07:00PM, Friday 06 August 2021
Email Viewpoint letters to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Viewpoint, Newspaper House, 48 Bell Street, Maidenhead, SL6 1HX
Buy an Advertiser and support Baylis Trust
How gratifying to see from your edition of July 22 that, in these troubled times, the trust behind The Advertiser is able to hand out many thousands of pounds in grants to needy and deserving organisations, many of whom are underfunded because of financial pressure on the council.
How far sighted and fortunate that Louis Baylis set up the Trust to reap the rewards of the profits from this excellent local newspaper especially in these times when the local press is under threat.
So keep buying The Advertiser or subscribing online.
Driven round the bend by roundabout misuse
Given that the Olympics are on I can report a new world record!
Five vehicles in a row driving the wrong side of the roundabout by the go-kart track when travelling eastwards.
This on top of three near misses by wrong-siders to my vehicle when I was travelling toward the shops in the past two weeks.
I travel that road a lot (both ways) and I always see at least one transgressor.
Whilst I would be the first to say the roundabout is badly sited, it is there and should be used in the proper fashion.
Meaningless GP award doesn’t tell full story
I’m writing for the sake of balance and good order with regard to your article ‘Maidenhead surgery recognised for going the extra mile during pandemic’.
You reported that Redwood House Surgery in Cox Green had been given a ‘Hidden Heroes’ award for its outstanding performance during the pandemic.
This is a meaningless ‘award’ given to GP surgeries by four commercial companies who supply healthcare products.
Advertiser readers should be aware of the latest results of the GP Patient Survey 2021 which is an independent survey run by Ipsos MORI on behalf of NHS England.
The survey is sent out to over two million people across the UK.
Redwood House was ranked lowest in Windsor and Maidenhead scoring 74 per cent placing it well below the national average of 83 per cent. Congratulations to Cedars Surgery and Woodlands Park Surgery who both achieved 92 per cent.
We are just people with a different viewpoint
On last week’s letters page, Deborah Mason asks that the many voices in support of the Battlemead footpath should make themselves known (Viewpoint, July 29).
A lot of us don't dare because we feel intimidated.
I wrote to my councillors in support, but I didn't dare put anything on Facebook or any other social media for fear of being picked on. And I don't dare to put my name on this letter either.
I think the wildlife lobby need to understand what it feels like for ordinary people to be on the other side of the argument.
We feel very intimidated by their zealotry and absolute black and white views.
There is, of course, no anti-wildlife lobby, but we feel we are being treated like one.
We are just people, and we have a different point of view, or at least some questions. If we thought that would be respected, we would identify ourselves.
NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED
We should put safety and wellbeing first
I am writing in support of last week’s letter from Ann Darracott and co (Viewpoint, July 29).
I speak as someone lucky enough to have a garden and live on the outskirts of Maidenhead in a village setting. All the people living in flats and apartments in the area need space to exercise and relax.
We can share with nature surely.
I also want to point out the dangers of all the overgrown verges and hedges.
To those of us who drive saloons, or other low vehicles, many road junctions are more dangerous as our sight is impeded by overgrowth.
Pavements, too, can be hazardous.
Driving up Hills Lane this week, I passed a parent pushing their child’s pushchair on the road to avoid the child’s face being brushed by overgrowth on the pavement.
I hope next year we can return to a more sensible strategy and put human safety and wellbeing first.
Mrs H HOLLINGSWORTH
Leadership needed for climate change crisis
As South Africa embraced and confronted the challenge of ‘sudden death’ to overpower the British and Irish Lions 27-9 in Cape Town on Saturday, my thoughts inevitably turned to the subject of leadership.
The team that wins the series on Saturday will have superior leaders in most positions on the day, both on and off the field.
July saw deadly heatwaves and wildfires in the US, Canada and Siberia, and catastrophic flooding in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and China.
Flooding also occurred in London and Edinburgh, and the daytime temperature record was broken in Northern Ireland.
Previous heat and rainfall records didn’t just fall, they were obliterated.
As extreme weather events become worse and more frequent than models predict, climate scientists question whether climate change is accelerating.
