I’VE been appalled by some of the ignorant comments on the Journal website about refugee Reza Maghsoudi.

This poor lad fled, at just 13 years of age, the horror of life in Afghanistan.

Thirteen years later, having found sanctuary and friendship in Salisbury, he’s been deemed suitable by the Home Office to be summarily sent back, despite having no family to return to.

He’s been making a productive life for himself here, working as an intern at Stonehenge Tailoring, which offers a much-needed and very high-quality service to our city.

And that’s a lot more than many of his home-grown armchair critics are doing with their days.

Now he’s languishing in a detention centre awaiting a judicial review of his case.

I believe that the anti-immigrant sentiment behind the Brexit vote has emboldened civil servants to take a far harsher line with non-EU foreigners, and it doesn’t necessarily lead to just outcomes.

Reza’s friends in the city are working hard to keep him here, and I’m pleased that they have the support of our MP John Glen, who can see the unfairness in this case.

There is an online petition on change.org called Home Office: Stop Deportation of Reza to Afghanistan.

I do hope you can find it in your heart to sign it, and help this unfortunate young man.

Annie Riddle, Harnham

Door shut

The threat to City of Salisbury Athletics and Running Club (CoSARC) has quite rightly garnered much attention in the past week. The biggest disappointment in the whole affair is the unwillingness or inability of both the school and council to put the needs of the young community who benefit greatly from the running track first and foremost in consideration of its future. It speaks volumes for the value that these institutions place on an important community facility that a reasonable compromise could not be achieved without recourse to simply shutting the door to a club whose existence in Salisbury should be treasured and nurtured, not extinguished. I hope that the strength of feeling shown by the many supporters of CoSARC will allow good sense to prevail; the alternative would be a great source of shame for the city.

Dr Dave West, Former Salisbury Triathlon Club Chairman, Salisbury

Locked out

How sad to see young athletes locked out of Salisbury track by the landlord, South Wilts Grammar School (SWGS). Particularly so in the week that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development revealed the UK as the most obese nation in Europe. SWGS states it aims to develops a sense of responsibility towards the wider community in its pupils. It is rather difficult to reconcile this with the extortionate increase in fees imposed on City of Salisbury Athletics Club. Fees that may well destroy a community club, run by volunteers and catering for all members of the community who wish to keep fit and healthy, irrespective of ability or wealth. Far easier to see SWGS actions as those of an organisation focused on maximising its wealth to serve the needs of the narrow elite who attend the school?

Dr Kevin Tilley, Salisbury

Under threat

I read with concern that South Wilts Grammar School is now denying our local athletics club, City Of Salisbury A&RC, access to the athletics track. The club’s volunteers provide regular, varied and safe training for both children and adults; and this invaluable service to the community is now under threat due to the highly questionable decisions made by Witlshire Council and SWGS. The club and the track is at the heart of a vibrant running community in Salisbury that grown considerably in recent years; we cannot afford to just throw away this valuable facility! To lose the services that the club and the track provide would be to the detriment of the city in general and the younger generation of Salisbury in particular.

Elizabeth Roberts, Salisbury


I AM appalled at the decision made by South Wilts school to lock the gates to the athletics track, denying entry to the clubhouse and track. Their behaviour was, at best, infantile. The City of Salisbury Athletics and Running Club has developed over many years into a fully inclusive, friendly and supportive club enabling people of any age to participate and at times, compete for Salisbury as well as further afield. As a community we need to stand together and support CoSARC.

Jo Norbury, Salisbury


IT is with great regret that I read of the plight of the City of Salisbury Athletics and Running Club and the way in which they have been locked out of their running track by the South Wilts Grammar School.

I live in North Wales and have spent a lifetime in Scotland, Yorkshire and the North of England in sport and leisure administration at the highest level. As a participant I have been involved in road and fell running for many years and long been a member of running clubs during that period. I cannot stress enough the importance played by such community clubs in fostering the health and wellbeing of our nation and in particular that of young students.

In recent years I had the privilege of chairing the North West Region Steering Committee of the 2012 Olympic Games and was a member of the London Organising Committee’s Nations and Regions Group. All our work was about inspiring a new generation of young people to participate in sport and to leave a lasting legacy of increased physical activity in the UK. The situation here seems to be directly undermining that ambition.

I currently chair a body managing all the sport and leisure facilities in a large local authority in the North West and have spent a large part of my career in developing agreements between schools and sporting clubs and know that with two willing partners such schemes for dual use work and are highly successful.

