Paper front page for the web.
Paper front page for the web.

School crossing not finished yet

Mark Stopps, by email

With reference to the letter printed in last week’s paper regarding Southfield School not using the new zebra crossing.

I would like to point out that as of the moment there is no zebra crossing.

Yes, over the last month the council have put up lights and some new flashing signs but unfortunately have not painted the markings on the road yet.

I have spoken to the county council who assure me that they are working on getting the job finished.

I can now understand why it costs so much to put in a crossing as the same area has been dug up three times already.

I know once the crossing is complete the school and other pedestrians will be only too happy to use it.

Perhaps by the summer the work will be done as the council did say it would take two weeks to complete but that was back in February – but they did not say how long the two weeks would be spread over.

Helen Tarratt, by email

When I read Katie’s letter in last week’s Advertiser I was beginning to think I had missed something as I regularly drive down the Banbury Road.

So as I was going into Brackley on Friday I was able to check I was relieved to find that I had not driven over the new crossing at all because up until Friday it was not complete.

Yes, they have put in place the road signs advising and, yes, they have put the so called flashing lights up, incidentally the one on the right going into Brackley is covered by a tree, but the fundamental part of the crossing, the black and white lines and zig-zags on the road were nowhere to be seen.

In other words the crossing was not yet completed and therefore it was no safer there than crossing along any part of that stretch of road.

As for how the staff of Southfield School had been seen crossing the children earlier in the week.

Well, the week before I watched them cross children, firstly there was a good staff to pupil ratio, all the staff/helpers were wearing high visibility jackets and at least two staff then stood in the middle of the road shielding the line of children while they crossed.

In my opinion the staff crossed those children in a safe, controlled manner.

This crossing, once it is completed, will be used Monday through to Saturday by children and their parents crossing into Southfield School.

I myself am looking forward to the Saturday morning when taking my children to music centre that I don’t have to play dodge the cars.

The children of Southfield School will once again be able to be independent as once they are of a suitable age they will be able to take themselves to school and cross the road safely.

So is the crossing a waste of tax payers money, the answer is no.

Name and address supplied

As a parent of a child who attends Southfield School I was disgusted to see a letter/email sent to you by a lady called Katie,

I would just like to say she must be driving with her eyes shut as the crossing she is talking about has only got lights.

The council has not finished the said crossing and it is unsafe to use it at the moment.

There are no zig-zag lines or any black and white line across the road and to cross there at the moment you have to step out into road behind parked cars.

So please can people who know nothing about the crossing either get their facts straight first or just not say anything.

We are not wasting tax payers’ money and when this crossing is finished then yes we will use it.

You probably won’t print this email but it makes me so sick and angry when we are constantly picked on over something that we need to prevent a child being knocked over or even killed.

Janet Dingvean, headteacher, Southfield Primary School

Last week your paper published a letter based on inaccurate information.

This relates to the accusation that our pupils failed to use the newly installed pedestrian crossing while walking to the swimming pool.

For your information the crossing is not yet complete and operational.

The day the letter was published, there were no black and white markings, no zig-zag lines and the vehicles parked made it totally unsafe to cross at the intended location of the new crossing.

The council had proposed to complete the road markings on Sunday, March 27.

However despite notices advising residents not to park in certain areas I observed numerous cars parked within this area throughout the day.

Line marking would have been impossible.

In fact the line marking was undertaken late Monday evening and although the school was advised that the crossing would be operational on the Tuesday this was not the case as the lines were incomplete and cars were parked right up to the crossing.

This caused a dangerous hazard to anyone using the crossing.

The lighting has also not been switched on.

I am concerned that anyone who read your letters page last week would believe that Southfield School and its supporters did not appreciate the decision of the council to install a pedestrian crossing along the Banbury Road to provide greater safety for the community of Brackley.

I hope that you give appropriate space within your paper this week to explain the inaccuracies behind this letter.

In conclusion, Southfield School and its supporters have been in negotiation with the council for more than two-and-a-half years about the installation of a safer crossing along the Banbury Road.

We are very grateful that our efforts have not been in vain and look forward to using the new crossing when it is fully operational.

Further information can be obtained from the school office.

