gross inactivity and ineptitude by politicians local and central has turned this part of Wiltshire into a traffic nightmare. This may be due to not wanting to offend some major landowners, upset various environmental pressure groups or just not wanting to spend money.

Opening up Wilton railway station together with encouraging more cycling and walking will not alleviate the current traffic problem. The proposed Stonehenge tunnel for the English Heritage Fred Flintstone theme park will do little to improve transport issues for the city of Salisbury and its immediate area. Our local MP needs to start considering his constituency as a whole and stop fence sitting. We need outer relief roads to be built now to sort the effects of existing traffic problems and no further development until these are in place.


No-go areas

SO much chaos and misery has been inflicted on Durrington this year due to far too many construction projects being carried out at the same time.

Parts of the village and immediate vicinity have become virtual no-go areas with road and footpath closures, temporary traffic lights, single lane operations and diversions.

Now the situation is being exacerbated by the Ministry of Defence imposing a “residents only” order on the road linking Larkhill garrison to the A345 Countess Road, via Woodhenge.

The road is normally open to general use and and could have been a badly needed alternative route for motorists travelling between Shrewton, Durrington and Bulford, now that the main Packway route through Larkhill is closed for the construction of a new roundabout.

But notices have been posted proclaiming it MoD property and forcing non-residents onto the A303, notorious for its nightmare tailbacks.

Bearing in mind the bulk of the upheaval is due to plans to accommodate many of the thousands of soldiers returning to Salisbury Plain from Germany, the MoD should try being a better neighbour and attempt to reduce the impact on the civilian community.

The situation also raises questions for our local councillors. What efforts did they take to get a more phased approach to all the construction work going on and to seek a more supportive attitude from the MoD?

David and Tony Vallis, Durrington

Angry at 80

APPROXIMATELY a quarter of a mile from Amesbury town centre there is a small complex of eight ground-floor flats and 36 bungalows; all except two are council-owed. These bungalows were meant to house the elderly and/or disabled people. One blind person, two wheelchair dependants and two children under five, the remainder being dependant on walking aids of various designs are the inhabitants of these premises.

Three years ago, we were told that the council had obtained a grant to update the greenery etc which was in a dangerous, disgusting state (the plants etc are over 30 years old, well past their sell by date). The makeover would make maintenance much easier.

Now the grounds are in such a state that last autumn nine residents had rats in their gardens. Of course the tenants were at fault for feeding the birds. I have always fed wildlife but never have had rats.

February this year, a half-hearted attempt was made by the council to tidy up but it was not a success. Wiltshire Council says that ‘people matter’ but that is not quite right. This area is an accident waiting to happen to young and old and I should imagine that there will be a substantial number of them.

Some of us are wondering if the council is financially able to meet such a large number of claims.

An angry, fed-up and disgusted 80-year-old.

Mrs E Ritchie, Amesbury

Waste of cash

It is good to see North Wiltshire MP James Gray agreeing with so many of us over the issue of the closure of police stations and the waste of money chasing a long dead PM, when the urgent need is for policing today’s problems. I wonder if he will go further and sign the petition that we have put together to get rid of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and see a return to the Police Authority system?

Wiltshire Police is struggling with third worst rate of staff dropping out (3.6%) in England and Wales, as well as with its appalling record of solving burglary remaining to be addressed. At the same time, it has not only been wasting money on the Edward Heath inquiry, but has the second highest ratio of senior officers to police constables in the country at 1:146 compared to the national average of 1:459, meaning that proportionately considerably more money is being spent on the top brass here in Wiltshire than elsewhere in the country. One way to turn this around would be to get rid of the PCCs and return to the old system of police authorities where councillors, magistrates and others gave their time freely to do the best for their communities.

We want the best for the police and the people of Wiltshire. To sign our petition please go to: northwiltslibdems.org.uk/ENDPCC

Dr Brian Mathew, Lib Dem prospective MP for North Wiltshire

Ken Forey, Former Wiltshire Police Inspector

Sweet home

With reference to your report regarding The Cedars nursing home (Journal, August 8), I would like to say that the findings are nowhere near my experience of the care, efficiency, respect and dedication of all staff. My parents, who are in their 90s, are residing in a beautiful double room where sadly they both went in with their own serious medical conditions and need 24/7 nursing and care. I call in on a regular basis at different times and have seen all the various staff in action. I cannot speak highly enough of the care they receive and both parents are very happy in their new surroundings. Whatever we ask is dealt with straight away and nothing seems to be too much trouble and always the staff reaffirm that if there is anything that my parents need just to ask.

Sue Shergold, Woodfalls

Credit due

AFTER reading the letter in last week’s Journal regarding Wiltshire Council I felt that credit must be given where due. On August 8 I telephoned them regarding the grass verges in East Gomeldon.

Gomeldon Hill and the verge beyond the railway arch on East Gomeldon Road were left untouched when the verge and the other grassed areas in East Gomeldon had been mowed and were very overgrown with grass and nettles. The phone was answered straight away by a vary efficient lady who took notice of my query as to why we had been missed ,and immediately reported it to the relevant department.

The grass had been cut by Monday lunchtime, three working days. What a pleasure to talk to a human without the usual switchboard, button-pressing and music. Well Done WC. Perhaps ‘Everybody Matters’ after all.

Mrs G Hollingdale-Smith, Gomeldon

Seeing Red

While I was really sorry about the awful accident on the Harnham Road on Tuesday, August 15, I am disgusted with Salisbury Reds who let many passengers wait at that awful Endless Street bus stop for the R5 for over an hour with no hope of getting a bus.

I spoke to a driver of another bus who said “Oh, haven’t they told you, they were supposed to put a notice up, there are no buses to Harnham until further notice” but of course they didn’t!

I had just had treatment at the hospital so was unable to walk to West Harnham and there were so many older people in the queue with large shopping trolleys. Shame on you Reds!

Yours very annoyed!

Marlene Randall, Harnham

Thank you

I would just like to say an enormous thank you to everyone, neighbours, friends and relatives, who helped me following the sudden death of my very close friend, Nick Hampshire.

Nick was found on his beloved allotment on the evening of August 1, and despite the very best efforts of some wonderful people immediately administering CPR, and the ambulance crew following through with this work, it was sadly too late to save him. He had suffered a pulmonary embolism and I understand from the coroner that his death would have been very quick with little suffering.

I am so grateful to be living in a such a wonderful city where everyone has been such a great comfort and help.

Debbie Mallett, Salisbury

We’re sorry

The Salisbury City Book of Remembrance is displayed in St Thomas’s Church. We endeavour always to have the book open at the current date’s commemorations.

Your correspondent, the daughter of a fallen serviceman, was understandably disappointed when she visited on August 10 only to find that the page had not been turned. I apologize for this. The mistake was quickly remedied and we are reviewing our arrangements.

Kelvin Inglis Rector, St Thomas’s Church, Salisbury