I do hope that those involved will come to an agreement in the near future to allow the club to continue it’s 25 year history on this site with access to the right kind of facilities rather than being relegated to the ludicrous position of conducting their athletic sessions in a leisure centre car park.

Andrew J Worthington OBE Pantymwyn, Mold Flintshire

Local plan

One wishes Reg Williams a happy retirement. His legacy is very much the improvements to our hugely valuable inner city parks.

A job we desperately needed to see him implement and carry through was the making of a Salisbury City Plan.

A hugely important document in a city invaded by uncontrollable development. Examination of the planning portal shows no progress .

Many small settlements with tiny parish councils and no permanent staff are listed having neighbourhood plans. One has to congratulate settlements like Downton and Winterslow.

The latest concern of the city seems to be to appoint a town crier.

Part of the city and an adjoining settlement, Netherhampton, is hugely threatened by proposals for a huge housing development on a feeder road up to capacity with no way it can add to capacity as a result of a restricted river bridge crossing.

Once councillors in the north push it through to meet housing number targets, with no neighbourhood plan even our MP and the minister will have very limited means to oppose it.

Developers can afford expensive legal challenges, our councils cannot.

Planning legislation is a legal process and a neighbourhood plan would be part of that process.

Failure to follow proper procedure would open up re-examination.

The approval of the hotel and drive-through McDonald’s admitted to be on a road over capacity tells us technical / strategic errors by an authority do not count.

Having poor strategic local plans and no neighbourhood plans merely gives carte blanche to super rich, all-powerful developers.

The replacement for Reg has a hugely important first job to do.

Gregor Condliffe, Salisbury

Tipping point

Your piece last week (County is best at tackling fly-tipping) raised a wry smile.

Here at Shute End the Southern End of Alderbury this a continuous and continuing problem for local residents, currently there are large amounts of primarily commercially dumped garden refuse which has been in situ for several weeks despite continual reports to the authorities in Trowbridge by our local representatives. We have indeed, as residents, moved some ourselves at times and in the drier weather resorted to burning.

Of course, such is the scale of this problem that instant action is not always possible, to lay claim however to best in region at tackling this curse is somewhat dubious heaven help the worst.

David Sargent, Alderbury

Racist rant

I am very proud to call Salisbury home, as I have been living there since 1986. One of the main reasons I appreciate living in the city is I often get to talk to foreign visitors whom are visiting for work and for recreation. Salisbury is a fascinating city that I very much enjoy exploring after all these years. I also enjoy exploring foreign cities and am often recipient to natives in these cities kindly taking their time in explaining their proud heritage. These visits to foreign cities and towns are a benefit of the fact I often work abroad and can take time after work to go exploring. These visits are generally made possible by the fact that I feel welcomed in these cities when I am involved in short term projects there, as indeed are my twenty six British colleagues that are currently working with me alongside twenty two Dutch colleagues in a civil engineering project in Vlissingen (Flushing) in Holland. Soon there will be approximately one hundred British working on this one project for approximately one to two years. This employment of British nationals is repeated in numerous similar project all over the world, but particularly in Europe.

The success of these projects and hence my/our livelihoods are achievable because of the wonderful local people involved in these projects welcome us into their lives.

So when I experience the sad way that Ms Overbeek has been treated in my home town, I feel obliged to offer her my sincere apologies that she has experienced these comments from anyone, particularly a grown man.

I would like to offer the man who is severely threatened by professional people from foreign lands talking in a bookshop, that I will pay for him to visit my project site in Holland and he can talk to my British and Dutch colleagues to get their experience of how their careers are effected by racism.

James Wilmot, Salisbury

Parking pity

Many in Amesbury are fed up with all the parked cars in London Road, many are double parked. I expect it’s free for them to park all along there as you now have to pay in the town. It’s an accident waiting to happen. Especially with buses and huge lorries up and down there all day.

I and a bus full of passengers had a near miss a few months ago, as a police car came flying along and the bus driver had nowhere to pull in. I was flung from one end to the other as I was about to get off. Why can’t we have yellow lines on one side of the road so as to keep the traffic flowing and stop this dangerous situation happening? Would that be too much common sense?

MA Elton, Amesbury

Damp squib

Your headline ‘Carnage’ as Bonfire Night goes wrong caught my eye (just like one of the fireworks).

‘Carnage’ means a great slaughter, so I read on, only to discover that just 14 spectators suffered minor injuries and no one needed to go to A&E.

A bit of a damp squib, really.

The only serious casualty seems to be the exaggerated English language in your headline. Please give your reporter a rocket from me.

Richard Tambling, Salisbury