January blues

MARTIN Simcock (Journal Taste page, January 25) states he’s a fan of January – easy when you can afford a few weeks in Goa!

He also talks of starvation in some countries. Does he not realise people are starving in this country – the homeless, pensioners who have to decide between heat or food, us on benefits who can’t afford to pay our bills and eat?

“People being so bloated that they live an intolerable life and die 15 years prematurely”. Come on Martin try living on £6,000 or £8,000 a year, you’ll soon lose weight.

Happiness, he says, is getting up at 6am to work sixteen hours in the kitchen. Some of us would love the chance to be physically able to work. Try sitting alone in your own four walls every day without the money to go for a coffee.

Happiness is not not having to get up the next day. I’d say it’s having something to get up for.

He has a good wage, a lovely holiday and a family to share it with. Wouldn’t we all be happy with what Martin’s got?

I haven’t had a holiday in 12 years. I’d dearly love to have a week or two away somewhere. Oh, how the other half live. It’s not just me either, I’d lose count if I tried to name others in my position.

Please, Martin, I’m sure you don’t mean to boast, but please think before you put pen to paper about who you may offend.

  • Also, don’t believe what the authorities say about the small number of homeless on the streets of Salisbury. I used to work with the homeless and they don’t lie in doorways in the city centre to be seen by people trying to count them. They hide away, where they won’t be found, because they don’t want to be found. It’s disturbing, frightening, and embarrassing.

When I did this work, there were at least three times the amount of homeless as the reckoners said. They just couldn’t find them and looked in the wrong places.

Doreen Daly, Salisbury

Safety first

HAVING read the recent Highways England public consultation booklet on Amesbury to Berwick Down, I was pleased that Highways England on page 41 have put in a proposal to change Rollestone Crossroads so abnormally high vehicles, slow moving traffic and vehicles of less than 50cc cannot use the tunnel.

The suggested changes are excellent and will very much improve the safety of this junction.

Local councillors and myself suggested this very change to Wiltshire Council over two years ago as the Packway is already used as a bypass for the A303 and the premature closure of the A344 before the dualling of the A303 increased the misery for Shrewton residents, especially the London Road and High Street. The heavy use of this route was backed by facts in the Atkins Report commissioned by Wiltshire Council then virtually ignored by the Council and Highways England who said there was no connection between the heavily congested A303. At last they appear to acknowledge that the Packway forms part of a diversion route for the A303. Already this crossroads is an accident blackspot.

Could I appeal to Highways England and Wiltshire Council to implement Rollestone Crossroad changes and the suggested build-outs in London Road, Shrewton, as a matter of urgency? The safety and quality of life for Shrewton residents and the motorist needs to be improved.

Ian West, Shrewton

Simple things

I AM just an uneducated female pensioner and wonder if somebody could answer this question for me?

Why are millions being spent on a tunnel in order to give an uninterrupted view of Stonehenge when for a fraction of the price the road could be diverted slightly to the left and lowered as is currently done to disguise motorways? Clearly my views are too simplistic for those hell bent on spending a fortune of taxpayers’ money.

Christina Mason, Bishopdown

Survival plea

THIS is a plea for the survival of Salisbury Arts Centre and I am writing to express my dismay at the ‘corporate’ plans put forward by the new managers.

I understand the need for a restructured joint organisation but why does the arts centre have to lose its unique identity? Did the Arts Council envisage that the arts centre would become a corporate add-on for the theatre?

At a recent meeting between the new managers and the arts centre volunteers it became clear that the new managers had no idea or understanding about the ethos and very special and quirky qualities that the arts centre has and that it is totally unsuited to a corporate image.

I don’t understand what benefit this corporate realigning will have for the theatre, the festival or the arts centre. They all have very separate identities and creative profiles and these need to be strengthened and not anonymised.

I understand that systems presently working for the theatre are to be foisted upon the arts centre with no recognition of the differences between the organisations.

Surely the new managers should be able to come up with a future for the theatre, festival and arts centre, so the arts in Salisbury can continue to offer a wide ranging programme to our city.

Sue Phillips, Arts centre volunteer, Salisbury

Festival facts?

The letter from Peter Mitchell (Journal Postbag, February 8) prompts me to ask when details of the 2019 Salisbury International Arts Festival will be forthcoming?

One assumes that, now the dust has settled on the paperwork for the amalgamation of the three arts groups, a new director is in post (or appointed) and international acts booked. A progress update is surely timely?

Julian Hepplewhite, Salisbury

Tip-top tip

I WOULD like to compliment the new operators of the Salisbury household waste and recycling centre.

On a visit this morning I was assisted with some heavy items that I had taken there and the operative generally helped me unload. He then moved on to help others.

This is my second visit since the new regime started and I have to say that I now view a trip to the tip with much less foreboding than before. I was particularly pleased that when people asked for advice, as to where to put their items, they were given friendly and helpful advice.

This comment may sound odd, but previously I was always made to feel stupid, because I was not so familiar with sorting into the correct categories, as the men were who worked there all the time!

G Harvey, Salisbury

Female focus

WITH all the lavish praise heaped upon the violent suffragettes, headed by the Pankhursts, and the pacific suffragists, headed by our own Millicent Fawcett, let us not forget the anti-suffrage movement spearheaded by the feminist Virginia Woolf.

It, interestingly, advocated a third legislative house, free from the selfish, reactionary Lords; free from the capitalist, militarist, imperialist male commons: an entirely female House of Commons. This feminine house, representing 51.5 per cent of the population could debate matters that really mattered, eg health, housing, wages: the important day-to-day issues of British life.

Dominick Shirley (Erstwhile head of history at Bishop Wordsworth’s School), Bowerchalke

Safe haven

IN recent issues of the Journal there has been some discussion about rough sleepers in the city.

There are three large Wiltshire education buildings in Churchfields Road which have been empty for some years. Why not create a safe haven for the rough sleepers? After all, the education department was quick enough to snatch the Wilton Road police station for its own use.

Is it a case of ‘everybody matters except rough sleepers’?

Andrew Poole, Alderbury

Massive loss

Whilst the letter from Malcolm Cassells explained why he thinks the NHS is in financial difficulties perhaps he would explain why SDH went from a very sound financial position for, I believe, many years to a massive loss in one year. Michael Glover Dinton Golden years TO accommodate all of your readers, perhaps you should consider reinstating the older years of your archives. For those of us of a certain age, 1988 is very much within living memory and is probably only of interest to children.

Michael Glover, Dinton

Drivers’ fault

PETER Bryant’s letter (Journal Postbag, February 1) stated that a power cut (and consequent lack of traffic lights) apparently improved traffic flow through all Salisbury roundabouts.

As a local driver, I firmly believe that the problems are caused not by the lights but primarily by drivers. It is a fact that many now treat red lights with disdain and continue to go through them for several seconds after the change. They do this without consideration and with complete impunity. Traffic flow through St Mark’s roundabout, where only three of the six roads leading onto the roundabout are traffic-light controlled, suffers badly as a result. Poor maintenance of yellow lines and lack of awareness of box junction rules exacerbate the problem so that queuing vehicles often obstruct access and egress.

When the traffic lights were originally installed, a major benefit was that the flow of traffic on the major routes was regularly interrupted, creating gaps for cars on the uncontrolled roads to feed onto the roundabout. So many drivers now treat a red light as the new amber and/or ignore box junctions that these gaps often don’t exist and, consequently, traffic cannot flow as it should.

I appreciate that Salisbury has a traffic problem but it is driver behaviour causes these traffic lights to become ineffective. If the complete lack of enforcement continues perhaps it really is time to seriously consider turning them off.

Philip Vale, Salisbury