Property will be redeveloped

Norman MacRae, Bicester

The very old property at number 4 Church Street has been rumoured to being demolished and replaced with five or five-storey flats is not the case.

I have had a very interesting discussion with the new owner and the property is being refurbished to quality standards, all approved by Bicester Council.

In addition the thick greenery at the front elevation will be ‘thinned out’ so there will be no further mystery as to what lies in among it.

Panto profits on offer for charity

Roger Edwards, chairman, Buckingham Community Pantomime Committee

I would be grateful if I could use your letters page to thank everybody who came to see Snow White at the Buckingham Community Centre in January. The Buckingham Community Pantomime has been putting on shows for 27 years now and once again we had really great and enthusiastic audiences. The show would be nothing without them.

As with previous years the production made a small profit and, as always, the panto group wishes to donate as much of the profit as possible to local charities and groups needing financial help.

So, if any of your readers are part of an organisation that needs some money to get on with a capital project – no matter how small – they can contact the pantomime committee and we will see what we can do to help.

In the past panto donations have helped provide materials for holiday clubs, tea making equipment for small groups meeting in local premises, computers for young people, cutting equipment for a footpath preservation group and so on.

People can phone me, Roger Edwards on 01280 815588 or email info@buckinghampanto.co.uk.

The committee will need a bit of information about the organisation, how much money is required and the purpose that any donation would be put to. All donation requests by the end of April please.

Chinese NIMBYs don’t get a say

Mark Stanton-Huxton, Deerfield Close, Buckingham

I was interested to read Hilary Baxter’s comments regarding high speed rail lines in China. I very much doubt NIMBYism is a ‘problem’ in China.

I’m sure many people would have objected to a rail line coming through their village – if they could.

Could UN solve microlite issue?

Jackie Wood, Preston Bissett

Maybe the residents of Preston Bissett should apply to the UN for a No Fly Zone to halt the constant noise at weekends from microlites flying over our garden.

Speed signs are a waste of funds

Tony Hutt, Buckingham Street, Tingewick

I wondered if other council taxpayers have noticed that Buckinghamshire County Council is still wasting money, in these days of belt tightening.

When services like daycare centres, libraries etc are being cut to the bone due to lack of money then why oh why is the council wasting so much, which I imagine must be hundreds of thousands of pounds, putting large metal signs up all over the county asking for opinions on proposed speed limits when we all know that they, the council and the government, will do exactly what they want regardless of public opinion.

What a total waste of resources when it could be spent on things that really matter and make a difference to people’s lives.

Views needed on Winslow parking

Ruth Ash, Winslow

An open letter to candidates for Aylesbury Vale District Council and Buckingham Town Council.

Regarding the re-introduction of car parking charges into Greyhound Lane Car Park in Winslow.

Unbelievably, after more than a year, it seems unlikely that the people of Winslow are going to get a decision from AVDC on their flawed proposal to re-introduce car parking charges into Greyhound Lane in Winslow ahead of the upcoming local elections in May.

In all 2,186 local people, including 55 business owners, signed the petition and at least 77 letters were sent to AVDC objecting to this proposal.

What is really important about this issue is that 50 per cent of the population have said that they do not want car parking charges re-introduced, as it was such a disaster and waste of public money the last time it was done.

Given that only people of voting age signed the petition, the percentage of the voting population is much higher than 50 per cent.

It failed before and it will fail again, costing the tax payers money and causing untold damage to local businesses.

All for £11, 500 per year. It defies belief to be honest, that AVDC can be so blockheaded and dismissive of public opinion.

Absolutely everyone, from residents, town councillors, business owners, employees, voluntary workers to our own MP can see the folly of this, so why can’t AVDC?

So much for Localism and The Big Society. This is why the Big Society, which is a great idea, will probably fail.

Given what is at stake and AVDC’s refusal to make a decision ahead of the elections I would like to ask/challenge all councillors standing for election in May to make it clear as part of their election manifesto their position on the following:

1) What is their stance on the re-introduction of car parking charges into Greyhound Lane Car Park in Winslow?

2) What is their view on the success/failure of the previous instance of car parking charges in Greyhound Lane Winslow?