To make matters worse, scientists confirmed for the first time in July that the Amazon rainforest is now emitting more CO2 than it is absorbing.
In contrast, June saw the second anniversary of the council’s Environment and Climate Strategy pass without comment – presumably because there has been nothing achieved worthy of celebration – and July saw the council defeat a motion to support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill which is currently before Parliament.
By the time you read this, it’s possible that the council will also have prematurely agreed to open a path on Battlemead’s East Field, thereby threatening a highly sensitive wetland habitat.
All of this while still avoiding governance and scrutiny of its own Environment and Climate Strategy.
It will take an extraordinary effort over the next 10 years to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
We will see whether our council genuinely embraces and confronts the challenge, plays its part, and achieves something extraordinary as a result.
If so it will have taken outstanding leadership across the whole organisation, and depths of courage and ambition way beyond the cautious, safety first approach taken so far.
The upcoming corporate plan will offer some fresh clues.
EU citizen experiences of settlement scheme
Like Inger, Martin Ames's mother-in-law (Opinion, July 29), I am originally from a Nordic country.
I came here from Finland in 1976 to work and study. Having married a British man in 1984 I was then granted indefinite leave to remain in the country.
I continued to work, and together with my husband we raised two daughters.
I believe that I have made a valuable contribution to the country.
My daughters echoed this with the T-shirt they gave me last Christmas with the slogan: "Immigrants – we get the job done.”
However, unlike Inger, I have not applied for British citizenship.
At the time when I became eligible to apply for it, Finland did not allow adults to have dual citizenship. Understandably losing my Finnish nationality did not appeal to me.
Later, when Finland changed the rules to allow dual citizenship for adults, the cost of applying for British citizenship – the application fee, the knowledge test (that some MPs liken to a ‘pub quiz’), checking of certificates and the citizenship ceremony – was beyond my means.
Besides, as a EU citizen and with my indefinite leave to remain, I believed that though I was not eligible to vote in UK parliamentary elections, I was still a valued member of society, with some rights and protections.
All this changed, of course, with Brexit.
Suddenly I discovered that after all these years I would have to apply for the right to stay, work and receive services in this country.
Luckily my employer was selected to pilot the EU settlement scheme and so I, and other colleagues from the EU, were supported through the process.
The employer even agreed to pay the £65 application fee – the government later waived this fee and there is no longer a cost involved.
I feel I am lucky in that I received helpful information from my employer and assistance with the process.
I am also able to deal with complex forms and am computer literate.
My heart goes out to other EU citizens, who have made this country their home for many years and who, due to age or infirmity, may have found the whole process very bewildering and frightening.
So though I do not share Inger's position and did not receive the letter that came through her letter box, Brexit has affected my life and caused me anxiety.
And yet I believe that there are many more EU citizens who, after many years – often decades – of contribution to this country have been affected even more severely than I have been.
Learn about Olympic and Paralympic legacy
Olympic fever is not over with the final events and the closing ceremony in Tokyo this coming Sunday.
There's a 16 day pause for breath before the Paralympics begin with more amazing athletic achievements guaranteed.
The two sets of games are part of the same worldwide festival of sport and congratulations to Channel 4 for covering the Paralympics once again.
During the fortnight's break, Maidenhead Heritage Centre invites readers to visit our special exhibition which reveals the connections Maidenhead and Maidenhead people have had with the Olympic and Paralympic Games over more than 100 years.
Those connections start with Lord Desborough arranging the 1908 London Games almost single-handed and end with Tom Dean's two swimming golds in Tokyo.
Between the two is a story which has surprised and captivated visitors in equal measure. The free exhibition is open five days a week until September 11.
Maidenhead Heritage Centre
Correct email address for inspector’s office
In last week’s Viewpoint, my letter ‘Take action to avoid unsustainable future’ had the incorrect email address for the local plan inspector’s officer.
It should have been email@example.com – apologies and thanks again to all those who have contacted me to point out this typo and indeed for acting.
The UK has voted to leave the European Union in yesterday's referendum - and while the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead fell into the remain camp, Slough voted to support a Brexit.