3) What will they personally do, step by step, to ensure that this ludicrous proposal does not go through?

Please put your politics aside and do what is right for Winslow and the people who elected you. We have the right to know before we vote in May.

Calm traffic and restless natives

Dave Orriss, Campbell Close, Buckingham

I read with interest your article on Winslow traffic calming.

I for one do not think this is traffic calming but traffic chaos. The A413 is a main road from Aylesbury to Buckingham and beyond,

Surely the aim should be to keep traffic flowing smoothly and not cause congestion.

When you see an articulated lorry having to reverse on an A road in a small town surely something is wrong. Is this a case of someone on a high salary trying to justify their existence?

I think someone should hold their hands up and say we got it wrong and remove all of these obstructions, and make Winslow a safer place for drivers and pedestrians and allow easy access for emergency vehicles.

I know of many others who do not use the High Street now and bypass Winslow through the housing estates.

The case for a ‘No’ vote to AV

Major J A White, Thornton House, Thornton

A recent letter suggested people should vote ‘Yes’ for the alterative vote on May 5.

Under our current well tried system 88 per cent voted for the three major parties at the last general election. It is usual for the winning party to receive under 45 per cent of the votes cast.

Under AV in the 1997 election it is estimated that the Labour Party would have won 445 (68.5 per cent) seats out of 649, with 43 per cent of the vote instead of 419 (64.5 per cent), and the Conservatives with 30 per cent of the vote winning 78 seats (12 per cent) instead of 165 (25 per cent).

This time with only 36 per cent of the vote, the Tories would have won 281 seats (43.3 per cent) rather than 306 (49 per cent), and Labour with 29 per cent of the vote would have won 258 seats (39.75 per cent) instead of 254 (39 per cent).

Although the above figures for the 1997 election would not agree for that occasion, it has also been assessed that it would be normal under AV for the Government to be composed of a coalition. We have seen on this 2010 occasion that the two parties have each had to give up some of their more important policies.

If this was the norm it would mean that, as the Lib Dems have found in the past, the parties could include policies which they know they could never introduce. So none of us would know for what policies we were about to vote. Would that really be a good system, particularly when our present one, albeit rather up and down or right and left, has worked farly well over the years.

So, I am strongly in favour of a ‘No’ vote and beg every person to cast his or her vote.

Grants for HS2 opponents?

G Clarke, A Willis, R Saunders, M Brown, J O’Shea, R Gibbs, K Cherry, A Dearlove, Steeple Claydon

We understand that Buckinghamshire County Council and Aylesbury Vale District Council have agreed to support a protest against the construction of a high speed rail link to cross Buckinghamshire.

As the financial contributions will be taken from council tax, we wish to know from where the mandate came, in order to award these sums of money and why is tax not being spent on essential services, such as road repairs, gritting or support for elderly persons?

We note that residents in the AVDC area will be contributing through council tax to both sums of money. If we were now to form a group in support of this high speed rail link would BCC and AVDC give us similar grants to further our cause?

New law would ease tragedy

David Gray, Comerford Way, Winslow

Though the circumstances of Rhiannon Bennett’s death were tragic, I am glad that something positive may arise out of this disastrous event: a change in the law.

I agree with MP Andrea Leadsom ‘the law was too weak’. But I have to say what laws exist are not enforced to their full extent.

May I finish by suggesting because this young lady was so well known and well thought of, that a Rhiannon Bennett remembrance day be held.

Can we actually afford new train

Claire Faulkner, Churchwalk House, Winslow

Has anyone looked recently at the return fare between Birmingham New Street and London Euston? It is £117.80.

Wouldn’t it be funny if after all the disruption, houses demolished and our countryside ruined forever, the train line is abandoned because it is not viable as no-one can afford proportionally increased fares.

Unique war tours not to be missed

Tony Knight, West Midlands

I would like to bring your readers’ attention to the unique service offered by the Birmingham War Research Society, run by Alex Bulloch MBE.

The society organises Battlefield Tours to Europe and can be contacted on 01214 599008 or via a SAE envelope to Alex Bulloch, 43, Norfolk House, Kings Norton, Birmingham, B30 3LB.